The late-season roster shuffling that comes as teams in contention try to load up for a pennant race was more than familiar for Addison Reed.
He had been through it before two years ago when he was in Arizona, hearing his name in rumors, getting texts from friends wondering if any of the buzz was true, then finally being dealt from a team that was 9½ games back in the NL West to a first-place Mets team trying to make the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade.
The righthander ended up being a key piece in the Mets’ postseason run, posting a 1.17 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 17 appearances down the stretch of the regular season and found himself on the game’s most high-stakes stage in the World Series.
When his name started appearing in rumors this season with the Mets 14 games back in the NL East and deciding whether they were going to sell at the trade deadline, the 28-year-old said he wasn’t fazed.
“I wouldn’t say it was a distraction at all,” he said Tuesday afternoon before the Red Sox’ dramatic 12-10 victory over the Indians. “I just went to the building every day. I was a New York Met until I heard otherwise. Nothing changed. I didn’t really change the way I went about things. I didn’t change my routine. I did the exact same thing every day until I got the call yesterday.”
Reed got word that the Mets were sending him to the Red Sox for three minor league players, once again sending him swinging from a team nowhere near contention to a team with its eyes on a deep playoff push.
Standing in the Sox clubhouse on Tuesday, Reed he said he can draw from having gone through a similar experience.
“I don’t think it can hurt. It can only help,” Reed said. “Just kind of going through that two years ago in 2015, I kind of know what to expect and know what it’s like to be in the middle of a pennant race.”
Reed was thrown right into it in the eighth inning with a 9-7 lead — but what happened wasn’t what the fans expected.
His first batter, Cleveland’s Carlos Santana, crushed a 1-and-2 fastball, sending it six rows over the bullpen to trim the Red Sox lead to one.
Reed shook it off and retired the next three men, setting the stage for closer Craig Kimbrel — who also allowed a leadoff homer and then another run before Christian Vazquez saved the day.
Coming to Boston, Reed said he knows the intensity and the profile will be heightened, but he was ready for it.
“If you can’t get ready to go here, you shouldn’t be playing baseball,” Reed said. “If you can’t get pumped up in front of these fans and this atmosphere, there’s something wrong with you, and you’ve got to go home.”
From afar, Reed caught highlights and saw a team with an energy he admired.
“Obviously this team that they have this year, they’ve been fun to watch,” Reed said. “I feel like every time I turn on MLB Network or ‘SportsCenter,’ they’re showing a highlight of one of the guys in this clubhouse.”
There was one familiar face when he arrived at Fenway on Tuesday: Chris Sale. Reed spent the first three seasons of his career with the Chicago White Sox with Sale as his teammate. He was excited to reunite.
“It’s going to be fun,” Reed said. “I saw him pitch for a little over two years and you know when he comes out, you’re going to have a good chance to win, and he’ll be fun to see again.”
Reed was thrust into the role of Mets closer at the start of the season after Jeurys Familia was suspended then had shoulder surgery. In 48 appearances, Reed went 1-2 with a 2.57 ERA, 19 saves, and 48 strikeouts.
But in Boston, with Kimbrel handling the ninth inning, Reed will return to a more familiar role as setup man. In 2016, he was 4-2 with a 1.97 ERA and 91 strikeouts.
“I’m ready to pitch whenever,” Reed said. “It’s going to be fun.”
Throughout his career, Reed has been equally tough on righthanders and lefthanders. Righties have hit just .243 against him; lefties hit just .239. It makes him more than just a situational option.
“I take deep pride in that,” Reed said. “My goal every time I go out there is to try to get three outs without a runner scoring. Whether it’s three lefties, three righties, a mix of lefties and righties, I’m out there trying to get three outs before any runs score, so I’m not going to change anything.”