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Addison Reed probably doesn’t belong in the bullpen anymore

The veteran pitcher has struggled this spring, following a disappointing 2018.

Oakland Athletics v Minnesota Twins

When the Twins signed Addison Reed to a two-year contract in January of 2018, no one probably saw this coming. Reed has been an utter disaster in the Twins bullpen. In 2018, the veteran fireman pitched 56 innings for the Twins, and only claimed a win in one of his seven decisions. His ERA ballooned to 4.50, the highest number since his sophomore season, and second highest of his career. More alarming, his FIP jumped up to a career high 5.11, suggesting the men behind him saved some runs. His peripheral numbers also show the struggles of the right-handed reliever. Reed gave up career highs in hits and home runs per nine innings. He also struck out fewer men per nine innings than any other time in his eight year MLB Career.

Looking at the monthly splits, Reed clearly suffered for an extended period before hitting the injured list. In March and April, Reed was a fairly effective pitcher, holding opponents to .208/.278/.333 in 55 plate appearances. May saw his numbers dip to .296/.361/.519, while his workload increased. June saw his season absolutely fall off a cliff, with opposing hitters beating him to the tune of .385/.444/.538, and a demotion from the set-up role.

Reed was eventually shut down on July 11 with a triceps injury. He would not return to the 2018 campaign until August, and struggled in that month as well. While September offered some cause for encouragement, like a batting line of .250/.273/.400 against him, overall the season should be considered lost.

If Reed had started off spring training hot, we could have ascribed his 2018 to injury, and moved forward without comment. However, that is not been the case.

The Twins have given Reed the ball in four games this spring, for a total of 3.1 innings. He has not impressed in those outings. He has given up eight earned runs on seven hits, including two home runs. He’s also issued two free passes, while only fanning three men. Obviously spring training stats should be taken with a grain of salt the size of a baseball, and it remains a small sample, but Reed has done very little to calm the worries of his detractors.

The most egregious issue with Reed occupying a precious roster spot, however, is the rest of the bullpen. The Twins have Blake Parker as a new addition, as well as holdovers Trevor May, Taylor Rogers, and Trevor Hildenberger likely written into the bullpen in ink. Former top prospect Fernando Romero will also begin the season in the Twins pen. That is already five pitchers. Returning pitcher Matt Magill likely has the inside track to another spot. Reed makes seven, with a total of eight spots likely available.

That last slot in the Twins bullpen will likely go to Tyler Duffey or Gabriel Moya. Both pitchers have spent enough time at the triple-A and major league levels that they have very little left to prove in the minors, and need an opportunity to make it in the big leagues. Prospects Jake Reed, Ryan Eades and Andrew Vasquez were invited to camp, and could take a huge step forward this season. In addition, Zack Littell, Stephen Gonsalves, Adalberto Mejia, Kohl Stewart, and Lewis Thorpe are all competing for a starting rotation job that they probably won’t win. Rather than send them all to Rochester, at least one of those options could move to the bullpen, even if just temporarily. The Twins also have other potential options in non-roster invitees Justin Nicolino, Mike Morin, Ryne Harper, Tim Collins, and Preston Guilmet. None of them would be a huge loss, but likely wouldn’t be a huge downgrade over Reed’s 2018 season.

Another consideration for the Twins, they will likely only need four starters for the first few weeks of the season, but none of their starters can easily be demoted — would the Twins consider starting the season with a four-man rotation and Martin Perez in the bullpen? Even if they don’t that is a huge crowd, and Reed just doesn’t stand out in a positive way.

Perhaps it’s time for the Twins to send a message — No Scholarships. It doesn’t matter who is being paid what, the best pitchers should go north, and I’m not convinced Reed should be on that list.


What should the Twins do with Addison Reed?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    Keep him in the bullpen
    (122 votes)
  • 21%
    Try to trade him, but keep him if the offer isn’t right
    (253 votes)
  • 68%
    Try to trade him, and cut him if you can’t
    (816 votes)
1191 votes total Vote Now