In what’s seemed like a great last couple of weeks for the currently streaking A’s, Josh Reddick may have dampened it. He also very may well have written himself a ticket to another ball club.
Despite the team going 12-6 over their last 18 games, the Oakland right fielder expressed some frustration in a pregame interview with broadcaster Ray Fosse, concerning his playing time. In a surprisingly aggressive, but honest tone, Reddick hinted at the idea that Billy Beane specifically has been trying to keep him out of the lineup against left-handed pitchers.
When Fosse asked him what aspects of lefties keep him on the bench, he flipped the question and targeted the GM: “I have no idea [what keeps me out of the lineup]. It doesn’t come from anywhere in this clubhouse. Everybody knows what situations our general manager puts up there. I couldn’t tell you what the difference is between me starting against one guy and not starting against another guy. … There’s probably so many numbers they could dig into their computers with and try to find one just to keep me out of the lineup.”
He continued by defending his manager and instead focused on pointing out Billy’s possible ‘control freak’ approach to running the franchise. “I know Bob’s in there fighting for me,” Reddick said. “The other day I was supposed to play against De La Rosa, and Bob texts me at around 1:30 and told me he had been ‘trumped,’ was the word he used. I understood right away. I know it’s not Bob. He’s fighting for me to be in there every night. It still frustrates me beyond belief when I don’t play … I wanna be in there helping my team no matter if a guy’s throwing right-handed, left-handed or center-handed. Whatever you wanna call it, I just want to be in there, be able to compete and help my team win.”
This spawns the question, is Josh Reddick’s gripe valid?
Despite the right fielder hitting .330 in 209 at-bats against right-handers and just .152 in 66 at-bats against left-handers (supporting a statistic-like approach as to if he should be starting or not) it is good to see a player wanting to compete and be in the lineup every single day. Especially since the possible All-Star candidate is hitting .287 with 11 home runs, and his 49 RBI’s rank third among all American League outfielders. However, one could also argue it’s because of Beane’s preferred ‘platoon system’ that Reddick has kept his statistics so high this season. So there are a couple things to keep in mind as to whether or not Billy Beane will use this outburst as an excuse to trade him.
1) His Contract
As many of you know, the biggest reason that Reddick has not been traded so far – like many Athletics that have come and gone before him – is because of the amount of money he makes. He’s currently earning a little over $4 million and is arbitration eligible for next season. This means not only is he under team control, but he’s cheap, two things that Beane likes from his players.
2) His Value
Although Reddick has been putting up solid numbers this season, he is a career .250 hitter who has been healthy for a whole season just once in his six-year career. In the lone season (2012) when he was healthy – he hit 32 HR’s and won a Gold Glove – he only hit .242. Based off the A’s ‘buy low, sell high’ philosophy, it wouldn’t be outrageous to think Reddick could get traded considering his past trends, that all point to this year being a ‘fluke.’
3) His Attitude
Reddick is the definition of a competitor and this was not the first time he has spoken out against management. When Josh Donaldson was traded (another sore subject), Reddick said publicly, “This doesn’t make sense to me. We just traded our best player the last 2 years.” He continued on saying he thought the trade was a sign the A’s were clearly in ‘rebuilding mode.’
The last point I made was really why Reddick’s comments yesterday were so perplexing to me. Winning cures everything and over the past two weeks, Oakland has been doing just that. Although the entirety of the season has been frustrating, the direction as of right now looks positive. Maybe he’s had enough, maybe not. Either way, here’s why I don’t think he will be traded before the trade deadline:
Beane won’t get a great enough return for him. At 28 years old and not having proved he can consistently stay on the field, no team is going to want to give up any impact players/prospects for him.
That plus the fact his production has also been inconsistent, Reddick wont be a hot commodity. If he were, we would have already heard about it. Plus the idea that Oakland’s GM will get rid of him because he spoke out is unrealistic. Billy Beane doesn’t give a damn what anyone thinks about him (player or otherwise), that’s what makes him Billy Beane. The only time he has traded a player for their character flaws was because they were a hindrance to the team, on and off the field. So far in his illustrious green and gold career, Reddick hasn’t done that. I’m sure if you ask around the clubhouse, he’s one of the best teammates bar none. Whatever kind of dispute the two have – if it’s even a big deal – they’ll work it out and by my estimation Josh Reddick won’t be going anywhere.
As many of you know in 2004, the all-time hits leader Pete Rose admitted after 15 long and dismissing years, that he did in fact bet on baseball, but he insisted it was only as a manager. Earlier this week, information revealed by Outside the Lines showed that Rose bet repeatedly on baseball towards the end of his career as a player-manager for the Cincinnati Reds. The reports specifically revealed that Rose placed bets on 30 different days regarding MLB games, 21 of those being placed on his Cincinnati Reds.
Caught red-handed, after constantly denying he bet on games as a player for the past 26 years, many believe that Rose should never be allowed into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. As John Dowd, the former federal prosecutor who led MLB’s investigation said, “This does it. This closes the door.”
I would argue differently.
To me, what Pete Rose did off the field should hold no consequence in terms of his induction into the ‘Baseball Hall of Fame,’ the reason being the first word there, ‘Baseball.’ The voters who decide which members of our National Pastime enter the halls of Cooperstown need to address their misguided sense of moral obligation. Who deserves to be a Hall of Famer? This is the question proposed, rather than the question I feel is similar, but more appropriate. Who should be a Hall of Famer? Differentiating deserves and should separates a players character flaws (which let’s be honest, everyone has) from their actual ability to play the game of baseball. Sure, Pete Rose off the field may not have brought much positive attention to himself, but in between the chalk, you’d be insane to think he’s anything but great. Not just the fact that he has more hits than anyone else – a record I personally don’t think will ever be broken – but he embodied the way one should play the game: Hard.
You cannot argue that he is one of the greatest players to ever put on cleats and that is where his Hall of Fame argument should end. This idea that Hall of Fame voters are only trying to put ‘clean’ guys in Cooperstown is simply unreasonable. In fact, the Hall already has ‘unclean’ guys inside, especially by today’s standards. Besides Ty Cobb, who always gets mentioned in this argument because of his sociopath-like attitude, there’s also a more glaring one. How about the long-time Red Sox and Indians Centerfielder, Tris Speaker who was implicated in a game-fixing scheme, which nowadays is more than a good enough reason to keep him out. Not to mention the rumor that both Cobb and Speaker were members of the Ku Klux Klan.
Plus, I can tell you right now that if Pete Rose put money down on the 1972 World Series when they played the Athletics, I wouldn’t blame him. That ’72 Reds offense was stacked and if not for an A’s pitching staff that held a cumulative 2.58 ERA to stifle Cincinnati’s firepower, they probably would’ve won. I get it’s about the deceit and dishonesty of his actions, but that had nothing to do with his approach to the game. If he ever threw a game, I would see him as guilty, but Rose was the toughest type of competitor. He would never give in on or off the field, which to me is an admirable quality.
Also, even NFL has a gambler amongst their Hall of Fame ranks. Former-MVP Paul Hornung was suspended from football in the early 60’s after he was found betting on NFL games. This was a guy who played for the Vince Lombardi Green Bay Packers who epitomized excellence and he tainted it. However, once he served his penance – a one-year ban – he came back and was eventually voted into the Hall of Fame in the class of 1986. If the NFL can get over it, why not the MLB?
Finally, the intention of the Hall of Fame voting committee to keep Rose out of his rightful place is, in essence, futile. The reason being The National Baseball Museum that rests side by side with the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. This museum is given the responsibility of holding the entire history of baseball, originally founded in 1869. Inside are memorabilia, murals, and most importantly, records. Pete Rose’s impact on the game lays within the Museum through his contribution to The Big Red Machine that tore up the 70’s along with his iconic #14 jersey. So to refuse Pete Rose admission to the Hall of Fame is just the voters denying the history of baseball one of its largest pieces.