Addison Reed: new closer in town?

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

I don't think anyone saw this coming, with the Diamondbacks bullpen apparently set for 2014. Proof that we should never under-estimate the power of Kevin Towers to acquire a bullpen arm. The obvious question is, will Reed replace J.J. Putz as our closer?

For comparison, here are the stats for the two players since Reed became a regular in 2012.

Player SV Age G W L IP H R ER BB SO ERA ERA+ HR BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
Addison Reed 69 23-24 130 8 6 126.1 113 61 59 41 126 4.20 102 12 .238 .298 .373 .671 80
J.J. Putz 38 35-36 97 4 6 88.2 71 27 26 28 103 2.64 152 8 .218 .284 .342 .625 73

A couple of things stand out. Reed obviously had the durability, but Putz has a sparkling ERA, compared to Reed. Even when saving 40 games last season for the Chicago White Sox, his ERA was 3.79, an ERA+ of 113, which is competent rather than spectacular. However, if you look at how opponents hit against them, the gap os a great deal narrower. Last year, Reed's FIP (Fielding Independent ERA, generally seen as a more accurate predictor of future performance than ERA) was actually better than Putz's, by a fairly-significant margin, at 3.17 to 3.83.

On the other hand, Putz is going to cost the team an awful lot more in 2014. While Reed will still be at league minimum or thereabouts next year, Putz will be paid $7 million, which is an awful lot of money to pay a non-closer. Admittedly, the team also paid Heath Bell an awful lot of money to start this year as a non-closer, but a) the Marlins made a significant contribution toward that, and b) he ended up saving more games than anyone else. It would perhaps not be too much of a surprise, if Putz ended up getting traded too, and we go with a late-inning triumvirate of Brad Ziegler, David Hernandez and Reed.

Should we go down that route, it would then free up $7 million to pay for the top of the rotation starting pitcher. Not sure who that might be, however, with our stock of immediate trade chips now getting perilously light. Might indicate the team is inclined towards the likes of Matt Garza, or the holy grail which is Masahiro Tanaka - though the last rumbling I heard, indicated his Japanese team might hold on to him for one more year, since they're not going to get a Darvish-sized posting fee.

Alternatively, we could stay with Putz in the 9th, and use Reed or Hernandez in the innings prior to that - the latter probably still needs to show he has indeed fully recovered from what ailed him in the middle of last season. This would allow the Diamondbacks to switch Ziegler back to his previous (and likely, best-suited) role, which can be summed up as "Crap, we need someone to get us a double-play ground-ball, stat." Certainly, there's no shortage of bullpen options, and with the departure of the Heath Bell Experience, I'm feeling optimistic we won't be matching our franchise-record number of blown saves.

We'll probably know more about the team's plans later this afternoon, when Kevin Towers speak to the media about the trade.

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