In a move to fortify a taxed bullpen, the Mets traded minor league pitchers Matt Koch and Miller Diaz to the Arizona Diamondbacks for relief pitcher Addison Reed. Reed, a righty, did not fare well in his time with Arizona in 2015. In fact, he was demoted Triple-A in June because of his subpar performance. Despite that, Reed is an ideal buy-low option for the Mets.
The Montclair, California native has an unimpressive 4.20 ERA this year. With a career rate of 9.28 strikeouts per nine innings, he has struck out just 7.52 per nine this year. He has walked 3.10 per nine this year, which is more in line with his career rate of 2.73. After closing for the White Sox in 2012 and 2013 and for the Diamondbacks in 2014, Reed started this season in that role but was removed from it by Arizona early this season.
The underlying numbers tell a different story, though. Reed has a 3.12 FIP this year, which will be the third-best mark in the Mets' bullpen. The most baffling aspect of his season is how stark the contrast is between his home and road statistics. At Chase Field, a hitter-friendly park, Reed has a 9.19 ERA. On the road, he has a 1.08 ERA. That's an incredibly pronounced split. Opponents have a 1.038 OPS against him in Arizona but just a .556 OPS on the road. Perhaps there's something to that split, as he showed a similar disparity last season, too.
On top of that, Reed has a high .344 BABIP this year, which is high and could be the result of some bad luck. Arizona plays good defense, so it cannot be blamed on the fielders behind him. That, coupled with a hard-hit rate that is lower than last year's, might show that his decline in performance is as simple as bad luck, especially at home. If that fortune reverses, he could be effective for the Mets.
The greatest asset that Reed can offer the Mets could be his ability to get lefties out. With the faltering of supposed lefty specialist Eric O'Flaherty, the team could use a reliable option. Throughout his career, Reed has been more effective against lefties than righties. Things aren't any different this year, as lefties have a .672 OPS against him, while righties have an .839 OPS. This might be the byproduct of his slider, which has glove-side break that makes it an out pitch against lefties but can be vulnerable to hanging against righties.
Reed has become a two-pitch pitcher, as he used to throw a changeup occasionally but abandoned it almost entirely after the 2013 season. His fastball averages 92.5 miles per hour, and he has used it 64 percent of the time this season, down from 75 percent in 2014.
Reed has shown improvement lately. In the second half, his numbers have drastically improved. He has a 1.65 ERA and a 1.95 FIP in 16.1 innings since the All-Star break. He is earning $4.875 million this year and is under team control through the 2017 season. He'll be entering his second year of arbitration-eligibility this year, though, so he will only get more expensive going forward. But all bullpens benefit from stability, especially those with postseason hopes, and if the Mets use Reed properly, he could provide exceptional value down the stretch.