Hot Stove League Notes: Ankiel Rumors

St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Rick Ankiel's name continues to surface in numerous rumored potential trade scenarios, including one that could send him to Seattle for 31-year-old closer, J.J. Putz.

The Cardinals were rumored to be making outfielder Rick Ankiel available in their search for a closer. According to some reports, Ankiel could potentially end up in Seattle.

The Seatlle Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said Tuesday night he had spoken about his team's closer, the 31-year-old, J.J. Putz, with the Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers. Of the three clubs, the Tigers appear the most likely to pull off a trade in the coming days, but the Cardinals could up the ante on Wednesday.

The scouting report on Putz is, he has a resilient arm, with a plus fastball that sits in the mid 90s and a nasty curveball with late bite that's improved vastly in the last two seasons. He gets into trouble when he gets his pitches too far up in the strike zone. He also has a little more trouble with left-handed batters than righties. Putz has the closer mentality and is cool under pressure. He has good footwork and can field his position well, but his pickoff move is average

St. Louis is apparently moving away from letting the Cardinals all-time saves leader, Jason Isringhausen return as the club's closer for another season, as well as, they appear to be taking a pass on giving the closer role to their young guns, Jason Motte and Chris Perez, who has longed been considered the Cardinals closer of the future.

Seattle is expecting the three teams to step up with offers early Wednesday, with St. Louis being in the mix.

It should be noted that Putz spent two stints on the 15-day disabled list this past season, the first time in April with right torso inflammation and the second time in July with a right elbow injury that caused him to miss 31 games. The Cardinals concern about his health, could be enough for them to lose out in the Putz sweepstakes.

My initial take on this deal is that in terms of priorities, I think the Cardinals are looking for that second left-handed reliever, followed by a starter and then if the opportunity presents itself, they would be willing to sign a closer, for a two or three year deal. If healthy, Putz, could fit the bill, sending Ankiel to Seattle.

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