COMMENTARY | The Oakland Athletics are about to embark on spring training.
They have pretty much every position on the diamond settled at this point in the offseason, but this doesn't mean that general manager Billy Beane and Co. don't have some work to do.
When looking through the A's possible 25-man roster, one player stands out as a possible trade chip heading into February. It is none other than 2012 Gold Glove right fielder Josh Reddick, who struggled through a disastrous 2013 campaign.
Let's take a look at a few reasons why Reddick and the A's could use a fresh start:
Regression in 2013
Unfortunately, for the Oakland Athletics, outfielder Josh Reddick took a dramatic step back in his progression last season. Coming off a breakout 2012 campaign, Reddick saw all of his major numbers decline in 2013. He hit .226 with 12 homers and just 56 RBIs in what has to be considered an injury-plagued 114-game season. This came on the heels of Reddick hitting 32 homers and driving in over 80 runs the prior season, a performance that instantly made him a darling among A's fans.Competition
Less than a month until pitchers and catchers report, Reddick is considered Oakland's starting right fielder, but not without competition. It added Craig Gentry to the mix in a trade with the division rival Texas Rangers. Interestingly enough, the veteran put up the 30th-highest WAR of any player in the American League with a minimum 250 plate appearances, via FanGraphs.
Think about that for a second before you draw a conclusion that he can't beat Reddick out.
To compare for a second, Reddick's overall WAR was nearly a full point behind Gentry's last season. A lot of people will point to the wrist injury that Reddick had to suffer through during the season, but that would be a cop out. Remember, despite hitting 32 homers back in 2012, Reddick did strike out 151 times and boasted a pedestrian .242 batting average.
Defense Doesn't Make Up for Offense
Others will point to his Gold Glove defense in right field, and they would be correct. Reddick doesn't only possess a frozen rope out there, but he's also about as accurate as any outfielder in the game. In fact, I find myself cracking a bit of a smile when opponents attempt to run on him.
With that said, is his high strikeout rate and inability to hit the off-speed pitch worth throwing him out there simply because of elite defense? Right field has always been the least important position in baseball, but it's also an important power position on offense. If Reddick is unable to prove that he can rebound from what was a disastrous 2013 campaign, he could cost the A's multiple wins this upcoming season.
As to where Gentry might not add the pop at the plate, he fits Billy Beane's style of player. He has seen his on-base percentage increase in each of the last three seasons, topping out at .373 in 2013. For what it's worth, Reddick's on-base percentage was nearly 70 points less. Putting it in Moneyball terms, Gentry got on base 18 percent of the time more than Reddick in 2013.
Trade Value and Need
Then you have to look at what Reddick might be able to bring back in a trade and how a change of scenery may help him as a player. There aren't a whole lot of players who have hit 30 homers a year over the past two seasons. That number is in the low dozens. Reddick does bring a reasonable amount of pop to the table, which could make some team with a more hitter-friendly ballpark interested in his services.
Oakland has also been linked to Nelson Cruz this offseason. If Beane is serious about acquiring a power bat to put in the middle of the lineup, something that I am not sold Reddick is at this point, moving on from the former Gold Glove winner may be the best decision.
Vincent Frank has been a follower of the Oakland Athletics since the late 1980s and has written about the team on multiple sites, including SB Nation and eDraft. He attends games on a consistent basis and talks about the team on his weekly radio show.
- Sports & Recreation
- Oakland Athletics
- Josh Reddick
- Billy Beane