Addison Reed is the Latest Mets Reinforcement
Former closer Addison Reed will look to continue his 2nd half resurgence with the Mets. (Wikimedia Commons)
The New York Mets went down to the wire at the non-waiver trade deadline before pulling the trigger on Tigers slugger Yoenis Cespedes. The deal has paid off so far as Cespedes has been the major power bat the Mets have seemed to lack for years. But GM Sandy Alderson recognized that his team needed more than just a statement trade. The Mets went down to the wire again in August before adding one more piece to the potential playoff roster, acquiring reliever Addison Reed from the Diamondbacks for two pitching prospects before the waiver trade deadline. Reed is in uniform for the Mets Monday night.
Reed, a former closer with the White Sox and D-Backs, has a 4.20 ERA on the season. He was demoted to AAA in June after a rough start to 2015 but seems to have turned things around, sporting a 1.65 ERA in 16 appearances since returning to the big leagues.
“Both [scouts I talked to] said that since [Reed] has been back he’s really getting ahead in the count and now he’s making his own pitches,” said Reed’s new manager Terry Collins. “Early in the year they said he’d get behind and was forced to go to the fastball and he got banged around a little bit. They said now he’s strike one, goes to the slider when he needs to and really wants to, he uses the fastball when he wants to because he’s been ahead. They said if you can certainly get that out of him, get him in the game and get him strike one, he said he’s been a lot more effective.”
Reed potentially plugs a glaring hole on the Mets, the bridge from the starting pitchers to the back end of the bullpen. Tyler Clippard has taken command of the 8th inning role and Jeurys has been one of the most dominant closers in the game this season. With the Mets looking to limit their young starters’ innings down the stretch the 7th inning has been a trouble spot in recent games, notably the two losses to the Red Sox on Friday and Saturday. With the additions of Reed and Clippard, the Mets have gone from having a bullpen with only one reliable reliever to having a bullpen with three solid back-end options.
“Having another quality reliever at the back end of that pen allows to, if someone needs a day off, [give them a rest day], and we have two guys who’ve closed in the big leagues and had success doing it,” says Collins. “It certainly gives us a very good backup plan.”
While the added depth to the bullpen is a blessing, the relief corps is not the only group that has and should continue to benefit from Alderson’s late season moves. Before the Cespedes deal Alderson brought in veteran bats Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe and these additions, plus the returns of David Wright, Travis d’Arnaud, and Michael Cuddyer from injury have transformed the Mets lineup from harmless to deadly. The newfound length on the bench allows Collins to have different options every night.
“It’s so much easier to come to the park now and write a lineup out knowing that your bench is going to be strong even though you’re putting one of your guys who was on the bench yesterday in your lineup,” says Collins. “You’re still going to have a strong bench, you’ve still got a strong lineup, and it’s a great feeling to have.”
Since Reed was traded for before the August 31st waiver-trade deadline, he is eligible for the Mets postseason roster. Reed, lefty specialist Eric O’Flaherty, and former Met Eric Young, Jr. were each brought in after the non-waiver trade deadline. And while O’Flaherty has struggled and Young, Jr. is in the minor leagues, all three moves showed that Alderson is committed to finding solutions to apparent weaknesses on the Mets roster. The Mets bullpen was so taxed this past weekend that starter Bartolo Colon made a relief appearance on Saturday, just the 7th of his 18 year career. The early season arm injury and later re-injury of the same arm for reliever Jerry Blevins left the team without a lefty specialist. And the Mets rank 27th in the majors with just 45 stolen bases on the year, an area Young, Jr. can easily contribute in. Young, Jr. led the Mets in steals with 30 in just 100 games.
Despite the reinforcements, Terry Collins knows better than to sit back and relax with his team’s 5.5 game lead in the NL East.
“Sleep is the enemy right now,” said Collins when asked Monday afternoon if he now sleeps better. When asked if he lays in bed thinking about the many more options he has now compared to the beginning of the year, Collins said “that’s what I do. It doesn’t help me sleep though.”
They may not help him sleep, but the new Mets will do a lot to help Collins’ club protect their division lead on the way to the postseason.
To listen to the questions from Monday's pregame press conference regarding the team's added depth, click play below.