I recently discussed reasons why the Oakland A’s should keep veteran starting pitcher Rich Hill around, despite the left-hander’s age and the limited number of good starting pitchers on the trade market this year.
With a plethora of teams in desperate need of starting pitching in order to take their season into October, Hill could easily bring in a good return, such as a contending team’s top prospect or prospects.
However, as noted, it appears to be in the A’s best interest to try and work out an extension with Hill. He appears to want to remain with the Athletics, and they have a much better chance of negotiating with him than with their other main trade chip, right fielder Josh Reddick.
Reddick is just 29 years old. He’s won a Gold Glove for his solid defense and has proven that he can hit 30 home runs in a single season. He was hampered for two seasons with a wrist injury he suffered sliding into the right field wall, but has no lingering, long-term injuries.
Reddick is also not exactly prepared to truly negotiate a contract extension with the A’s. The two parties are simply not on the same page. Reddick wanted to have a contract extension finished by the end of spring training if there was going to be one, but that didn’t happen.
The A’s and Reddick’s representatives have had conversations, but Reddick is looking for at least a four-year deal worth approximately $15 million per season. The A’s are offering a three-year deal worth $30 million. That’s a pretty large difference and neither side appears to be willing to give in.
Plus, there is the fact that Reddick will be a free agent at the season’s end. The market for outfielders in free agency will be small, and Reddick will be one of the top players that teams will compete for, meaning he’ll likely get a contract that is more lucrative than what he is asking the Athletics for.
The A’s will likely be able to get a big return for Reddick. They’re not necessarily looking for big league players, as they have been grooming Matt Olson, a minor league first baseman-turned-right fielder, to be Reddick’s potential replacement.
Prior to spring training, Olson had not played in the outfield, but he’s spent the majority of his time this season with the A’s Triple-A affiliate Nashville Sounds playing in right field. He doesn’t bring quite the bat Reddick has, but will be a suitable enough replacement for Reddick.
Reddick is likely to bring in a top-ten prospect plus some lower level prospects to the A’s organization once a trade is made.
The Athletics have many shortstops in their farm system so, for example, the Royals’ number-one prospect Raul Mondesi — who plays shortstop and second base — probably wouldn’t fit the bill.
However, the A’s system is short on catchers, so their number-11 prospect Chase Vallot might catch the A’s eye, as would any of the pitchers, especially number-two prospect, right-hander Kyle Zimmer, or even the Royals’ number-seven prospect, outfielder Bubba Starling.
The scenario described would likely be the same for any team scouting Reddick right now. The A’s will likely want at least one top-ten prospect and probably one or two lower level prospects that they see potential in.
Since the A’s and Reddick cannot seem to come to an agreement on an extension, and Reddick will be a free agent at the end of the season, the right thing to do would be to trade him, and trade him now.
The only other option is to offer Reddick a one-year qualifying offer this winter, which he will likely turn down. If he were to turn it down and sign elsewhere, which would be the most likely scenario, the Athletics will get a draft pick.
Yet it would be so much better to be able to negotiate with interested teams and potentially get much more than just a draft pick. As upset as it may make the fans, the time to shop Josh Reddick is now.
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