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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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December 9, 2008 7:37 PM

Cards talk to M's about Putz

Posted by Geoff Baker

putz.jpg

Just got done with GM Jack Zduriencik, who met with the Seattle press corps in his hotel suite. Zduriencik said that the St. Louis Cardinals talked to him today about closer J.J. Putz. He also confirmed that he had discussions with Brewers counterpart Doug Melvin about a possible deal.

Melvin told reporters the pair discussed Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder, but there did not appear to be a match there. For now, at least. Zduriencik said he and Melvin did not discuss Putz or Fielder in regards to a deal for each other. As I told you before, any deal between these clubs would likely be for a substantial number of players in a larger scale trade -- not any one-for-one with Putz and Fielder. The Brewers are interested in Putz and several of Seattle's pitchers, which a member of the team told me last night.

Zduriencik also met with the Tigers, as you know. Of all the teams, a deal with the Tigers appears like it could come together the quickest, given the declared intent of GM Dave Dombrowski to get a closer to Detroit sooner rather than later. But Dombrowski is also doing his best not to sound desperate.

"We could do a lot of different things,'' Dombroski told members of the Detroit media. "We're exploring a lot of different options. My list is long in my pocket, and we'll keep pursuing it.''

One of those would be pursuing free-agent closer Brian Fuentes, though the money-strapped Tigers are said to be leery of spending too much money or committing to any long-term contracts. Again, that's what makes Putz such an attractive option to them at one year, $5.5 million with a club option for 2010 and a $1 million buyout.

Zduriencik said some of the players mentioned to him in talks so far have gotten his attention.

"There have been a few,'' he said. "There have been a few that have been very intriguing.''

But in the end, there have been points that -- so far -- the teams can't breach. One of those is likely the number of players going to Seattle in return.

The Tigers are said to be willing to part with one or the other of left fielder Matt Joyce and corner infielder Jeff Larish, plus a minor league prospect. But the Mariners, it's believed, would like to have all three players -- Joyce, Larish and the prospect.

Hear what this Tigers beat writer had to say about the whole thing.

In the case of the Cardinals, there is no word on who was discussed as possible returns to the Mariners. The name of Rick Ankiel has surfaced in rumors out of St. Louis, but I can't confirm that.

And so, what happens next is...we wait. A whole lot of posturing going on and I'm not inclined to believe much of it. Except for Zduriencik insisting he's in no hurry and likes the idea of heading into next season with Putz as his closer. Who wouldn't like that? I say he's holding out for a better deal.

By the way, we asked Zduriencik about top draft pick Josh Fields and how the situation with Putz weighs in on whether he will be signed. Zduriencik said it's a non-issue. That Fields is an amateur player and doesn't factor into anything going on with the big league club.

"There are a lot of unknowns about a kid who hasn't signed a pro contract yet,'' Zduriencik said.

Hear some audio from Zduriencik about Fields right here.

Zduriencik has talked by phone with Scott Boras, the agent for Fields, and expects to speak to him again tomorrow. Should be some tough talk going back and forth.

Photo Credit: Rod Mar/Seattle Times

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