Sometime in the next three years, I’m definitely going to forget that Addison Reed pitched for the Red Sox. Such is the life with trade-deadline relievers; do you remember Matt Thornton pitching for the Red Sox in 2013? Of course you don’t, no one does. The Red Sox traded for Reed during the deadline last summer because Matt Barnes isn’t quite suited for the 8th inning.He was supposed to be the last piece of the bullpen puzzle, giving the Sox that coveted three-part bullpen that’s so trendy these days. The results were mixed, he wasn’t much of a factor in the playoffs – although he’s certainly not alone there – and he’s probably not returning next season. The Addison Reed era was utterly forgettable, so let’s remember it one more time!
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Reed wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t the pitcher they traded for, either. His strikeouts increased after coming over from the Mets, although there’s even a caveat there, because of course there is. He posted a sub-one WHIP (0.93) during his stint in Boston, and his batting average against by close to one hundred points. If you squint hard enough, you can see some good things that Reed did for the Sox.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Having to cherry pick small statistical improvements is a pretty glaring sign that not a lot went right. He wasn’t used nearly as much as he was in New York – after throwing 49 innings with the Mets, Reed only got 27 innings in a Red Sox uniform. The difference between Reed’s Boston ERA (3.33) and Boston FIP (4.60) indicates that he was benefiting from a fair bit of luck. His Boston BABIP (.175) backs that up, too. And while the strikeouts did increase, Reed also walked a ton of batters. After walking three percent of batters during the first half of 2017, Reed went from July 31st to the end of the year walking almost nine percent (8.5) of the batters he faced.
Reed was brought in so that the team didn’t need to rely on Matt Barnes and Joe Kelly as heavily. So, was he actually any better? Here are how Reed, Barnes, and Kelly all performed from the time Reed was traded for through the time the Astros mercifully put an end to them:
Kelly (21.2 IPs): .220/.319/.321 against; 3.62 FIP, 1.34 WHIP, 16.0 K-BB%, 2 HRs
Barnes (19.2 IPs): .256/.310/.474 against, 4.07 FIP, 1.32 WHIP, 23.8 K-BB%, 4 HRs
Reed (27.0 IPs): .167/.248/.358 against, 4.60 FIP, 0.93 WHIP, 17.9 K-BB%, 5 HRs
I honestly don’t know what’s more surprising: that Reed was that mediocre, or that Joe Kelly was probably the second-best right-handed reliever in the Red Sox bullpen for the final ten weeks of the season. The Red Sox tried to upgrade from Barnes/Kelly, and instead just got another one.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Reed pitching in the NL East. Again.
Photo by Bob DeChiara – USA TODAY Sports