First the Diamondbacks stripped Addison Reed of closing duties and now they’ve demoted the right-hander with a $4.9 million salary to Triple-A at age 26.
Reed saved 101 games from 2012-2014, including 32 games for the Diamondbacks last season after the team’s previous front office regime acquired the so-called proven closer from the White Sox. But throughout all the saves Reed had a 4.20 ERA and served up way too many homers to be reliable in the late innings.
He’s regressed even further this season, allowing 16 runs in 24 innings for a 5.92 ERA, and Reed will likely have to put together a good stretch at Triple-A just to re-enter the Diamondbacks’ plans as a middle reliever.
Side-arming setup man Brad Ziegler has stepped into the closer role for Arizona and done a very nice job, saving 10 games with a 1.50 ERA in 30 innings.
Reds ace Johnny Cueto has made four starts since returning from a disabled list stint for elbow soreness and now the team is pushing back his next turn in the rotation from Tuesday to Friday.
Triple-A call-up Josh Smith will be making his MLB debut in Cueto’s place Tuesday, suggesting it wasn’t something the Reds had planned all along, and Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that a team spokesperson gave no information about whether Cueto is dealing with an injury.
Cueto has been his usual self this season with a 2.98 ERA and 86/16 K/BB ratio in 91 innings, including a 2.84 ERA in four starts since coming off the disabled list. As an impending free agent almost certain to sign for more than $100 million wherever he winds up this offseason Cueto has plenty of reason to play things safe health-wise for a 32-36 team.
Tim Lincecum had the shortest start of his career Sunday, failing to make it out of the second inning against the Dodgers while allowing five runs and recording four outs.
Early on this season Lincecum had a fantastic ERA despite poor velocity and underwhelming strikeout and walk rates, all of which has caught up with him lately.
Since shutting out the Dodgers for seven innings on May 20 to lower his ERA to 2.08, the two-time Cy Young winner has allowed 22 runs in 27 innings while striking out 23 and walking 15.
Sunday afternoon’s start was the fourth time in eight outings that he’s failed to complete five innings and he hasn’t completed six or more innings in back-to-back starts since May 3 and May 8. His strikeout rate is a career-low 7.1 per nine innings, his walk-rate is a career-high 4.4 per nine innings, and his average fastball is down to 87.3 miles per hour at age 32.
Lincecum has been trending in the wrong direction for several seasons now, but he looks awfully close to no longer being a viable rotation option for the Giants with Jake Peavy set to come off the disabled list and Matt Cain soon to follow.