Addison Reed has thrown down the late inning gauntlet. And that’s more than fine. Despite the Mets bringing back the band with Jerry Blevins and Fernando Salas resigning, the Mets will ask a lot from Reed this season as first he’ll be the closer after Jeurys Familia gets suspended. And after that he’ll be asked to pitch a lot of eighth innings, and probably some sevenths in some particularly crowded jams. Reed wants to be that guy to come in and pitch in whatever situation and whatever inning needs him the most, much like Miller has done with the Indians.
“I take the same mindset out there no matter what inning, I’m throwing. The only thing different about the ninth inning is that it is one inning later than the eighth. I don’t see any reason to treat it differently … If you are throwing the first inning you don’t want any runs to score. If you are throwing the ninth inning, you don’t want any runs to score.”
“The way relievers were used this last postseason was smart. It was fun to watch. If a guy throws eight pitches and gets three quick outs, why bring another guy in there? It’s going to be interesting to see how managers and teams go about it this year. I think you will see more [expanded roles] this year.”
Reed might be correct to a point, but I do think that the rigors of the regular season will curtail that a little bit. Add to that the ability of the Mets rotation to go at least six innings will remove the need for that even more. The playoffs will always be a different animal with every game being so crucial. Add to that the Indians’ injuries to their rotation magnifying the need for more bullpen innings, and with Miller in that pen they were able to use him in any situation for any amount of outs. And the Indians would have ridden that the entire way if the Cubs didn’t get to him in Game 7 of the Series, which could have been a by-product of having seen him so much.
Reed also thinks the save stat is overrated, which it is.
“I think the save stat is kind of over-hyped. It’s the sexy number. People focus on that number too much. If you have a one-run lead in the fifth with a guy in scoring position and you come in and get out of it, that should be the save. If you come on in the ninth with a three-run lead and nobody on, what happened in the fifth inning is more important.”
“I remember one year I had 40 saves, but my ERA was high-4s.”
MLB Network discussed this while showing a stat to try to illustrate that the ninth inning is a little different from other innings.
Now I’ll be the first one to say that I wasn’t a fan of the Reed acquisition when it was made, having seen what a mediocre closer he was with the White Sox and the horrible closer he was with Arizona. But it wasn’t as if Reed just changed innings. He changed teams and pitching coaches as well, so it almost isn’t fair to say “look, Reed can’t handle the ninth inning” and cite a bunch of psycho-babble as the reason why. He’ll get his chance this April in a similar environment to his salad days, and while I don’t expect him to be perfect, I think he’ll be fine in the role.
As for being the super reliever, he’s probably the most qualified out of the Mets’ bullpen to fill that role, though he might not be as dominating as Miller has been. But Reed’s trouble entering games in the middle of innings with runners on base would probably be his biggest stumbling block to filling that role. However his leverage numbers tell a different story, especially the batting average against. So perhaps it could work. But again, super reliever might not be a card you want to play in April and May when you’re still managing health and reliever pitch counts.
It may be an extreme case, and not the fairest comparison, but go check Fernando Nieve’s game log from the 2010 season. He was used in many different innings, in many situations (including mop-up later on after his arm was giving him issues), and in many pitch count amounts. Just look at April alone: Nieve would have games where he would throw just one or two pitches, then he’d have outings of 36 and 39 pitches. Early in May he threw three straight days twice, then was deployed more as a long reliever during the middle of the month. then by June and July his innings had to be limited because he had arm problems. And July of 2010 represents, to this day, Nieve’s last action in the major leagues. (He hasn’t pitched in affiliated ball since 2014.) It’s almost as if Snoop Manuel stumbled upon the “super reliever” role long before Terry Francona actually meant to do it. Except when Snoop did it, the super reliever’s career was derailed.
So when it comes to Reed, that’s something to think about. Also something to think about is that Terry Collins has been spotty with his bullpen usage, most notably when it comes to reverse splits. I’d hate to think what he’d do if you put a super reliever at his disposal. But Reed has thrown down the gauntlet, so it’ll be interesting to see how Terry reacts, if at all. He might not be the right manager to give an extra toy to.
The Mets on Friday sold Gabriel Ynoa to the Baltimore Orioles. Officially, he was traded for cash, but that’s a sale. I trade cash for barbecue chicken burritos all the time. I wasn’t traded the burritos for cash considerations. Ynoa was sold. Why be afraid of the wording? We would have discussed this on our podcast but word came out right at the end of our taping.
By the way, listen to our podcast.