Sometimes when you sit down to write about a given topic, you know it is going to ruffle some feathers no matter how reasonable your stance might be. If you read the title, I think you should be able to tell exactly what I’m talking about. For those who have read my work here over the course of the last year, you know that I have been one of Josh Reddick‘s biggest critics. I tend to think the outburst of power we all witnessed from Reddick last season was something of a fluke, and that the performance we have witnessed in 2013 is much closer to the Reddick we can expect to see down the line. I took a closer look at Reddick’s struggles in 2013 a few weeks ago, and if you’re interested in seeing why I think he’s struggled check it out here. Many have been quick to blame his recurring wrist problems for his lack of offense, but his slump predates his injury so that argument is invalid.
Aug 18, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics center fielder Coco Crisp (4) and right fielder Josh Reddick (16) on the bench before the game against the Cleveland Indians at O.co Coliseum. Oakland won 7-3. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports
Nevertheless, Josh Reddick has developed a bit of a problem in his right wrist and it appears the chances are pretty good he will have to miss some time after this most recent incident. So the question now is, am I just taking this opportunity to let people know I don’t think Reddick is that good? No, that is not why I declare an injury to Josh Reddick as a blessing in disguise. The significance is a little bit more difficult to see. I also want to stress that I would never be happy about any player’s injury.
In the event Reddick does hit the DL, he won’t be replaced by the young stud outfielder Michael Choice, who appears to be completely ready for Major League competition. Instead his roster spot will likely go to the onetime stud prospect Daric Barton, he who has been designated for assignment almost as many times as Adam Rosales this year. Barton would take over the duties of Brandon Moss at first base, thus enabling Moss to return to his native right field. I’m not proclaiming that the combination of Barton at first and Moss in right would amount to a bigger aggregate offensive output, but the scenario does bring up an intriguing possibility.
I also discussed recently the virtues of adding a player like Justin Morneau or Adam Dunn to the fold to help bolster the recently inconsistent offense. This scenario with Reddick on the shelf, and Brandon Moss playing right field once again opens up the chance to add a bat like Morneau or Dunn. Previously, a move like that would have forced Bob Melvin to make the tough decision to bench Reddick in favor of more productive hitters. It’s quite likely that Melvin would not have wanted to do something like that considering the big boost the team got offensively and defensively from Reddick in 2012, and while the offense has dwindled in 2013 the defense has remained solid. Reddick being injured would spare Melvin having to make a controversial move that could disrupt the clubhouse. Of course the issue could come back up to the surface when Reddick was ready to return.
The point of all this is simple. This team is headed in the absolute wrong direction. While they still do hold a playoff spot, they do not look like a playoff caliber team right now. Chances are good that they will turn things around at some point and at the very least make a strong playoff push, but that is not guaranteed. Sitting back and simply waiting and hoping for a turnaround is not a winning strategy. The successful teams in sports don’t wait to be successful, they make themselves successful.