The Twins entered the offseason without an experienced closer on their roster. Now they have two.
Addison Reed, a 29-year-old with 125 career saves on his résumé, has agreed to a two-year contract with the Twins, a major league source confirmed Saturday. Reed, who has pitched for the White Sox, Diamondbacks, Mets and Red Sox during his seven major league seasons, will join Fernando Rodney, whose 300 career saves are more than any pitcher currently on an MLB roster, in the Twins bullpen.
Reed will earn just short of $17 million over two seasons, the source confirmed. The Twins made no announcement of the move, which won’t become official until the righthander passes a physical and the Twins create a vacancy on their 40-man roster. Sorting out their roles will come later.
Rodney, a 15-year veteran who turns 41 in March, signed a one-year contract on Dec. 15, and said the Twins’ commitment to him as their 2018 closer was a primary reason for signing. Their plans haven’t necessarily changed, but Reed, whose best seasons have arguably come in a setup role, gives manager Paul Molitor a strong second option if needed.
Reed posted a 2.84 ERA over 76 innings last season for the Mets and Red Sox and was 19-for-21 in save situations in New York before being traded to Boston on July 31. In 2016, as the primary setup man to Jeurys Familia, Reed gave up only 60 hits and 13 walks in 77⅔ innings while striking out 91. That figures to be Reed’s role as long as Rodney is effective. But Rodney’s age makes that a gamble; he has given up five runs over three innings this winter in the Dominican League. If he doesn’t hold the job, Reed, with four seasons of 19 or more saves, makes a handy Plan B.
Reed has averaged 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings over his career, with only 2.3 walks per nine. He is durable, too; he pitched in an MLB-leading 157 games over the past two seasons, and he has never appeared in fewer than 55 games since 2012.
Reed played for the late Tony Gwynn at San Diego State and in 2009 was the Aztecs closer and a teammate of Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg. He was drafted in the third round in 2010 by the White Sox and saved 69 games for Chicago in 2012 and 2013, going 11-for-11 against the Twins.
In an offseason that Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey said would be devoted to adding veteran starting pitchers to a team that qualified for a wild-card spot in the AL playoffs, Reed represents the third free-agent reliever to sign with them, joining Rodney and lefthander Zach Duke. It’s an understandable emphasis, though, given that the Twins bullpen had a collective 4.40 ERA in 2017, ranking 12th in the AL. The three newcomers will join holdovers Alan Busenitz, Tyler Duffey, Trevor Hildenberger, Ryan Pressly and Taylor Rogers in the bullpen..