Outfielder Josh Reddick is ready to discuss an extension with the Athletics, John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group tweets. John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle further clarifies that there have not been any discussions to this point, and if the two sides do talk deal, Reddick does not want those discussions to continue into the season (Twitter links).
In October, Billy Beane told the media that he saw Reddick as a potential extension candidate. “Josh is a good player and he’s still young,” Beane told reporters, including the Chronicle’s Susan Slusser. “We’ve always liked having him here. Talented guy, does everything well. … We’re all very pleased with the year Josh had.”
Via Hickey, it sounds like Reddick wanted to settle his arbitration case before discussing a longer-term deal. Last week, Reddick and the A’s reached a $6.575MM deal for 2016, Reddick’s last season before free agency. That would mean a Reddick extension would begin with that as a starting point.
Beyond that, it’s hard to say what the parameters of a deal beyond that might be, although one player who signed a recent extension in a somewhat similar situation was the Yankees’ Brett Gardner. Gardner’s $52MM deal came before the 2014 season, when he was a year short of free agency, and covered 2015 through 2018. Gardner and Reddick have somewhat different profiles — Gardner was a bit older at the time of his extension than the soon-to-be-29-year-old Reddick is now, and he drew much of his value from his speed, his on-base percentage and his ability to play center field rather than his power. But the two players were, or are, both prime-age outfielders who are consistently valuable despite never having been superstars.
Of course, it’s unclear whether the cost-conscious Athletics would be willing to commit to a deal of that scope for Reddick. And given Reddick’s youth, the weakness of next year’s free agent market, ballooning salaries for free agents, and the increasing prevalence of player-friendly opt-outs, Reddick’s camp could also ask for a contract with a significantly different structure.
In any case, it’s easy to understand why the A’s would hope to keep Reddick at this point. He’s coming off perhaps his best offensive season to date (.272/.333/.449), and his play was a highlight of the Athletics’ otherwise disappointing 2015. Thanks to his home-run power, his solid defense, and dramatic improvements in his strikeout rate over the past several seasons, he has maintained his value well in his four years with the A’s, and given his age, there’s reason to think he could continue to do so.