This season, MLB’s trade deadline is Aug. 31—could the Houston Astros deal Josh Reddick? Here are three reasons why they should. Let’s take a look.
Slightly over the halfway point of the season, the Houston Astros stand at 17-14, good for the sixth-best record in the American League, and the 11th best record in the majors. The ball club’s winning percentage suggests the team remains on track for a postseason appearance. However, the 14 losses may come across as disappointing to Houston fans who just last season saw the Houston Astros achieve the best regular-season record in baseball.
As the front office strategizes by weighing potential trade deals to make the 2020 Houston Astros more competitive, an elephant in the room takes center stage. Namely, Josh Reddick, an unrestricted free agent after the 2020 season, has something almost every other Houston Astro doesn’t—a .275-plus batting average.
Meanwhile, fellow corner outfielder Kyle Tucker’s playing time and stats show that the 23-year-old has become integral to the Astros’ offense. Through 30 games, Kyle Tucker holds a two-player tie—with you guessed it, Reddick—for third place on the team with 28 hits on the season.
Tucker’s .262 batting average ranks fourth-best among Houston Astros who feature at least 100 at-bats. Additionally, the left-handed hitter’s .625 slugging percentage, and five triples, lead all Houston Astros by a substantial margin. When it comes to RBI production, Tucker also leads the Astros, having notched 23. Moreover, the 6-4 outfielder leads all Astros with 25 runs scored on the season and ranks in second place on the ball club with four steals.
So, could the Astros deal Josh Reddick before the trade deadline? It remains possible, and here are three reasons why.
Reason one: Reddick’s brand is good for business
First of all, Reddick not only has a knack for fan acceptance—insert woo sound wave here—but has been steadily regarded as a great teammate, and a caring human being. For the better part of the last decade, Reddick has visited children in schools and hospitals, donated to students’ academic scholarships, and financially supported first responders as well as animal shelters. Translation—he’s a great character fit for any MLB team’s brand.
Reason two: Players want to play
Serving as a second reason Reddick could be dealt at the deadline, the writing appears on the wall.
Reddick has played in 30 of 31 contests for the Astros this season—which may mean he is a happy camper with his current role. However, based on the competitor that Reddick is, the 33-year-old outfielder would likely expect to receive a starter’s playing time on any team he suits up for in 2021. And with Tucker’s offensive output, Reddick’s playing time in Houston faces a legitimate threat.
Additionally, from a cost standpoint, with a potential Michael Brantley and George Springer outfield returning in 2021, the only area that the Astros can afford to save on outfield payroll is with Tucker, who does not become an unrestricted free agent until 2026.
Reason three: Reddick’s 2020 production
Third, and perhaps most pressing at the moment, Reddick’s bat has been relatively hot. While the
left-handed hitter’s performance last season seemed to digress and remained continually overshadowed by fellow teammate and corner outfielder Michael Brantley’s sensational offensive production, 2020 has told a different story. Chiefly, with Brantley spending a significant portion of the season on the injured list, Reddick has not only received ample playing time but has served as a brighter spot in the 2020 Astros’ everyday lineup.
Reddick is tied for first place on the team with nine doubles, ranks fifth in total bases, and possesses the fourth-highest on-base percentage of any Astro who has played at least 20 games this season.
You might be thinking, Okay, Reddick has not proved to be the weakest link in the Astros’ everyday offense, so what? He’s not exactly putting up Mike Trout-type numbers. I understand.
However, my gut tells me Reddick would agree to go now and try a new team out as a rental player because, at the end of the season, he’s likely out of playing time as an Astro.
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Meanwhile, in return, the Astros need depth for a shortened season playoff run, and Reddick’s stock as a hard-throwing veteran outfielder with World Series experience may not get any higher than it is right now. That’s not to say the Astros will move him, but the situation is just right for Reddick and the Astros to agree to part ways as friends before September baseball commences.