Back in December the trade for Addison Reed was made. The Diamondbacks moved a rising 3rd baseman Matt Davidson who had just played 31 games at the major league level with a split line of .237/.333/.434 in 87 plate appearances. With the 3rd base position pretty well locked up by Martin Prado and new comers on the horizon like Drury and Lamb it seemed that the Diamondbacks had an easy chip with which to deal away. Their hope was that Addison Reed would have continued success and build off of his impressive 40 save season with the White Sox. He had a relatively high ERA of 3.79 for a closer, the average ERA for closers in 2013 was 2.65, but certainly he would be an improvement over the 4.11 ERA of Heath Bell with 7 blown saves right?
A closer look might have indicated there were some red flags. Reed had 8 blown saves himself in 2013 with 68 games pitched. Heath bell had 7 in 69 games. Granted, not every appearance is a save situation. Reed's save percentage was still a nice 83.3% while Bell was a miserable 68.2%. The league average was 87.9% so at worst they should be getting a closer who achieved somewhere near an average save conversion rate.
Reed started off quite impressively when it came to saves earning 6 saves in April and another 8 in May. But at times he was clearly struggling. Over that same period of time he'd earned a 4.01 ERA, among the highest of all the closers. There was already a clamoring for someone else to take over the roll despite the high save percentage. Gibbson and the FO would have none of it and kept Reed in his closing roll.
Over the course of the year Reed would continue to see his ERA remain high while still accumulating saves. As of today, 9/18/14, Reed holds a 4.13 ERA with 31 saves and an 86.1% save conversion rate. He has kept his conversion rate right around league average but with 5 blown save opportunities and an ERA higher than Heath Bell's of last year, it would be difficult to make an argument the roll has been filled long term. His peripherals aren't that great either.
His FIP is 3.94, his WHIP is 1.235, and his WAR is barely above replacement level at 0.1. His BABIP also shows some high success on balls in play at .300. Clearly this is not the closer we've been looking for.
What about the other side of the coin? What happened with Davidson? Davidson has not seen any major league playing time and has been struggling on the White Sox triple A affiliate. In 539 plate appearances his line reads .199/.283/.362. This brings us to an interesting conclusion.
Though Reed may not be our closer of the future based on his performance this year, the trade opened the door for Lamb and Drury to move up the food chain. Reed could stick around for a while as a middle relief to 8th inning guy. Perhaps making a spot appearance as the closer if there were injuries or similar uncertainty in the closing position.
Reed becomes arbitration eligible next year and currently the Diamondbacks have him on a 1 year contract for $538.5K. In comparison David Hernandez who is also eligible for arbitration next year made $2 million sitting on the bench. If Reed does indeed stick around, he could still be a valuable member of the bullpen going into 2015. His experience as a closer is still quite valuable. If the team is doing well around the AS game next year and Reed hasn't taken over the closer roll, look for him to be dealt. Of course, with the new direction in the FO and Reed not yet having an extension, we may see his name drop off the payroll.