The Steven Souza, Jr. experiment I alluded to in my last article has seemingly come to an end, at least for the time being, as the veteran outfielder was DFA’d after failing to make much of an impression.
The 32-year-old collected just four hits (hey, one was a homer) in 25 at-bats while striking out 10 times. On the bright side, the corresponding move gave me another obscure Dodger to investigate.
Right-handed pitcher Jake Reed’s contract was selected from Triple-A Oklahoma City to take Souza’s spot on the active roster, and if we’re being honest here, I hadn’t the slightest idea who that was. To my credit, Reed has only been in the Dodgers’ organization since June 4. He signed a minor-league deal and has been pitching in OKC since the Angels cut him loose.
I was initially concerned by Reed’s inability to make an impact with even the putrid Anaheim bullpen, but I found some more encouraging signs when I did a little more digging.
Reed was a highly-touted prospect in Minnesota, going in the fifth round of the 2014 MLB Draft after being named First-Team All-Pac-12 as the closer for the Oregon Ducks. He dominated short season-A ball and put up generally favorable numbers throughout his minor league career, but had a rough go in his first full Triple-A campaign.
The right-hander battled a shoulder injury and pitched well in 2018, but was not able to crack the Twins’ 40-man roster at any point during that season. To further his chances, he adopted a sidearm delivery for added deception.
Despite the new funky motion, the Twins released Reed and he found himself starting the 2021 season with the Salt Lake Bees, the Angels’ Triple-A affiliate. His numbers look bad (8.31 ERA, 1.78 WHIP), but they are heavily inflated due to an an implosion against the Tacoma Rainiers.
The Dodgers saw past the less than encouraging numbers and offered him a spot in OKC, where he compiled a much more promising 2.61 ERA over 10.1 innings. Now the 28-year-old sidearmer has gotten his first call to the big club. Though he’s likely to see use in low leverage situations, I like the prospect of another arm angle in the Dodgers’ bullpen, and the team has a strong track record with reclamation project relievers such as Jimmy Nelson and Blake Treinen in recent seasons.
Whether or not he sticks with the team, this will be an eventful year for the Reed family. On top of Jake’s imminent MLB debut, his wife Janie will be competing in Tokyo with our Olympic Softball team.