As far as we can tell, history was made on Saturday as the Minnesota Twins agreed to sign right-handed reliever Addison Reed to a two-year deal. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic had the first report, and as far as the crack research team of yours truly and Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press can tell, it’s the first-ever contract multi-year deal the team has ever handed out to a free-agent reliever.
It’s the third addition the Twins have made to their bullpen this offseason after right-hander Fernando Rodney and lefty Zach Duke, but it’s certainly the most substantial. While Rodney is expected to open the season as the closer, Reed has ample experience in the role — 125 career saves, three years with at least 25 — and is coming off closing 19 games for the New York Mets before being traded to help the Boston Red Sox for the stretch run.
Consistency hasn’t really been the name of the game for Reed, who came up as a very well-regarded relief prospect in the White Sox system — seriously, Baseball America, MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus all had him as a top-100 guy, which is almost unheard of for a pitcher with no chance of working as a starter — before being traded to Arizona for third baseman Matt Davidson, who at the time was a good prospect.
Reed’s thrown just over 400 innings in his career, and the numbers are really, really good: 3.40 ERA (3.18 FIP), 9.5 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 0.94 HR/9 and a WHIP of 1.16.
But as previously noted, there isn’t a ton of consistency with Reed — and maybe this is just a reliever thing — but these are his year-to-year ERA marks since debuting:
- 2011 – 3.68 (just 7.1 innings)
- 2012 – 4.75
- 2013 – 3.79
- 2014 – 4.25
- 2015 – 3.38
- 2016 – 1.97
- 2017 – 2.84
It’s not just ERA that jumps up and down for Reed, who turned 27 just two days after Christmas. His FIP has jumped year-to-year as well — though for his career (3.18) is lower than his ERA — and he’s vacillated at times between being a fly ball pitcher and a groundball pitcher. What has also vacillated — and somewhat correlated — with his change in grounder reliance is that he runs the gamut as far as being home-run prone. Last year he allowed 1.3 homers per nine innings, which was on the high side. The AL average last year was 1.31, but not surprisingly, relievers were quite a bit lower (1.17) than starters (1.4).
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