A day before the non-waiver trading deadline, talks between the Red Sox and New York Mets on a potential deal for righty reliever Addison Reed are intensifying, though not to a point where a deal is close, an industry source with knowledge of the discussions said.
It’s known that the Red Sox are seeking potential bullpen upgrades in advance of the deadline, with an eye toward obtaining an experienced arm which could help with eighth inning set-up duties. The Sox have one of the game’s best closers in Craig Kimbrel, but could use some reinforcements to help set-up Kimbrel.
To date, the Sox have mostly used Matt Barnes, and, before he was injured, Joe Kelly. Kelly is set to rejoin the club from the DL by the end of the week, but the Sox want to give themselves more options.
Reed, who is eligible for free agency after this season, would be strictly a rental for the Red Sox, which limits how much they’d be willing to sacrifice for him.
Recently, the Mets had a scout follow a number of Red Sox minor league affiliates in preparation for a possible deal.
The Sox are hardly alone in their interest in Reed. Tampa Bay and the Los Angeles Dodgers are just two of a handful of teams who have checked in on Reed. Reed, 28, has appeared in 48 games for the Mets this season with a .257 ERA. He's averaged nearly a strikeout per inning (48 in 49 innings) while showing superb control (six walks).
Reed served as the Chicago White Sox closer from 2012-2013 and then closed for Arizona in 2015. He's filled in that same role this season with the injury to Mets closer Jeurys Familia, notching 19 saves. He has 125 career saves, which would allow the Sox to use him in the ninth inning in games in which Kimbrel is unavailable.
A number of other relievers are on the market, but many of the other bigger names – including Justin Wilson with Detroit and Brad Hand with San Diego – are likely to return a far bigger return of prospects because they can be controlled beyond this year.
With Carson Smith due back perhaps by Sept. 1 and under control for several more seasons and Tyler Thornburg due back next year after thoracic outlet surgery, the Sox are less motivated to acquire relievers whom they control past the end of this season.
Having sacrificed a number of prospects over the last two years to land Kimbrel, Thornburg and Chris Sale, the Sox’ prospect inventory has been significantly depleted, making them especially wary of thinning the stock further for short-term gain.
One veteran evaluator said neither team appeared desperate to get a deal done, but talks are ongoing.
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