Chicago Cubs would be well-advised to pursue Addison Reed

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 08: Addison Reed
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 08: Addison Reed /

Reliever Addison Reed is a good fit for the Chicago Cubs, whether they sign him  to serve as their closer or just a late-inning reliever.

First and foremost, the Chicago Cubs still could re-sign closer Wade Davis this offseason. However, they must have a contingency plan if the veteran ultimately becomes too pricey for the team to bring him back.

Davis dominated the competition in 2017, converting 32-of-33 save chances. In 59 games, he struck out 79 batters in just 58 2/3 innings pitched. Ultimately, the Cubs’ decision to re-sign Davis simply depends on the contract value and length he seeks.

Terms of contract important

At 32 years old, one would think that Davis only has a chunk of good years left in him. This is not to say his skills will diminish in the near future. What it does say, though, is that the Cubs must be cautious in not overpaying a reliever nearing his mid-30s.

Last offseason, closers Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen both signed five-year contracts worth $86 million and $80 million, respectively. It is hard to imagine Davis receiving such a deal, though a four-year contract with similar value is not completely out of the question.

Davis has been one of the game’s best closers since becoming one full-time with the Kansas City Royals in 2015. Really, he has been one of the game’s best relievers in general over the past few seasons. Since the 2014 season, he has posted an earned run average of 1.00, 0.94 1.87 and 2.30, respectively.

Reed a valuable commodity

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If the Cubs do re-sign Davis, they would be keeping one of the best closers in the entire league. If they do not want to invest heavily in a reliever, though, they must look elsewhere to fill Davis’ void. Addison Reed is someone the team could consider.

Reed, 28, bounced around quite a bit after posting a tremendous 2013 season as closer of the Chicago White Sox. He saved 40 games that season (although he blew eight chances), striking out 72 batters in 71 1/3 innings.

The White Sox capitalized on Reed’s breakout season that offseason, dealing him to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks then traded him to the New York Mets ahead of the 2015 waiver deadline.

This summer, the Mets dealt Reed to the Boston Red Sox at the July deadline. While his stint with the Diamondbacks was forgettable (4.25 ERA in 2014, 4.20 ERA in 2015), Reed has been successful since.

Reed solid all-around as reliever

In 15 1/3 innings (17 games) with the Mets in 2015, Reed posted a 1.17 ERA; in 77 2/3 innings (80 games) with them in 2016, he posted a sparkling 1.97 ERA. Although he only converted two of eight save chances during this time, his numbers show the high-level he is capable of pitching at.

Reed fared much better as the Mets’ closer in 2017, converting 19-of-21 save chances to go along with a 2.57 ERA. While the Red Sox did not ask him to save any games,, his 28 strikeouts in 27 innings is worthy of note. Between both teams in 2017, Reed struck out 76 batters in 76 innings.

Essentially, Reed has proven himself to be a valuable reliever, whether he is closing games or not.  If the Cubs happen to bring Davis back as closer for 2018, they should not shy away from signing Reed to upgrade their bullpen.

2017 was a tale of two seasons for the Cubs’ bullpen. After posting a spectacular 3.26 ERA in the first half, their bullpen posted a 4.48 ERA in the second half. Even worse, though, is that the Cubs’ bullpen posted a 4.52 ERA in the postseason.

Realistically, bringing in Reed as a closer or general reliever is not going to fix the Cubs’ problems. The postseason exposed the Cubs’ bullpen as a major weakness, meaning the team might look into signing several relievers.

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At the same time, though, Reed should be a rather inexpensive free agent, at least in comparison to what other contracts relievers have signed. If the opportunity presents itself, the Cubs must find a way to sign Reed.