It has been a rumor for a long time, even before the Chicago Cubs did their first big trade of the season, but I’m sure you have all seen the Josh Reddick talk floating around the internet and media. Well, here’s more to fuel the fire:
Sources: #Cubs are looking at Josh Reddick. Bat coming around after missing nearly 6 weeks with fractured thumb. Theo drafted him in Boston.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 21, 2016
Here’s a blurb from MLBTR about the appeal of Reddick:
Chicago is currently deploying Kris Bryant, Jason Heyward and Willson Contreras in the outfield with regularity, although Dexter Fowler will soon return, which could push Contreras back behind the plate and Bryant back to the hot corner more frequently. Reddick has long handled righties better than lefties and would provide a solid defensive option in the outfield. It’s a similar skill-set to that of Jason Heyward, though Reddick’s been the more productive of the two this season, slashing .301/.380/.445 in a season that’s been shortened by a fractured thumb. Reddick initially slumped upon activation from the DL, but he’s hit well more recently.
They’re absolutely right about the platoon split, as Reddick has demonstrated over his career and over the past two seasons that he does hit right-handed pitching better. Because Reddick is a free agent after this season, this makes him a pure rental and may drive the asking price from Billy Beane down a bit. Beane did try to maintain some leverage, though:
Trade of Reddick becomes more realistic if no agreement is reached. #Athletics also comfortable keeping him and giving him qualifying offer.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 26, 2016
This may seem like a redundancy given how crowded the Cubs’ outfield is, and if we consider that Dexter Fowler is back on Friday (most likely), plus the hope (and signs) that Jason Heyward is coming around with the bat, not to mention that Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist could play the outfield as well, then we can see that the Cubs have leverage of their own. As they showed in the trade for Mike Montgomery, they have contingency plans in place. Sadly, the bulk of the backup outfielders, like Matt Szczur, Willson Contreras, and Albert Almora, are right-handed hitters, so we can see why Reddick would continue to be appealing if only to give Joe Maddon more matchup options.
My best guess is that the Cubs will send over a prospect you’ve heard of but don’t really care too much about, like Billy McKinney, in order to get this done if they are indeed serious about it. As a bonus, we’ll probably get the best walk-up song of all time.