If all goes to plan, Reed will wind up locking down the closer role based on performance and not the fact that the job was his for most of last season.
It's probably not a tact the hard-throwing California native needs to employ. In public, the White Sox's staff is saying that others will have a chance to prove themselves in game-saving situations, but behind the scenes the pecking order has been set and Reed is undoubtedly the closer.
Don't try telling that to Reed, whose 29 saves last season were seventh-best in the American League, while his save percentage of 87.9 was ninth-best.
"I don't think I have that position on lock at all," Reed said. "I will do what I will do what I did last spring training and try to get that closer spot. That's all I've ever wanted to do and all I ever dreamed of so I'm going to try and get that spot again this year."
Reed insists this isn't some type of motivational ploy to make him work harder. At the very least, he doesn't want to put doubt in the mind of the White Sox's coaching staff.
To show his determination, Reed is not only working on a new cardio regimen, he is also working tirelessly on refining any pitch that isn't called a fastball.
"(Hitters) have seen me for a full year and kind of know what I can do so that's where I need to mix in my offspeed," Reed said. "At times I got a little fastball happy, and I think the hitters started to recognize that. That's what I have been working on is getting comfortable with offspeed pitches, and if I continue to do that I will be better off. Instead of them just sitting on a fastball I have other pitches to come at them with."
Reed essentially will bring a starting pitcher's mentality into the closer role this year. Where closers tend to keep it simple with pitch selection, Reed's intention is to use a starter's everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach.
"The more pitches you have the better off you will be," he said. "If you're going out there with just one good pitch and a couple of mediocre ones, they're going to just spit on those pitches because you aren't comfortable throwing them and they know you can't throw them for strikes. The more pitches you have the better of you are.
Actually, the more quality pitches you have the better off you are. So Reed knows he has his work cut out for him to make his slider and changeup first rate.
"At the beginning of last year I was kind of successful just throwing fastballs and the hitters started to recognize that and sit on that," he said. "That's when I started to get hit around a little bit. I could tell they were sitting on fastballs. It's just something I have to work on and get comfortable with my offspeed pitches."