Two key players in this year’s World Series – Josh Reddick for the Houston Astros and Sean Doolittle for the Washington Nationals – were Oakland Athletics during their last run of playoff appearances and their departures helped set up the A’s current success.
Almost every year, you can watch the World Series and see a litany of former Oakland Athletics making a difference. This year is no different, as Sean Doolittle has already held on for a stressful four-out save in game one to help the Washington Nationals take a 1-0 lead.
Doolittle is one of four A’s alumni in this series, along with Astros’ outfielder Josh Reddick, Nats catcher Kurt Suzuki and 42-year-old Nats reliever Fernando Rodney.
Doolittle and Reddick were key contributors on the A’s playoff teams in 2012-14, with Doolittle coming up in Oakland’s farm system, where he was converted from a first baseman and outfielder into a pitcher. Suzuki was drafted by the A’s and was a steady force behind the plate during a time of turmoil for the franchise, and Rodney was a short-term member of the team for the second half of the 2018 season and the first two months of the 2019 season.
But the biggest contributions from these players might be how their trades helped build the formidable and exciting roster for the A’s now.
Athletics brass traded Josh Reddick, along with Rich Hill, to the Dodgers in 2016 for a package of Jharrel Cotton – still a 27-year-old pitcher in the A’s farm system – former first-round pick Grant Holmes – still only 23 and in AAA – and Frankie Montas. Montas features to be apart of the dangerous staff of A.J. Puk, Jesus Luzardo (who we will discuss in a second), Sean Manaea and Mike Fiers next season, and was the A’s no. 1 starter this year before an 80-game suspension for PEDs derailed his season. Holmes and Cotton have promise as future pieces, whether it be to trade for another player during a pennant chase or as a contributor.
Reddick eventually signed a $52 million deal with the Astros, with whom he won the World Series in 2017.
One year later, Doolittle, who is still beloved by A’s fans, was traded to the Nationals for a package of Blake Treinen (who picked up some Cy Young and MVP votes in 2018), Sheldon Neuse and Jesus Luzardo, who at the time was a 19-year-old pitching prospect still in Class A. Luzardo and Neuse debuted for the A’s this season, and look to be essential parts of the A’s future, with Luzardo pitching big innings in the AL Wild Card Game this season.
Doolittle and Reddick were great as A’s, but their most important contributions are undoubtedly what they turned into for the Oakland Athletics.