12:31pm: A’s general manager David Forst tells reporters (including John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group and CSNBayArea.com’s Joe Stiglich) that he hasn’t yet had a chance to speak to Reddick’s agent since the two sides have been playing “phone tag” due to travel and other assorted issues. At this point “it’s impossible to say” if an extension can be worked out before Opening Day, though Forst is happy to hear that Reddick wants to stay with the club.
10:59am: The Athletics have yet to engage Josh Reddick’s representatives in talks about a long-term extension, the outfielder told reporters (including Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle). Despite the lack of activity thus far, Reddick reiterated that he was still very interested in remaining with the team for years to come.
Both Reddick and Billy Beane expressed mutual interest in continuing the two sides’ relationship earlier in the offseason. It seemed like negotiations would begin once Reddick’s 2016 contract was finalized — he and the A’s avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $6.575MM deal for the coming season — in mid-January, though over a month has passed with no apparent progress. This isn’t necessarily a bad sign since many clubs wait until Spring Training to fully engage in extension talks. It does, however, create a shorter window to reach a new deal; Reddick, like most players wanting to avoid distractions, has stated that he doesn’t want negotiations to last into the season.
Reddick, who just turned 29 earlier this week, has hit .255/.317/.441 with 83 homers over the last five seasons (including a 32-homer outburst in 2012) and, except for last year, has posted excellent defensive metrics as a right fielder. With another solid season in 2016, Reddick will position himself for a very healthy free agent contract next winter, especially given the overall weakness of the 2016-17 free agent class. This could make it difficult for Oakland to lock Reddick up, particularly given the A’s have generally shied away from pricey extensions under Beane’s management. Reddick could have more value to the A’s in terms of the compensatory first-rounder he could net the team if he rejects a qualifying offer and signs elsewhere next offseason, or he could possibly be a midseason trade candidate if the Athletics aren’t in contention.