Addison Reed

Jake Roth/USA Today Sports

How Red Sox settled on Addison Reed in crowded relief market

John Tomase
July 31, 2017 - 7:40 pm

Dave Dombrowski pulled a sheet of notebook paper from his left jacket pocket, unfolded it, and began counting off names until he got to 20.

That's the number of right-handed relievers the Red Sox considered before acquiring Addison Reed from the Mets on Monday. The Red Sox were in on virtually everyone -- including Joe Smith, who went from Toronto to Cleveland hours before the Red Sox hosted the Indians -- but they landed on Reed because of his closing experience, success in the eighth inning, and the relatively lower cost of acquiring the two-month rental.

Reed immediately becomes John Farrell's primary eighth-inning arm.

"We think he can come in and be a premium setup guy for us," Dombrowski said. "He makes us deeper in our bullpen, pushes other guys back to pitch earlier in the game. He can close an occasional game for us if he needs to when Craig [Kimbrel] needs an extra day off. We still look to get Joe Kelly back soon, so he even makes us deeper out there. I noticed that our bullpen was third in Major League Baseball coming into today in earned run average, and it's kind of, that one guy who will pitch the eighth just has not been there on a consistent basis for us. So, that's what we figured."

The Red Sox have a clear need in the eighth. Matt Barnes and Robby Scott combined to blow a 3-1 lead in the eighth on Sunday in a 5-3 loss to the Royals, which proved to be the last straw.

Reed, 28, recorded 19 saves for the Mets. He's 1-2 with a 2.57 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 49 innings. Ay year ago, he went 4-2 with a 1.97 ERA in New York, striking out 91 in 77 2/3 innings. He owns a lifetime ERA of 2.27 in the eighth inning.

"We've been a little bit thin late in the game and guys that have, their roles have been expanded, their production has been there," Farrell said. "To help deepen the back end of the bullpen was  something that we've been talking about for quite some time now.

"The fact that we've been able to strike a deal, get Addison in here, days in which Craig might not be available, Addison certainly is that closer B so to speak. His addition is a welcome one."