On the heels of a league-high 29 blown saves, the Arizona Diamondbacks sought to tweak their bullpen for the 2014 season. Gone was Heath Bell, traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in a salary dump. In came Addison Reed from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for third base prospect Matt Davdison. It remains to be seen if Reed assumes closing duties for the D’backs or if he becomes the main setup man for J.J. Putz.
How 2013 went: The White Sox went into a slide at the end of the 2012 season that continued into all of 2013. The result was a last place finish in the American League Central. One of the few bright spots was the performance of Reed who saved 40 games in 48 opportunities. He struck out 72 batters in 71 1/3 innings with 23 walks, a better than 3:1 ratio. His ERA, while still high for a closer at 3.79 was almost a run better than his previous year’s 4.75 number. Part of that can be attributed to two appearances in June that amounted to nine earned runs in four innings. Reed also struggled down the stretch as his ERA went up half a run over the last month of the season, perhaps coming as a result of him pitching in more innings than he had in his previous two seasons in Chicago.
What to expect in 2014: The D’backs insist there is a competition for the stopper’s role; Reed thinks he should be the one to get it. He is almost 12 years younger than Putz but he doesn’t nearly have the amount of experience that J.J. does. Reed’s crossfire delivery will give National League hitters trouble the first time around the circuit. Most importantly, whether he closes or sets up, he can’t have a poor finish like last year as this D’back team expects to contend for the playoffs. If I had to guess, I would say Reed starts the season as the closer and keeps is at least through June.