By GREGG BELL
AP Sports Writer
January 17, 2007
SEATTLE (AP) - J.J. Putz cashed in on his breakout debut season as the Seattle Mariners closer, agreeing Wednesday to a $13.1 million, three-year contract.
Putz gets a $1.5 million signing bonus plus base salaries of $2.2 million this season, $3.4 million in 2008 and $5 million in 2009. The Mariners have an $8.6 million option for 2010, with a $1 million buyout.
Putz had 36 saves - the fourth-highest total in a Mariners season - in 2006, his second full season in the major leagues. The hard-throwing, 29-year-old right-hander entered the year as setup man to Eddie Guardado, before Guardado taught Putz how to grip a split-fingered fastball for better movement during spring training.
Guardado then faltered in the season's first month, leading to Putz taking his job for good in May. Guardado has since been traded.
"J.J. Putz was one of the great stories of the 2006 baseball season," Seattle general manager Bill Bavasi said. "He took over the closer's role and was simply dominant. When he was called on he really thrived in that ninth-inning pressure.
"It's a good feeling to know that J.J. is going to anchor our bullpen for the foreseeable future."
On Tuesday, Putz asked for a raise for $415,000 to $3.6 million when he swapped arbitration figures with the Mariners, who offered $2.6 million.