Oakland Athletics: Reddick Injury Could Change Deadline Plans
Oakland Athletics outfielder Josh Reddick was having the season of his life, until a broken thumb landed him on the disabled list. Everyone is rooting for a speedy recovery for Reddick, but the injury adds more uncertainty to an already-shaky A’s future.
It all seemed so clear last week. Oakland Athletics slugger Josh Reddick was batting .322/.394./466 so far this season, posting the best numbers of his career. The A’s, meanwhile, were struggling to string two consecutive wins together, as their pitching staff gave up double-digit runs in game after game.
The solution was simple: deal Josh Reddick, pick up a couple of key prospects, and prepare for 2017 and beyond. But a thumb fracture is a serious injury, especially for a power hitter. His four to six week estimate is probably conservative, given that most sources say a fracture thumb should be immobilized in a cast for three to six weeks, and Reddick will need time to rehab and regain the strength in that hand before he can return to the lineup.
This likely puts his return date somewhere in mid to late July, which would be only a couple of weeks before the trade deadline. Other teams will likely be cautious in dealing too much for Reddick, given that his performance post-injury is not guaranteed.
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There isn’t a lot of readily-available information about fractured thumbs in major league players, because the thumb is not easily broken, so it’s a less common injury. The bones are thicker than most of the other hand bones, so it’s more likely that a player will sprain their thumb than actually fracture it. However, any type of thumb injury is concerning for baseball players. Yadier Molina hyperextended his thumb and was originally expected to miss 8-12 weeks, but has undergone a pair of surgeries to repair it. The thumb is vital for gripping anything, and in a sport where players must throw, catch and grip a bat, recovery can take a while.
Luckily for Reddick, he fractured his left thumb and throws with his right hand, so throwing will not be an issue. But after his fracture heals and he no longer needs to immobilize his thumb, he’ll still need to regain the strength in his hand before he can swing a bat.
It’s hard to imagine another team will still be willing to deal key prospects in exchange for three months of an outfielder who may or may not return to full strength before the postseason. That means the A’s will likely be forced to hang on to Reddick and make him a qualifying offer at the end of the season instead of dealing him at the deadline.
Of course, ultimately, Reddick’s healthy return is what the A’s should be most concerned about. He is slated to see a specialist who will provide more information about a timetable for his recovery. In the meantime, it’s safe to say that this will have a major impact on the A’s plans for the remainder of the season and beyond.