I spent some time Thursday perusing this MLB Trade Rumors article, in which they ranked the top 50 free agents and predicted a destination for each. Perhaps you did, too.
Some of those destinations seemed silly — I mean, no, Jake Arrieta is not going to sign with the Brewers — others, quite possible (and we should fear Greg Holland going to the Cardinals, if that happens, given their bullpen meltdowns of 2017).
When I got to No. 16 on the list, that was one of those “things that make you go hmmm.”
Addison Reed, says MLBTR, might sign with the Cubs on a four-year, $36 million deal, but the article notes:
Reed has a chance to follow in the footsteps of Andrew Miller, Darren O’Day, and Brett Cecil to land a four-year deal as reliever who won’t necessarily serve as a closer.
And then I thought... why not make Reed the Cubs’ closer? He did that job quite well for the White Sox and Diamondbacks from 2012-14, racking up 101 saves with 12 blown saves over that time, although he had a rather unsightly 4.22 ERA, with a decent WHIP of 1.217. He did have a good walk rate during that period: 2.7 per nine innings.
He was better than that when he served as Mets closer in 2017 during Jeurys Familia’s suspension and injury. Reed had 19 saves with just one blown save before July 31, when he was traded to the Red Sox to serve as a setup man for Craig Kimbrel. Reed’s control was even better in 2017: just 15 walks in 76 innings, a walk rate of 1.9 per nine innings. That’s in comparison to Wade Davis’ 4.3 walk rate, or Carl Edwards Jr.’s frightening rate of 5.2. Walks were one of the biggest reasons the Cubs’ bullpen was such a high-wire act all year. Reed’s WHIP since 2015: 1.097, just 47 walks in 209⅔ innings.
Reed turns 29 next month, so he’s three years younger than Davis. He seems up to being a closer, as he’s done it with a pretty good degree of success for three teams. He made $7.75 million in 2017, so a four-year deal at an AAV of $9 million might be a bit low, but he’d still be cheaper than Davis.
Personally, I’d still like the Cubs to re-sign Davis. But if they choose to go elsewhere, Reed could be a good option.
Plus, the Cubs would then have both major-league players named “Addison” on their roster. Think of the marketing opportunities, what with Wrigley Field right there on Addison Street.
Get it done, Theo.