St. Louis Cardinals: Addison Reed is the best target for closer

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 1: Addison Reed
BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 1: Addison Reed /

It’s no secret the St. Louis Cardinals want to add a closer this offseason. With few quality options, here’s an under-the-radar name the Cardinals should pursue.

Addison Reed. One of the St. Louis Cardinals‘ intentions this offseason is to shore up the bullpen. Signing Luke Gregerson was the apparent start of that objective. However, the team still lacks a true closer with the departure of the injured Trevor Rosenthal. Reed would immediately be the team’s best ninth-inning option should the Cardinals pursue the free agent right-hander.

Names of closers most closely connected with the Cardinals this offseason have included Greg Holland, Alex Colome, and Wade Davis. Davis signed with the Colorado Rockies for three years and $52 million Friday morning, taking the former Chicago Cubs’ All-Star off the board.

The Cardinals and Tampa Bay Rays have been connected all offseason in trade conversation, making Colome a likely target. However, the 2017 American League saves leader is not a free agent, so acquiring the All-Star would cost the Cardinals prospects.

Greg Holland remains a free agent, although the Cardinals seem less interested in Holland compared to their former interest in Davis and continued interest in Colome.

That leaves Reed, 29, as arguably the only remaining pedigreed closer on the market.

After joining the Boston Red Sox near the trading deadline in 2017, Reed held opponents to a .168 batting average and compiled a 0.93 WHIP. He served as a set-up man to Craig Kimbrel in the Red Sox bullpen, but his closing experience is there.

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Last season, he converted 19 of 21 save opportunities with the New York Mets before his trade to Boston.  From 2012-2014, he tallied 103 saves with the Chicago White Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks.

Reed features the coveted combination of a high strikeout-to-walk ratio among relief pitchers. For his career, he walks just about one batter every four innings pitched. He also averages more than one strikeout per inning on the mound.

That kind of control and precision would be a welcome arrival for the Cardinals in the ninth inning. While Trevor Rosenthal had many successes in St. Louis, his lack of control often led to his undoing.

Another thing that makes Reed an attractive target is that he has never landed on the disabled list in his major league career.

With Davis cashing in so heavily, Reed won’t be cheap. But if the Cardinals truly want to fix their closer position with a stopgap and not a band aid, they’ll dish out the money. The Cardinals are by no means short on cash as it is.

Perhaps the Cardinals’ front office keeps an eye on Reed while it waits to see what sort of price tag Holland commands. But either way, spending money on an above-average, proven closer in the prime of his career is a better option than packaging prospects for the Rays, who often find a way to tip the scales in their favor in trades (see: Evan Longoria to the San Francisco Giants).

Next: Avoiding the Moose

Even if the Cardinals are able to land Reed, they still shouldn’t be done fortifying the bullpen. If they can get a closer besides Reed, he could easily be a set-up man for St. Louis. The Cardinals are right to make fixing their bullpen a priority this winter. Now, they have to go out and do it.