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The Case for Josh Reddick 

Yesterday, Glen Miller of The Friairhood wrote about the Padres search for a left-handed bat. He suggested that we dip into the free agent pool this off-season and trade away one of our highest paid players to help clear room on the payroll. Miller’s plan is well thought out, however, I believe the Padres should take a different approach this winter, and instead should look for a left-handed bat through the trade market. Here are my thoughts on the matter:

So far this off-season, the Padres have kept themselves on the down low in the free agent market and in trade talks. Early on, they were reported to have interest in Angels 1B/OF Mark Trumbo, but nothing ever developed. Minus speculation, the Padres haven’t been connected to much else since. However, thanks to ESPN’s Jim Bowden, we know what Padres GM Josh Byrnes believes are the team’s biggest needs heading into 2014:  1) LH Reliever 2) LH Bat 3) Better Health 4) General Up-Grades. 

A left-handed reliever is an obvious need after Joe Thatcher was traded last summer to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a deal for right-handed starter Ian Kennedy. Number two on Byrnes’ off-season wish list might not be so obvious to some however: “A left-handed hitter? But we have guys like Alonso and Venable, and switch-hitters like Headley, Cabrera, and Grandal.” Most of those players missed some time in 2013 with injuries and/or suspensions, but the bottom line is the Padres batted .241 against right-handed pitchers last season. Better than only five other MLB teams: the Cubs, Twins, Mets, Astros, and Marlins.

The Padres aren’t expected to be very active in free agency this winter, so if they want to seriously address their need for a left-handed bat, it will likely be through a trade. When I think about a young talented left-handed hitter, I think about OFs Jay Bruce, Carlos Gonzalez, Bryce Harper, and Jason Heyward, but to be more realistic, a player that makes a lot of sense is Athletics OF Josh Reddick.

First off, Reddick is still pretty young (turns 27 next February), and secondly, according to Edward Creech of MLBTradeRumors.com, Reddick should make about $2.2MM next year through arbitration, which the Padres can easily afford. Now, what can we expect from him on the field though?

For those who don’t know, Reddick was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 2006 and spent parts of three season with them from 2009-2011 before being traded to the Athletics where he earned the starting right field job in 2012. That season, he played in 156 games and posted a .242/.305/.463 slash line with 85 runs scored, 32 home runs, 85 runs batted in, and 155 strikeouts. Even with a low batting average and on-base percentage and a high strikeout rate, he is still a threat at the plate because of his surprise pop, and he is also an asset in the outfield (2012 Gold Glover). He’s listed at about 6’2″, 180 lbs, and while he doesn’t have the physical presence of a Giancarlo Stanton, he has got some serious pull power which could bode well at Petco Park with the new “Jack Deck” in right field. According to Baseball-Reference.com, 50 of Reddick’s career 54 home runs were hit to the right side (40 to right field and 10 to right-center). 

So lets look at the pros and cons list:
Pros:
– Age
– Salary
– Power
– Defense
Cons:
– Batting Average
– On-base Percentage
– Strikeouts

Health is a “?” right now because he didn’t get an opportunity to be an everyday starter until 2012 where he showed he was very durable. However, in 2013, he injured his wrist a couple times and played in only 114 games. He had surgery after the season and is expected to be ready for spring training. 

The “Jack Deck” could do wonders for Reddick just like it did for Will Venable last season. I hope Byrnes and/or President and CEO Mike Dee (pictured above) are on the phones trying to get something done. Reddick just seems like a great fit for the Padres. Enough of what I think though. What are your thoughts about Reddick as a possible acquisition this off-season?

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About the author: Brad Beattie

San Diego born and raised. Love the Padres, the Chargers, and all things (for the most part) San Diego. Will continue to follow San Diego sports through both the ups and down, and I hope to hear your opinions as you follow them too.