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2023 Dodgers in review: Jake Reed

Los Angeles Dodgers v Chicago Cubs Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

For a third consecutive season, Jake Reed pitched in the majors for the Dodgers despite starting and ending each year off of the 40-man roster. But in a way, 2023 was quite the stable season for the veteran right-hander with the funky delivery who has been a frequent inclusion on the transaction wire the last few years.

Reed pitched in one game for the Dodgers this season — we’ll get to that shortly — and otherwise spent the entire season with Triple-A Oklahoma City. That followed a very busy two years for the right-hander that saw him join seven different organizations, and pitched in the majors for three of them.

He made his major league debut for the Dodgers in 2021 after starting the season in the minors with the Angels. Since then, Reed has been optioned to the minors 13 different times, designated for assignment eight times, and claimed off waivers six times.

The Dodgers claimed Reed off waivers from the Red Sox in November 2022, slightly more than a month after Boston had claimed him from the Orioles that offseason. But once J.D. Martinez was signed to a one-year contract last December 29, Reed was the odd man out on the 40-man roster, designated for assignment.

This time, Reed went unclaimed on waivers, which kept him with the Dodgers, for whom he was a non-roster invitee in spring training. The LA pitching staff battled several injuries in 2023, and reinforcements were often needed. Ten of the 16 non-roster pitchers from spring training ended up pitching in the majors for the Dodgers, including Reed when he got the call on April 21.

That day was probably the Dodgers’ worst game of the regular season, getting absolutely pasted by the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Drew Smyly took a perfect game into the eighth inning, broken up by a single that traveled maybe 40 feet up the third base line.

By the time Reed entered in the fourth inning, the Dodgers already trailed 5-0. He pitched up the pieces after a bad Julio Urías start, coming in with one out and a runner on first base. Reed struck out Dansby Swanson, and then after the two allotted pickoff attempts at first base, Reed essentially threw well outside, allowing fill-in catcher Austin Wynns to nab Nico Hoerner at second base.

The Dodgers got torched in the first half of the season by opposing baserunners, and not just when Noah Syndergaard was pitching. By this point in the season, Los Angeles already allowed 24 steals in 21 games, and this was just the third caught stealing by a Dodgers catcher.

For Reed, the fifth inning did not go nearly as well. He faced six batters to open the frame and didn’t record an out. A walk, single, and a Patrick Wisdom home run added three runs to his ledger. A ground-rule double and single added another run, then another single knocked Reed out of the game. Both runners bequeathed by Reed scored on another home run, in a game the Dodgers lost 13-0.

Because that was the only game Reed pitched in the majors in 2023, he ended the season with unsightly 81.00 ERA by allowing six runs against only two outs recorded. That’s tied for the seventh-highest ERA in a season in Dodgers history. Among Los Angeles Dodgers, Reed shares the highest seasonal ERA, along with position player Kiké Hernández in 2018.

Reed was designated for assignment the day after his game at Wrigley Field, then cleared waivers and finished out the season in Triple-A. He put up a very Pacific Coast League 7.34 ERA in 29 games for Oklahoma City, with 31 strikeouts and 21 walks in 34⅓ innings.

2023 particulars

Age: 30

Stats: 1 game, 2 outs, 6 runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

Salary: unknown

Roster status

As someone who was sent outright to the minors multiple times, Reed exercised his right to elect free agency after the season, doing so on October 10.