Five months ago, Addison Reed was en route to the minors and searching for answers. Next week, he’s headed to the World Series with the New York Mets.
Whereas he had no idea where the ball was going when the Arizona Diamondbacks optioned him to Triple-A on June 22, the former White Sox closer has thrived since he joined his new team on Sept. 1.
Reed has taken ownership of the seventh inning and posted a 1.45 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings with the Mets. He credits his turnaround to a positive frame of mind after he learned he was headed for Reno.
“You never know what’s going to happen,” Reed said. “I could have been pissed off and been bitter at Arizona and just went down there and not had fun and done whatever. I just had fun with it. This game is crazy. You never know what’s going to happen. I was in Triple-A only two-and-a-half to three months ago and now we’re going to the World Series.”
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Reed had a pretty good idea he might be headed to the minors. He lost his job as the Diamondbacks’ closer in May and then came the low point. On June 20, Reed, who had given up 31 hits and 11 walks in 24 1/3 innings, only recorded two outs as he allowed four runs, including an RBI triple to opposing pitcher Tyson Ross.
“That’s about how things were going at the time,” Reed said. “I was kind of everywhere. I had no idea where the ball was going.”
The Diamondbacks were set to begin a road trip in Denver two days later. But the right-hander wasn’t meant to join his teammates.
“They asked if I’d come to the field early one day before we left on a road trip and that’s never happened,” Reed said. “Nobody is going to call you to ask you to come early for a road trip to hang out and have coffee.
“I was disappointed but there was no part of me that disagreed with their decision. I was throwing the ball terribly. It was probably the worst I’ve thrown the ball since I was in the big leagues.”
Reed made one bigger mechanical adjustment in the minors and mostly focused on fastball command. Whereas the San Diego State product had always used a high leg kick in his delivery, the Diamondbacks worked with him on a slide step in June and it produced results -- for a time. But once he reached Reno, Reed and the club compromised.
“We kind of met in the middle,” Reed said. “Not the high leg kick, not the slide step but lifting it quick and just going. That kind of got me a little bit more going into my delivery and going as opposed to the slide step, you’re just falling forward. This kind of got me to gather everything on my back leg and then shoot toward home plate.”
Once he arrived at that, Reed began to divide the plate into quadrants and worked on his fastball command. Whether it was up or down, in or out, Reed rediscovered his fastball and cleaned up his slider, which hitters were able to ignore in the first half because he couldn’t throw it for a strike.
But Reed -- whose wife gave birth to the couple’s first child shortly after he went to the minors -- thinks his attitude was equally important to his success.
“I went down there and actually had a blast,” Reed said. “The guys were awesome and it kind of brought me back to the days I was in the minor leagues and coming up and having all that fun.”
He has had an even better time since the Mets acquired him on Aug. 30 for a pair of minor leaguers, neither of who is ranked in the team’s top 30 prospects by MLB.com. Reed, who saved 69 games in two-plus seasons with the White Sox, said the Mets have had an air of confidence about them, one he immediately felt when he joined the team.
Now, he’s only four victories away from earning a World Series ring.
“Unbelievable,” Reed said. “This is why you play. You play for the position we’re in and I’m having a blast. It’s been nothing but fun since I’ve come over here.
“There’s been that feeling since I came over that we had a pretty good team. I won’t say we knew we were going to be here, but I think we expected to be here, where we’re at right now. Everything has kind of clicked.”