Oakland Athletics’ outfield Josh Reddick is currently playing in the final year of his contract. Talks for a new contract are not believed to be currently ongoing, and it appears Reddick will be set to test free agency this offseason. And that could very well mean the A’s are set to do what they do best: trade away one of their best players.
Reddick is on a fairly cheap contract for the rest of the season and would surely draw a nice package for Oakland. The main question opposing teams will have will center around the power hitters hand, which was broken earlier in the season. He has since returned, but with little success.
If the A’s did decide to move the power hitting outfielder, they should get at least one truly respectable prospect and then some. His skill is enough to overcome the current struggles he is going through. As a rental, he is a potential difference maker for a contender. Especially one that needs a jolt on offense.
But the A’s do not necessarily have to move their star outfielder, as they could get draft pick compensation if they held him and he walked in free agency. But it is more likely that any package they would agree to take in exchange for Reddick would be greater than a compensatory draft pick. So Billy Beane will surely be working the phones will other general managers.
So which contenders will be in the market for Reddick? A power hitting outfielder who can be plugged into the middle of the order, while also providing some solid defense. The A’s will certainly get multiple bidders for his services, so let us take a look at some of the contenders.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals have been hit with the injury bug quite a bit this season. All-Star third baseman Matt Carpenter strained his oblique and will be out until August at the earliest. Left fielder Matt Holliday is currently dealing with an ankle issue, and has a lengthy injury history. Brandon Moss recently hit the DL with a sprained ankle. Randal Grichuk, who was under performing and sent down to the minors earlier this season, was called back up to replace him.
So while the Cardinals rank fairly well offensively, the team would not be against adding another power bat. Matt Holliday is always battling injury, and could be given some days at first base here and there, especially is Moss’s injury lingers. The Cardinals were clearly not thrilled with Grichuk’s play, and his stay in the Majors is no guarantee to be permanent. If Reddick is acquired, Stephen Piscotty could slide over to cover center field.
So the team could certainly find a place for Reddick, and he would go right into the middle of the order. He could help offset some of the production lost due to the Carpenter and Moss injuries, while also providing insurance in case Holliday goes down for any extended period. The team is a few games out of the second wild card slot, and Reddick could provide that extra boost they need to get there.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Reddick could find himself staying out west in the state of California. The Dodgers could certainly use some added thump in their order, and have a few spots in the outfield that could use an upgrade. As things stand now, they hold the first wild card spot, but with an offense that ranks in the bottom half in several key categories, and a beat up pitching staff, a thumper like Reddick would be a welcome addition.
Right now Howie Kendrick and Trayce Thompson are the teams’ starting left and center fielders respectively. Both men are underperforming and could easily be moved to the bench if Reddick were brought in. Joc Pederson is due back from the DL shortly after the All-Star break, but he was not exactly lighting the world on fire while healthy either. An outfield of Puig-Pederson-Reddick has more upside than the current lineup.
The team ranks 18th in the majors in both runs and home runs this season, while also ranking 27th in batting average. So to put it bluntly, the team could use some help on offense. Thankfully for the Dodgers, Reddick would provide just that. He is the kind of thumper they will need if they wish to hold onto their current wild card slot, especially considering ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw is going to be out until August in most likelihood. Without Kershaw, the club is going to need to produce more runs to remain in ballgames.
San Francisco Giants
If Reddick is going to stay in California, why not just move across the bay? The Giants are hurting in the outfield, and Reddick’s presence could be what the Giants need to keep the even year magic alive. Currently sitting as the best team in baseball, power is still an issue. The club ranks 29th in the Majors in home runs.
San Fran currently holds a pretty nice lead over the Dodgers in the division. But this move would not be to for the regular season, but the postseason. There will come a time in the playoffs where they need that big home run or double, and Reddick is capable of providing just that. Their current outfield, not so much.
Denard Spand and Gregor Blanco, both currently considered starters, are hampered with injuries. They are also both not considered power hitters. Neither is starting left fielder Angel Pagan. None of those names are seen as much of an offensive threat, and it will not be until Hunter Pence returns that the outfield will have an offensive presence. But that does not appear to be until August at the earliest. And even when he returns, there is no guarantee he will be able to drive off his leg like he would when he is totally healthy, given he is out with a torn hamstring.
So Reddick could provide that presence if he moves across the bay. Eventually the Giants could have an outfield that features both Pence and Reddick. Pair that with Buster Posey, Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford, and this offense could be scary good against opposing pitchers in the playoffs.
For more potential trade targets for the Giants, you can check out these under the radar trade candidates the Giants may consider here.
New York Mets
The Mets are going to have to do something if they wish to hold on to their current wild card spot. They have been demolished by injuries this season and their offense simply is not producing any runs. And with the injuries mounting on the pitching staff, offensive help is a must.
Matt Harvey is lost for the season. Noah Syndergaard Is dealing with bone spurs in his pitching elbow plus arm fatigue. Steven Matz has his own bone spurs in his elbow. With all of these injuries, the pitching will not be able to carry the club like is has been to this point.
The team is ranked 28th in both batting average and runs scored this season. Their best hitter, slugging outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is nursing a quad injury. Lucas Duda has been out for a good chunk of the season and David Wright will not be returning at all this season. Michael Conforto struggled so much the Mets needed to send him back to the minors. And his replacement, Brandon Nimmo, is another youngster who is sure to hit a rookie rough patch at some point. Then add in the fact that Curtis Granderson is hitting under .240 for the season and you have a team that needs a shot in the arm.
That is where Reddick could come into play. Sure he cannot do it alone, but his addition sure would help. If you think back to last season, the Mets made a big deal on deadline day to bring in a thumping outfielder who was set to enter free agency, and that got them all the way to the World Series. Could Reddick be Cespedes 2.0 and bring the Mets back to the Promised Land?
Kansas City Royals
The Royals are in need of an offensive jolt if they want a chance to defend their title. They currently sit in a position where they need to climb over several clubs if they want to win either the division or the get a wild card spot. And given their current outfield situation and offensive numbers, a big bat like Reddick’s will be mighty appealing to the Royals front office.
The team ranks 25th in runs scored and 27th in home runs this season. The loss of Mike Moustakas early in the season really hurt the club, as did Alex Gordon missing an extended period of time. And even upon his return, Gordon has not been the same, as he is hitting close to .200 this season. Sal Perez and Eric Hosmer can only carry this team so far. They are going to need a bat like Reddick’s if they want to play extra baseball this season.
And there are openings in the outfield if they do bring him on board. Center and right field are currently occupied by Jarrod Dyson and Paulo Orlando. Dyson is more of a platoon player and can easily slide to the bench with Orlando shifting to center if Reddick is brought in. And if Gordon continues to struggle, he will have to see a decrease in at bats as well. Having Reddick will help to offset that lost production.
Chicago White Sox
The White Sox find themselves in a very similar position as the Royals. They are both tied in the division with an uphill climb ahead of them. The division and wild card are within their grasps, but it is going to take some work to get there. If Reddick moved to Chicago, there would be a handful of ways to include his lineup into the suffering offense.
The offense finds itself ranked 21st in runs and 23rd in homers. A slugger would be a huge help to the club as they try to make that playoff surge. Chris Sale and Jose Quintana are a strong one-two for the starting rotation, but they will need run support. As things stand now, they are simply not getting enough.
Avisail Garcia is currently the teams DH. Hitting under .240 and only five home runs is not the best way to keep his bat in the lineup. Reddick could very easily slot in as the DH, or they could turn to a rotating DH to keep guys fresh. The other option would be to have Adam Eaton slide over to center and place Reddick in right. Taking JB Shuck out of the lineup for Reddick would certainly be an improvement. Austin Jackson, the regular staring center fielder, is currently out with a knee injury, and is scheduled to return sometime around early August. But if Reddick is in town, Ajax would provide a decent number four outfielder, who could be used late in games when needed. He could also start in center on days where Reddick is in the DH slot.
So where oh where will Josh Reddick land? My money would be on the Dodgers, as they have some pieces they could use to entice Billy Beane and the A’s. He would provide an instant upgrade to their offense, and they would also be keeping him away from division rival, the Giants. That would also certainly help the A’s get a better return as well, as they could pit the division foes against one another.
At the end of the day, Reddick’s days wearing an Oakland uniform are likely numbered. Come August I do not expect him to be wearing Oakland green and gold. Dodger blue would suit him well. But it could very well be Cardinal red, or Giants black and orange. Only time will tell. Where do you see Reddick going? Tell us in the comments below!