In a recent article by the talented, smart and handsome Jason Burke (The Athletics Could Get Similar Return for Josh Reddick as San Diego Has For Chase Headley) he made the point that, despite a slide from his 2012 greatness, Josh Reddick still maintains considerable trade value for the Oakland Athletics. While I agree with the trade value Reddick maintains, I think we’ll be more likely to see urinal partitions at the O.Co than see Reddick traded by the deadline.
For starters, since the All Star Break, Reddick is tied with Yoenis Cespedes for the second best batting average on the team (.357) with 10 hits and 7 runs over just 28 at bats. He’s also slugging an impressive .714 and has a 1.081 OPS. These numbers are skewed, admitedly, because he has only appeared in eight games since the break and his return from the disabled list but what general manager wants to take the gamble of trading a gold glove right fielder right when he may be getting into the best part of his season?
Then there are the injuries. Craig Gentry is out for at least two weeks with a broken hand and Coco Crisp’s neck problems make him a very unreliable player from day to day (although when he’s in, he’s having a great year). That takes two men out of your outfiled and Cespedes has made it very clear (both with his words and his performance) that centerfield is not his bag, baby. So you’ve got center and right that need coverage and Reddick can do either of those spots effectively. In fact, in two back to back plays he made great catches that prevented runs and extra bases. If you were able to factor the runs he prevents for other teams into his batting average, he’d be killing it!
Reddick has had his struggles and probably won’t produce 30 home runs in a season again but he is never slacking in the field and when he’s hot at the plate, he’s a very effective force who is able to steal bases and stretch hits into extra bases. If he can maintain his current average of .246 and keep driving in runs, it is worth keeping him on the roster for his defensive ability.
There is also an intangible effect that Reddick has on the team and the fans and while the fans don’t get you through the ALDS, every player on the team has said how great it is to play in a packed house with passionate fans and Reddick attracts his fair share of passionate fans. From pie to Careless Whisper, Reddick helps direct the conversation around the team in a positive way and that has an effect on the team, albiet an unquantifiable one.
I realize that this little opinion of mine will be met with a fair share of disagreement and I also realize that Billy Beane does not factor in my blog posts while making trade decisions. We all know that Billy could very well trade off Reddick and Gentry and half the left field bleachers for Max Scherzer, Babe Ruth and the 1973 Reds but that’s part of the fun of being an A’s fan and while anything is possible, in the hunt for green October, I think Reddick is pretty safe in right field this year.