MESA, Ariz. – Right fielder Josh Reddick remains hopeful of signing a long-term contract extension with the A’s before spring training ends, but there’s been little progress between the two sides so far.
Reddick arrived to A’s camp Tuesday following a three-day drive from his home in Georgia, a trek he makes annually to begin his season. He was greeted warmly at his locker by teammate Sonny Gray and others. Reddick is beginning his fifth season with Oakland, making him one of the few “name” veterans to grow roots with the A’s over the past several years.
He said he’d love to wear green and gold longer by way of a contract extension, which the A’s also have expressed interest in. Asked whether any progress has been made on a deal, Reddick responded:
“Nothing yet, still waiting. …. There’s still no numbers being thrown around.”
He maintained his stance that he doesn’t want negotiations to extend past spring training. He’s scheduled to hit free agency come next winter, meaning the A’s run the risk of losing him to the open market if a deal isn’t struck during the spring.
“I don’t want to come in here and distract my teammates as well as myself after the season starts,” Reddick said.
A’s general manager David Forst said he and Reddick’s agents – Sam and Seth Levinson – decided earlier this winter to hold off on extension talks until after a one-year deal was hammered out since arbitration deadlines were looming. Reddick agreed to a $6.575 million deal for 2016, but the sides haven’t been able to sit down and talk hard details yet on a multi-year contract.
[STIGLICH: Manfred: A's hunt for stadium site 'local issue']
“We effectively have played phone tag,” Forst said. … “I know Josh has stated his deadline. That’s his decision, that’s not ours. But it’s something we’re interested in discussing. Josh has been an important part of this organization. He’s been here for four years now. He’s been part of some very successful teams.”
Asked if he thinks it’s possible to complete a deal by the end of the spring, Forst said: “It’s impossible to say.”
He did point out the A’s are open to negotiating during the regular season. Mark Kotsay, now the A’s bench coach, is one Athletic who signed a multi-year extension during the season.
Reddick, who just turned 29 a few days ago, is coming off a nice season, hitting .272 with a team-high 20 home runs and 77 RBI in 149 games. He won a Gold Glove in 2012, and despite an off-year throwing out base runners in 2015, still is considered one of the American League’s top corner outfielders.
He could score next offseason were he to join a free-agent class that’s not considered nearly as strong as this past winter’s. Given his relative young age and track record, a ballpark estimate could see Reddick commanding a four-year deal in the neighborhood of $50 million or more.
“Obviously it has to be the right number and show what I’m worth,” Reddick said. “But yes, I’m definitely very interested.”
A’s manager Bob Melvin said it was a good sign just to see an established player want to remain with the team. The common narrative is the A’s trading away their fan-favorite players, or seeing free agents leave for bigger money elsewhere.
“Coco’s been here a while too,” Melvin said. “There aren’t many of them, but when you have guys that really want to be here it’s nice to see. … Hopefully we can get something done.”
[RELATED: 2016 spring training]
On another note, Reddick said he began throwing earlier this offseason in hopes of avoiding some right shoulder problems that affected his throwing last year. His shoulder began bothering him early in the season but he says it got worse after the All-Star break.
“I think it didn’t affect my strength, it affected my accuracy a little more,” he said. “I changed my release point, I feel like I was letting the ball go a little too early sometimes. That was a big factor for me.”
As for his offseason, Reddick was proud of the work his foundation did to raise money for local agencies in Effingham County, Ga., where he grew up. Through a concert, a home run derby and other events, the Josh Reddick Foundation raised approximately $50,000 for local fire departments, police departments, an animal shelter and a local recreation center, among other organizations.
Reddick’s cross-country drive to Arizona included a stop in Atlanta to see a Travis Tritt acoustic concert and two more stops in Texas and New Mexico.
Now the question is whether Oakland becomes his long-term stop.