Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports.

Josh Reddick: Tempered Expectations

Josh Reddick is off to a horrid start to the 2014 season. Fans are clamoring for Reddick to be sent down to the minors in favor of a .233 lifetime hitter. Sam Fuld had an energy about him, I will grant you that, but Reddick’s off-year last season was far and away better than Fuld’s career best season. Reddick in 2013: .226, 12 HR, 56 RBI and 54 R. Fuld’s career year in 2011: .240, 3 HR, 27 RBI and 41 R. Josh Reddick is struggling, and looking lost at the plate, but let’s not act like Sam Fuld was the answer. Instead, let’s temper our expectations and maneuver playing time a little bit and see what makes the most sense.

Remember Chris Young last season? Of course you do. Former Rookie of the Year candidate, who showed lots of promise. His numbers in Arizona started to diminish, so he was shipped to Oakland for Cliff Pennington. This looked like a steal of a trade!…Until we saw what Young was about. He batted .200 with 12 HR and 40 RBI last season. It feels as though he compiled all of his power numbers against the Astros in 2013. He was so bad, I named a cycle in honor of him. It consists of a strikeout, fly out, groundout and a double play. Josh Reddick had only 50 more ABs than Young last season, but his numbers were overall much higher, even while battling a nagging wrist injury.

Why harp on Chris Young if he isn’t on the team? Because Chris Young stayed in Oakland the whole season, and the A’s were carrying 5 outfielders, not 4 like they are now (Yes, Brandon Moss could count as a 5th, but he will play most games at 1st base). Young struggled for the entire season and kept his job. Reddick showed a burst of greatness in 2012, but maybe that isn’t the real Josh Reddick. Maybe the real Josh Reddick is a .240-.250 hitter that is good for 15-20 HRs and about 60 RBIs. He still plays magnificent defense, and his arm keeps runners at bay.

The answer that makes the most sense is this: give Craig Gentry more ABs. Gentry is a career .279 hitter, and has speed. He could be a second Coco Crisp in the A’s lineup. Bat Gentry 9th in the order, with Coco leading off. The two of them on the base paths at the same time would cause havoc in a pitcher’s mind, allowing Jed Lowrie and Josh Donaldson to get better pitches to hit. The A’s don’t need to win every game via the long ball. Heck, they can’t win every game via the long ball. Stringing together hits is what wins games, especially in the playoffs.

What does this mean for Josh Reddick? Bob Melvin needs to put him in situations where he knows he can succeed. No more lefty on lefty action. It looks as though Melvin has been trying the “you’re still our guy” approach to give Reddick confidence and it isn’t working. Putting Josh Reddick in situations where he will succeed is the next step.

Josh Reddick has been facing a lot of criticism from fans after his sluggish start. When he came over from the Red Sox before the 2012 season, he had a chip on his shoulder, and played like it. He seems to have lost that chip in the past year. Moving him into a lesser role could do him some good. In 2011 with Boston, he posted a .280 average in 278 ABs. Josh Reddick will come around at some point this season, but to what degree and how long the A’s will wait for a turnaround remains the big question in Oakland.


Tags: A's Josh Reddick Oakland Athletics

  • Otis60

    Maybe putting Reddick in better situations is one answer to his problems, but a better answer is for him to become a more professional hitter and stop trying to pull every pitch, regardless of the situation or location of the pitch. I am sooooo tired of seeing him strike out on pitches that are a foot off of the plate with his exaggerated pull swing. Everyone gets fooled now and again, but it’s pretty obvious that everyone knows to throw him a breaking ball WAY out of the zone when he’s got 2 strikes, as he’ll flail at it every time. If he’d go after the same pitches with an opposite field approach, he’d maybe be able to poke a few of those pitches to left field and actually help his team…
    Also, right now my biggest question is – Why do we still have Barton on the roster instead of Nate Frieman??? Barton is hitting .080, which I didn’t think was even possible, and is playing terrible first base. He’s made error after error, and is obviously carrying his at-bats into the field with him. I realize he’s out of options, but do the A’s seriously believe anyone else is desperate to claim him off waivers? Not if they’ve watched him play!!!

    • zacman83

      I agree with your first point – Reddick is in danger of sinking below the Jeff Francoeur level where great defense and some pop atone for being an overall terrible hitter (and Frenchy is currently out of MLB). As to your second, you have to run an equation involving Reddick’s RF defense plus Barton’s 1B defense, minus their woeful offense, against Moss’s defense at 1B or RF and how Freiman could handle 1B.

  • Richard Guzinya

    If I had a nice thing to say about Reddick is that he has a great arm. After that I’m struggling to find anything else. Being the carefree, fun guy works really good with the fans when you’re producing. Reddick is not. The whole pie face thing can be done by the ball boy. Reddick needs to go to Sacramento and work on his mechanics. Though I know Fuld is inferior in terms of career, he’s still hitting 100 points higher than Reddick is today. If we look at things, Reddick has been good for 3/4 of a season. And that was in 2012. At best (and I’m being nice) he’s a defensive replacement at the end of the game right now. I mean right now he’s made Dave Kingman look like Ty Cobb. He should be sent down to work on his swing. If he fixes it then great and if he doesn’t then too bad. The defense is great but his rally killing is going to hinder the A’s long term.

  • Robert Larrance

    The question is who is the real Reddick, the 2012 version or the one from 09, 10, 11 and 13? I hope that Mr. 2012 is what will appear soon but I am starting to worry. After 2012 any trip down to the farm could be devastating to his self-confidence. I don’t know if the A’s want to risk that. He could become damaged enough to really limit his trade value. But right now they don’t seem to be willing to play him back into shape and he is becoming the last man on the bench. Whatever happens will happen soon. Billy doesn’t let guys languish. I see him gone by June, the need for pitching is too great and there is pressure this year to advance.