Putnam needs some time in Charlotte.
As bad as the White Sox bullpen was last season, Zach Putnam served as one of its bright spots. He posted a 1.98 ERA and 3.08 FIP in 2014, while converting six out of seven save opportunities.
What a difference an offseason makes. Putnam’s troubles began during Spring Training where he allowed nine earned runs in 8.2 innings. While spring stats typically are not indicators of future performance, Putnam has carried over his troubles into the regular season. He’s allowed four earned runs in two innings pitched. In those two appearances, he’s been pounded for five hits and one home run.
Obviously, Putnam needs to figure out whatever is ailing his mechanics or psyche and fix it. It would be better for the Sox if he spent his time working through the issue in Charlotte, with the Triple-A Knights, rather than Chicago.
Fortunately, there are plenty of talented arms in Charlotte to call up and replace Putnam while he figures things out. Arcenio Leon is a possible candidate. He pitched well this spring, allowing only one earned run in eight innings, and has carried that success over to the regular season.
He pitched 2.2 shutout innings for the Knights last week, allowing only a walk, while striking out three. I would love to see Putnam rejoin the White Sox when he is back in a groove, but would hate to see him hurt the team more than is necessary until then.
Next: There is plenty of talent on the bench.