The Athletics and right fielder Josh Reddick have not restarted contract talks, thereby increasing the likelihood of a trade by the Aug. 1 deadline, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The A’s offered Reddick a three-year, $36MM contract extension during the spring, but his camp countered with $56MM over four years and might have been amenable to $50MM to $52MM, according to Slusser. As of now, Oakland is unwilling to give a four-year commitment to Reddick, who will turn 30 next February.
In the event the out-of-contention A’s do shop Reddick prior to the deadline, there should be no shortage of interest in the left-handed hitter. The Bay Area-rival Giants, Cubs, Dodgers, Blue Jays and Nationals are among the potentially playoff-bound clubs that have scouted Reddick, but the defending World Series champion Royals are following him the closest, per Slusser.
The 45-42 Royals, who are seven games behind AL Central-leading Cleveland and 3.5 out of the Wild Card, entered Saturday ranked 26th in the majors in runs scored (342) and tied for 19th in wRC+ (92). They’ve primarily relied on Paulo Orlando and Brett Eibner in right field, and both have posted above-average batting lines this year across a combined 264 plate appearances. Their track records fall well short of Reddick’s, however, so replacing them with Reddick and getting standout center fielder Lorenzo Cain back from a hamstring injury to team with left fielder Alex Gordon would give Kansas City an enviable trio of starting outfielders on paper.
Dating back to his first year in Oakland, 2012, Reddick has hit a solid .255/.320/.437 with 81 home runs in 2,300 plate appearances. Reddick has also graded out well on the base paths and (for the most part) defensively throughout his time with the A’s, though Ultimate Zone Rating has assigned him negative marks in the field going back to last season. A broken thumb suffered in May kept Reddick out of a large chunk of games earlier this year, but he returned late last month. Overall, he owns a .296/.371/.429 line with five homers and nearly as many walks (23) as strikeouts (25) in 213 trips to the plate this season.
It’s important to note that the A’s don’t necessarily have to trade Reddick, to whom they could extend a qualifying offer after the season ends. The A’s would then receive a first-round pick as compensation if he declines the QO – which should be worth in the $16MM to $17MM neighborhood – though they seem likely to land more enticing assets via trade from an outfielder-needy contender. Reddick is on an affordable $6.575MM salary this year, which could help to drive up the A’s potential asking price for him as Aug. 1 approaches.