Josh Reddick is woven deeply into the fabric of recent A’s history, whether delivering a highlight reel catch in right field or a postgame pie to the face of a teammate.
On Monday, the right fielder became the latest in a long line of name-recognition players shipped out of Oakland. A’s general manager David Forst said the deadline-day swap that sent Reddick and lefty Rich Hill to the Dodgers cut a little deeper on a sentimental level, simply because of what Reddick has meant to the A’s since arriving in 2012.
“This was not a typical decision, because of Josh,” Forst said on a media conference call. “… In many ways, he has been the face of the franchise. He really connected with fans and everyone who works here, and I can’t say enough about Josh’s time in an A’s uniform.”
Roughly three hours before Monday’s 1 p.m. deadline, the A’s completed a deal that sent Hill and Reddick to Los Angeles in exchange for three promising right-handed pitching prospects — Grant Holmes, Frankie Montas and Jharel Cotton. All three were ranked among Los Angeles’ top 10 prospects as ranked by Baseball America.
With the A’s (47-58) buried 11 games out of the second Wild Card spot, the A’s decided to ship off their two most enticing veterans in an effort to stockpile more young pitching in light of the injuries that have decimated this year’s rotation.
“No team wants to be in this position this time of year,” Forst said. “We’ve been on both sides of it, and we find ourselves in a similar position to where we were a year ago, putting together a team (believed ready) to compete and faced with the reality of where we are in the standings.
“… Ultimately, the package we got from the Dodgers we felt had the best interest of the organization in mind. And we got three pitchers we expect to be a big part of this organization for a long time to come.”
Hill, a journeyman signed in the offseason to a one-year $6 million, went 9-3 with a 2.25 ERA during his four months wearing green and gold. He was viewed as one of the best starting pitchers available despite a lingering blister issue that currently had him on the A’s disabled list.
“Frankly, he made us look smart every time he went out there,” Forst said.
In Reddick, 29, the A’s had a player who hit 32 homers and won a Gold Gold in 2012, his first crack at being a full-time starter in the bigs. Injuries sidetracked him greatly over the next two seasons, but since last season he’d shown great maturation at the plate and solidified himself as Oakland’s No. 3 hitter. Beyond that, he became a fan favorite, bonding with fans in right field, serving as emcee of the A’s walk-off celebrations and periodically walking to the plate to the quirky walk-up tune of “Careless Whisper” by Wham.
Reddick was one of just three players on the A’s current 40-man roster who were part of the 2012 team that made the memorable final-week rush to a division title, ushering in three consecutive postseason appearances. Reliever Sean Doolittle and outfielder Coco Crisp are the others (infielder Eric Sogard and right-hander Jarrod Parker are still with the team but on the 60-day DL).
“I think when you look at all the good things we’ve accomplished in time (in recent years), he’s been right at the center of it,” Doolittle said. “He embodies what that team was all about. It’s going to take some getting used to, not having him around.”
Negotiations on a contract extension with Reddick’s agent, Seth Levinson, didn’t bear fruit over the past several months. Reddick’s camp reportedly wanted a four-year deal, with the A’s not willing to go past three.
“At the end of the day, it was clear we were not going to be able to get to where they wanted to be on a contract, and that was disappointing,” Forst said. “I think it was disappointing for Josh too.”