In a move that perhaps came weeks too late, the Boston Red Sox finally upgraded their bullpen by acquiring New York Mets closer Addison Reed in exchange for minor-league right-handed pitchers Jamie Callahan, Gerson Bautista and Steve Nogosek. All three are amongst Boston’s top 30 prospects and while the price Dave Dombrowski paid to land Reed was perhaps a little too costly giving up three of their better minor league pitchers, the deal is one that is welcomed by those hoping this team can contend with the likes of the Astros, Indians and Yankees.
The 28-year-old Reed has a 2.57 ERA over 49 innings with 48 K’s and just 6 walks while picking up 19 saves for the Mets this season. Reed is in the final year of his deal before he hits the open market which is why he was dealt by the selling Mets, but can be categorized as an elite late-inning arm that will certainly solidify the Boston bullpen down the stretch and heading into the postseason.
The problem I have with the deal isn’t the player or what the Red Sox gave up to get him, it’s the timing of the deal. After all, Reed appeared in 80 games last season and posted a 1.97 ERA, so Boston is getting a major upgrade in the set-up role to hand the ball off to Craig Kimbrel. The issue is that the Red Sox were so keen on staying under the luxury tax, that they waited on the acquisition of Reed until the last possible moment so they are only on the hook for the pro-rated portion of his $7.75M salary. The same can be said with Eduardo Nunez as both deals only cost the Red Sox an additional $5 million of payroll to take on compared to the Yankees who struck quickly in landing Todd Frazier and David Robertson no matter the payroll implications.
Rather than making the move to bolster the bullpen sooner, Dombrowski waited and Boston has lost seven of their last ten, fallen out of first place and blown six games just this month. That includes yesterday where Matt Barnes and Robby Scott blew a 3-1 lead to the Royals in the 8th inning, a role that Reed will now occupy.
The trade for Reed will undoubtedly fortify the Boston bullpen, especially with Joe Kelly and Carson Smith potentially nearing a return, but it came weeks too late. The Red Sox have been linked to multiple relievers for weeks and the snag has always been on salary and luxury tax implications as we know Dave Dombrowski has no remorse in parting with prospects. The timing of the deal may cost Boston the division as they have scuffled big time and seen the Yankees not only assume the division lead, but also strike it big in a couple of blockbuster deals by Brian Cashman including the latest for A’s ace Sonny Gray.
Addison Reed is on his way to Boston and will make for a tremendous pairing with Craig Kimbrel, but it’s a move that should have already been addressed and doesn’t answer a lot of questions remaining about the 2017 Boston Red Sox.
Follow Frank Pimentel on Twitter: @FrankBostonTank