Option 4: A.J. Reed
A.J. Reed (Photo Credit: Richard Guill)
4. A.J. Reed
2016 AGE: 23
2016 SALARY: League Minimum
Finally, a player we can all get behind. Reed is Singleton without the failed half-season trial run. A big, powerful lefty with plate discipline and a fantastic track record. Reed should be part of the core of this team by next June at the latest, batting in the heart of the order for the next several years.
Since we all know this, let’s talk 2015. Should Reed be up now, or is the team better off waiting until April 15th to lock up his 2022, age-29 control? A lot depends on what you think of Singleton. If you believe that Reed would be significantly better as an instant impact lefty bat for the stretch run, then yes, he should be up. The current options are hurting us. Personally, I would have been fine with Singleton at 1B/DH, and a loose Tucker/Gattis/Valbuena time-share at the other spot. Asking the veterans to cover two spots in the lineup, though, hasn’t been realistic.
Having Reed for 2022 does have value. It staggers his free agency to occur a year later than Correa and McCullers. Also, there’s a good chance his age-29 season will be an All-Star caliber performance far more important than his first 50 plate appearances in the Majors in 2015. On balance, I have no complaints with leaving him down through mid-April.
(The 40-man roster argument, for the record, is garbage. We have at least a half-dozen players of no long-term value currently on the 40-man roster. There is no realistic chance for a “squeeze” in the off-season if we’re willing to aggressively DFA dead weight Triple-A lifers.)
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Next: Option 5: Luis Valbuena