If we send this guy back to Cleveland, can we have Ubaldo back? Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Evaluating the Talent: Zach Putnam

Remember Kevin Slowey and the twelve minutes he spent on the Rockies’ roster? I thought not. Some suspected that the Rockies took him on to use as future trade bait for somebody better, and that’s exactly what he became. In January, Dan O’Dowd sent Slowey and some cash to the Indians in exchange for young pitcher Zach Putnam, who joins the dozens of other pitchers competing for roster spots in Scottsdale right now.

Putnam has exactly 7 1/3 major league innings under his belt, so he’s an even lesser known commodity than some of the other young guys we’ve recently acquired. He also gave up 5 earned runs in those innings, so so far … not super impressive. However, his Double- and Triple-A numbers are better. He strikes out a lot of guys and doesn’t walk very many. His flyball rate is 26.1%, a good number even though it’s based on a small sample size. Putnam’s pitch selection profiles him as a late-inning reliever or specialist, perhaps a not-quite-as-good Rex Brothers.

Despite Putnam’s potential, the odds are very long that he’ll make the squad out of camp. More likely he’ll spend time in the minors developing his stuff more fully, potentially joining the big league club later in the season or perhaps next year. But keep an eye on him this spring, because you just never know.