Speaking of players who are in abysmal slumps—Josh Reddick!
What began as a non-concern has turned into a complete nonplus for the Athletics. Many players start the season slowly, but Reddick’s 3-for-29 opening to the 2014 campaign is indeed a major issue.
Partly because it’s impossible to understand what is “wrong” with Reddick at the plate. Mostly because Reddick’s poor performance becomes an asterisk in how the A’s evaluate their roster with it comes to playing time.
Outfielder Craig Gentry has been cleared to come off the disabled list, having been sidelined with a back strain since the beginning of spring training. At the time, Oakland anticipated Gentry would be the team’s fourth outfielder rotating time with Reddick, Coco Crisp and Yoenis Cespedes.
And when the A’s added outfielder Sam Fuld to the Opening Day roster to serve as Gentry’s fill-in, it seemed predictable when Gentry was healthy again to rejoin the team, Fuld would be the odd man out.
And yet, with Reddick’s slump, Fuld is back in the fold. Fuld’s omnipresence on the field has been invaluable for the A’s, making the decision to release him (Fuld is out of options and would have to pass through waivers for Oakland to retain him) all the more difficult.
Would the A’s really send Reddick down to Triple-A when Gentry is activated from the DL? Should they demote Reddick?
Sure. What the heck, why not?
It’s been made clear in just a couple of weeks Fuld can play defense as well as Reddick. Sounds impossible, but it’s somewhat true (Fuld already has two outfield assists).
Meanwhile, at the plate, Fuld has accumulated two triples and a home run in six games, with a .482 slugging percentage (compared to Reddick’s .103).
Yes, Fuld isn’t exactly a league-wide terror. It’d be a slam-dunk decision to demote Reddick if Fuld was hitting .300 with three homers. But Reddick could use a refresh in Sacramento, regardless.
In Wednesday’s game, Reddick struck out four times and added a double-play groundout, an ego-bruising game for anyone, but a confidence-drainer for a player in the kind of slump Reddick is in.
He has 13 strikeouts in 29 at-bats and only two walks, evidence he simply has no control of the strike zone right now.
For all of his rascality and personality, Reddick is best served to either be the fourth or platooning outfielder that Gentry was intended to be, or simply take a staycation in the state’s capital for a few weeks.