SEATTLE – The Twins gave Addison Reed nearly $17 million 16 months ago because, as Derek Falvey judged at the time, “his history is as a pitcher who can thrive when you must have a critical out.” On Thursday, the Twins decided to eat about $6 million of that contract because they believe that’s no longer true.
“It’s always hard with a player of Addison’s stature and what he’s done over his career,” said Falvey, the Twins chief baseball officer, after informing Reed he has been designated for assignment, probably ending his tenure with the team. “Unfortunately, he hasn’t really bounced back to where we would have wanted him to be.”
The Twins have seven days to trade or waive the 30-year-old righthander, though Falvey didn’t sound optimistic that any market still exists for a pitcher who is still owed more than $6 million of his $8.5 million salary this year. “We’ll certainly see over the next 24, 48 hours if anything presents itself,” Falvey said.
Reed’s contract was the biggest one the Twins agreed to during the winter of 2017-18, and the former closer appeared to be a good investment through the first two months of the 2018 season. He posted a 2.36 ERA in his first 25 outings, but seemed to wear down as the season went on, and finished with a 4.50 ERA. He gave up runs in five of his seven appearances in August, ultimately losing his job pitching at the end of games.
This season, he never got the chance.
He came to camp hoping to reverse that decline, but he suffered a thumb injury on his non-pitching hand shortly before camp broke and began the season on the injured list, staying behind in Fort Myers. Reed began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Rochester on May 7, but the results were discouraging: He gave up 11 hits and eight runs over four one-inning appearances, including four home runs.
“We knew at the end of last year he went through some struggles, certainly, and then this offseason we hoped he’d come into spring training and we’d be in a better spot,” Falvey said. “He’s a pro. Addison has been around awhile. He’s the first one to say, ‘I wish it could have turned out better.’ He wants to be out there and helping this team, especially where it’s at right now. But he understands.”
The Twins decided to make the move Thursday in order to add righthander Austin Adams to the major league roster, after optioning sidearm righthander Trevor Hildenberger to Rochester following Wednesday’s 8-7 victory over the Angels.
The Twins signed Reed — along with Logan Morrison, Lance Lynn, Michael Pineda, Fernando Rodney and Zach Duke — to major league free-agent contracts two winters ago. Only Pineda, who pitched Thursday night at Seattle, remains with Minnesota.