The New York Mets have a problem, and it is in the back end of the bullpen.
Jeurys Familia is slated to miss the season’s first 15 games due to a suspension for alleged domestic violence.
The assumption is that the Mets will simply slide Addison Reed, one of the league’s most successful setup men last season, into the interim closer’s role.
While Reed has reclaimed his career in Flushing, it is important to note why that career needed to be reclaimed.
Addison Reed made his name on the south side of Chicago, closing for the White Sox with some success between 2012 and 2013.
Though he posted 40 saves in 2013 for the Sox, his ERA was a modest 3.79 and it ballooned to 4.25 as a member of the Diamondbacks in 2014.
In June of 2015, the big right hander lost his closer’s role and was demoted to AAA due to ineffectiveness. He was shipped to the Mets two months in what looked like a minor deal. Reed figured to be behind Tyler Clippard at the time and of course, closer Jeurys Familia.
Reed showed glimpses of what he became in a Mets’ uniform for the last season as a member of the Diamondbacks when he was recalled on July 29th of 2015 from what had to be an embarrassing demotion.
His ERA for the month was sub-2, and he increased his strike-out rate modestly, and bettered his control cutting his walks per nine innings almost in half from over 3 per nine innings, to just over 1.5.
He certainly has been that kind of pitcher in New York.
Earning a reputation as “the gunslinger”, Reed goes after hitters, barely walks anyone, and gets outs with decreased stuff from when he burst on the scene with a mid-90s fastball in 2012.
However, one has to wonder how being elevated to the closer’s role to start 2017, even on an interim basis, will affect Reed.
Is he a changed pitcher? Is he still “the gunslinger” whether it is the 8th or the 9th inning? Or, was it the pressure of being a closer that got to him in Arizona.
If he does struggle, will he be able to regain his form in the 8th inning upon Familia’s return?