Much has been written about the J.J. Putz elements of the Mets last night’s blockbuster. But what about those other two guys? Well, Shawn Sean Green is basically a slightly older and slightly better version of Joe Smith. Not a bad swap for a team so desperate to win now. And oh yea, corks are weird.
Jeremy Reed is a slightly more interesting case. First a brief history: The Chicago White Sox selected Jeremy Reed in the second round of the 2002 MLB Draft (the Moneyball draft) from Long Beach State University. In 2003, Reed was the White Sox Minor League Player of the Year after batting .409 in 66 AA-games at age 22. Baseball America wrote this report, after ranking him the best prospect in Chicago’s system:
Reed can really hit. He not only has a simple stroke that allows him to make contact almost at will but he also has a terrific eye for the strike zone. He walked nearly twice as much as he struck out in 2003. Wally Backman, his manager at Birmingham, says Reed has such an advanced ability to anticipate pitches that he sometimes helps teammates prepare for at-bats.
Then, in classic Kenny Williams fashion, he was sent to the Mariners for Freddy Garcia. In 2005, he was the Mariners centerfielder. His offensive value was severely hampered by a .254 BA, which can be partially attributed to a 18.9% line drive rate, not good for a player whose best skill is contact. The silver lining, however, was his awesome 13.2 UZR in center that year (that’s more than double Beltran’s 2008). The next year, Reed suffered all sorts of injuries in the field. He spent 2007 in AAA Tacoma and posted .806 OPS. Then in 2008, he posted .349 average (.357 BABIP) in AAA before being called up to the struggling Mariner squad and hitting .269.
Reed is 27 this year and still something of a mystery. Is he the frustrated AAA masher who put up a .970 OPS or just AAAA/Bench type? Is he the slightly below average fielder he was in limited play last year, or the terrific centerfielder of 2005? Like John Maine and Oliver Perez, he is a former top prospect, acquired as a throw-in. Will he be the surprise contributor they were? We’ll see, but consider these questions next time you’re quick to dismiss him as a significantly less valuable than Endy Chavez.