by Jason Howard Kelly
FINALLY! Dave Dombrowski has finally pulled the trigger on a move to help the Red Sox at the trade deadline. For a while there it seemed as if he was comfortable sitting on his laurels and letting virtually every other team in his own division get stronger. The Rays made a flurry of moves, and the Yankees made a big splash with the Todd Frazer/David Robertson move earlier this month. Hell, even the Baltimore Orioles, who suck, quite frankly, were able to pull of a trade for Jeremy Hellickson. It is clear to anyone Red Sox fan with two working eyeballs that this team’s biggest needs are in the bullpen and at third base, and today Dombrowski made a move that will surely bolster the Boston bullpen.
Addison Reed has been the Mets closer this year due to the injury to New York’s regular closer, Jeurys Familia. Familia had surgery in early May to remove a blood clot from his shoulder which opened the door for Reed to move from set-up duty to closing duty. Reed has had a strong year with the Mets, posting a 2.57 ERA along with a 1.12 WHIP (walks + hits divided by innings pitched) and an 8.8 K/9 ratio. Reed has 19 saves this season in 21 opportunities, and this is not a role that is unfamiliar to him. Reed broke in as a closer with the White Sox back in 2012 and he recorded 101 saves throughout his three years in Chicago.
Reed’s experience not only as a closer but as a set-up man as well makes him an attractive option for the Red Sox. He will, by default, become the first choice out of the bullpen in the 8th inning as the bridge to Craig Kimbrel. Should Kimbrel need a day off then Reed can fill in as the closer for that game without giving Red Sox fans heart palpitations. While Reed does not possess overwhelming stuff in terms of velocity his experience and stability allows him to be extremely effective in late-game situations.
The only slight concern with Reed is that his numbers, albeit impressive, have dipped from last season. Last year Reed posted an outstanding ERA of 1.97 along with a K/9 ratio of 10.5, so his strikeouts have gone down so far this season. Whether this slight dip is a foreshadowing of things to come remains to be seen, but the larger point is that Reed’s numbers still exceed those of the current members of the Red Sox bullpen. At the end of the day Reed is still a much better option than the likes of Matt Barnes, Blaine Boyer, or Heath Hembree for the 8th inning.
The most crucial factor when evaluating this trade is looking at what the Red Sox gave up in return. Reed is a free agent after this season so this is purely a rental for the Red Sox, which means that Dave Dombrowski should not have to give up anything too valuable to make this trade happen. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe provided us with the details on the return coming from the Red Sox:
Three minor league pitchers, none of whom are in the Red Sox top 25 prospects list, will go to the Mets in exchange for Addison Reed. Overall, this is a completely acceptable trade and one that Red Sox fans should feel pretty good about. Several scouts and professional evaluators are high on these pitchers, Bautista in particular, but it’s still too early to determine if they will turn into legitimate major league players.
Naturally, however, should Reed fail to succeed here in Boston then fans and media alike will quickly turn on this trade. Dombrowski has already angered the Boston media kraken with the Tyler Thornburg and Carson Smith deals, neither of which have gone in the Red Sox favor thus far. There will be a lot of pressure on Addison Reed to pitch well throughout the remainder of the year, but keep in mind that Reed will also be pitching to earn himself a new contract this coming offseason. Expectations are high but, for the moment, there is reason for optimism when it comes to this deal for the Red Sox.