The Final Word On The JJ Putz Trade Saga

John Paul Morosi gives us the lowdown on the M's/Tigers/Rays potential ménage à trois that preceded negotiations with the Mets and the Indians:

You may remember that the Tigers’ best chance to acquire Putz came during three-way conversations that included the Rays and Mariners.

Seattle officials wanted a centerfielder, and they did not believe that Detroit prospect Matt Joyce could play the position on an everyday basis. So, the centerfielder would have needed to come from Tampa Bay – and the Mariners wanted Perez.

So, as we guessed a few weeks ago, Fernando Perez was the target and, ultimately, the holdup, as the Mariners wanted a center fielder who wasn't available. Were it not for BJ Upton's shoulder injury, today we'd be talking about a different outfield.

Different by name, anyway, but not necessarily different by style - Perez, like Gutierrez, would've been a defense-first acquisition. It's hard to say much about his glovework since he only appeared in 23 games with Tampa Bay, but Perez is one of the fastest motherfuckers in the league, and that being the biggest factor in determining one's aptitude in the field, I have to imagine that he'd be a defensive asset as a full-time CF. Having watched him in September and the playoffs, it's difficult to dream up many fly balls he wouldn't be able to outrun.

However, while Perez looks like he's probably valuable with the glove, developmentally he seems to be a year or two behind Gutierrez at the plate despite being the same age, and with a game built around speed and little power, he comes with a lower ceiling. The 17 homers Gutierrez hit between AAA and the Majors in 2007 were more than twice as many as Perez has ever hit in a season, and Perez's 25% strikeout rate against better competition is too high for someone who doesn't draw a ton or walks or hit the ball over the fence. Perez has work to do, and while Gutierrez is no slugger, he's better-equipped to help us now, and in the long run stands a better chance of holding up as more than a fourth outfielder.

I like Fernando Perez, and I like that Zduriencik is fond of that kind of player profile, but all in all, I'm also rather fond of what we got. If Gutierrez is able to top out at even just a league-average batting line, I'm going to love him forever.

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