Instead, the Cubs signed Brandon Morrow, and he’s likely to be named closer before spring training ends. They also inked Steve Cishek to a deal, and he has closing experience.
Recent years have proven that teams with deep bullpens can go farther in postseason play. Thus, you can’t have too many good relievers. And with Wade Davis now gone to the Rockies, perhaps the Cubs can look at Reed as someone who could be a quality setup man and perhaps closer if Morrow or Cishek falter.
Reed has closed before. He’s got 129 career saves, including 19 with the Mets in 2017 before he was dealt to the Red Sox at the deadline, where he served the rest of the year setting up for Craig Kimbrel.
One of the best things about Reed is his low walk rate. His career walk rate is 2.3 per nine innings, and over the last two years it’s even better, 1.6 per nine innings, to go along with a 9.8 per nine strikeout rate. His WHIP of 0.996 over the last two seasons (total of 153⅔ innings over 157 appearances) is outstanding.
Morrow signed for two years with a third-year option. The first two years are at $9 million each, with a $3 million buyout or $12 million option. Cishek signed a two-year, $13 million deal, so that’s $6.5 million per season.
Reed made $7.75 million last year. A two-year, $17 million offer to him would probably get it done, and that’s certainly affordable for the Cubs. $8.5 million per year would probably even leave room for signing Yu Darvish. If Reed were signed, Justin Grimm could possibly be released early in spring training, which would save some money on his deal.
Here’s video of Reed striking out Yan Gomes of the Indians on a nasty slider in his first appearance for the Red Sox:
This would seem to me to be an excellent way of upgrading the bullpen at a fairly low cost.