What’s Next for Josh Reddick After Signing a Minor League Dealby Carter LaCorte April 14, 2021 1 comment
Monday, April 12th was a pretty busy day. There were a ton of MLB, NBA, and NHL games, while the latter had their trade deadline. There was also social news in Minnesota, which had its impact on some sporting events. So, it is not surprising that some baseball news was seemingly swept under the rug. If you missed it, former World Series champion* Josh Reddick signed a minor league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Well, there is a reason for the asterisk next to the word “champion” in the past paragraph, and that was not an accident. Reddick was a part of the infamous 2017 Houston Astros, a team that participated in a sign-stealing scandal if you didn’t know that already. Judging Reddick’s career trajectory, that really had an impact on his career. His OPS in 2017 was .847, which is the best of Reddick’s career. At home, where the cheating took place, he had a .910 OPS and a .344 average, opposed to a still good .288 average and .790 OPS on the road. He was still productive in the two years afterward, with a .718 and .728 OPS, plus a combined 31 home runs. Reddick was still the starting right fielder for the Astros in their 2019 World Series run, and he was in their ALCS run last year. But that is where he started to derail.
The 2020 season was a rough one for not just Reddick, but most Astros hitters not named George Springer. He played in all but four regular-season games for Houston, and had a .693 OPS, with just four home runs. His great 12 percent strikeout rate in 2019 was raised to 20 percent, his worst in the Statcast era, or 2015 to the present day. Reddick also had a low 85.9 mph average exit velocity, with -5 outs above average in right. This was a big step down from the previous two seasons when Reddick combined for 10 OAA in right field. After the season, he was one of the few quality MLB players to never sign a contract with a Spring Training invite.
A chance for redemption
He may be a 12-year veteran, but Reddick just turned 34 this February. His hard-hit percentages over the last few years are not great, but Reddick had below-average exit velocity numbers when he excelled in 2017, so that should not be a major problem. A minor-league deal does not guarantee him much, but he can get a chance to prove himself at the Diamondbacks’ alternate training site, and eventually Triple-A.
For the Diamondbacks themselves, Reddick has won a Gold Glove before, albeit all the way back in 2012. If he does not give them any Major League value, it was at least worth a shot on a minor league contract. He has been an above-average player in the past, and Reddick is not too old yet.
Additionally, here is a tape of Reddick’s 2020 highlights for Arizona fans (Credit: Palmer on Pittsburgh on Youtube)
Reddick’s fit in Arizona
The Diamondbacks only have four players on their 40-man roster listed as outfielders, although they do have a ton of infielders who can move out. They also have a left-handed-hitting right fielder, in Kole Calhoun. Former first-round pick Pavin Smith is also a left-handed bat who can play right field, but his start in 2021 has been less than stellar, with a .560 OPS.
Arizona also has eight players listed as infielders on their active roster, with just three outfielders. Of those eight, many can play outfield, including Smith, Wyatt Mathisen, Josh VanMeter, and Josh Rojas. Only VanMeter has had a good start to the season of those four, and the Diamondbacks may want an experienced outfielder instead since they have so many infielders on the active roster. In steps Reddick, who could become the team’s new fourth outfielder.