As Major League Baseball's arbitration deadline passed January 17th, the Oakland A's locked up all of their eligible players except one: Josh Reddick. What happens next is anyone's guess.
There aren't too many options, though.
The two teams can work out an agreement before they head to arbitration court in February. If they can't, then an arbitration panel will choose Reddick's desired salary, or the Athletics' proposed salary.
A's beat writer John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group provides the salary exchange:
#Athletics, RF Josh Reddick likely to split difference on salary figures today. He 's asking $3.25 million; A's offering $2 million.— John Hickey (@JHickey3) January 18, 2014
If the two sides meet exactly in the middle, then Reddick will receive $2.625 million in 2014.
Since arriving on the big league scene in 2009, Reddick has played a full season just once. He's also only hit above .250 just one time as well, and that was in 87 games with the Boston Red Sox in 2011. Looking at the two seasons he's played in Oakland, he averages 135 games and a .236 batting average. But when he's healthy and hitting, he brings quite a bit of power to the lineup.
But that's just offensive contributions.
Reddick has provided a ton of highlight-worthy plays in the last two seasons. It was in his first year with the A's that he won a Gold Glove, lest we forget.
So what do you pay a guy who plays phenomenal defense but hasn't hit particularly well outside of one season?
Looking at his Baseball-Reference.com page, Reddick compares closely to guys like John Mayberry Jr., Brennan Boesch, Logan Morrison and Domonic Brown.
Mayberry avoided arbitration this year by signing a one-year, $1.5875 million contract. Boesch signed a $2.3 million deal. Morrison heads to arbitration as well, seeking $2.5 million according to Greg Johns of MLB.com.
Based on that, it's difficult to see Reddick winning his desired $3.25 million deal.
Then again, none of those guys have a Gold Glove. However, Boesch was in the running for Rookie of the Year in his first season, and Brown was an All-Star in 2013.
Here, the middle ground ($2.625 million) actually makes perfect sense.
Oakland A's blogger Chris Kusiolek tweeted that the two parties were to reach an agreement shortly after deadline day:
Sources tell me the A's and Josh Reddick have agreed on a one year deal, avoiding arbitration. Officially announced later today.— Chris Kusiolek (@Oak_AllDay) January 18, 2014
That didn't come to fruition as of Jan. 19, but if there are murmurs already, the chances this deal is done before the case makes its way to arbitration are high. It's been quite some time since the A's and a player went before the arbitration panel.
Fans, meanwhile, seem to be in agreement with Oakland.
Josh reddick, you can ask for more money if you hit your weight. But right now, you deserve to make the same money as Travis buck.— Chao (@Sharkfan20) January 18, 2014
Late reaction here but Josh Reddick asked for 3.25 mil? Lol!!!!— Allison Barnard (@southpaw1522) January 18, 2014
I like that the A's lowballed Josh Reddick. Good stuff— Coasterfreek (@coasterfreek) January 18, 2014
To be fair, the player does have his supporters:
Don't run on Reddick Oakland! “@JeffPassan: Josh Reddick asks for $3.25M from the A's. Team offers $2M.”— Nathan Larsen (@njlars) January 18, 2014
“@JeffPassan: Josh Reddick asks for $3.25M from the A's. Team offers $2M.” Come on Oakland!!— Adrienne (@longballgirl) January 18, 2014
Of the two options presented, Oakland's right fielder is more likely to be overpaid than underpaid, so the $3.25 million is more plausible than $2 million. But that's if it even gets to that point, which it shouldn't.
Josh Reddick will make $2.625 million in 2014.
If the number deviates, it will be upward, not downward, but it won't go higher than $3 million. That you can take to the bank.