By Joe Dattoli, from Cardsblog.com
In a perfect world, the Cardinals would just pick up Yoenis Cespedes with a multi-year nine-figure deal and all would be happily ever after. However, the odds of the Cardinals spending that big in the free agent market sits relatively low. So moving on from Cespedes, there is one person in this free agent market that is not getting talked about at all. Additionally, he would fit the Cardinals needs fairly well. Josh Reddick deserves to at least be considered for Cardinal outfield duties.
First, Josh Reddick can hit and there is no doubt about it.
Lets start with the last half of this season. Admittedly, Reddick did not perform well after he arrived to the Dodgers. He was only able to log 8 extra base hits (including only 2 HR) in 155 ABs but managed to hit .260 with an OBP of .307 in that span. If his whole season went this route, then I would be skeptical about signing him as well. However, if you look at the performance before he was traded, then the image becomes clearer.
His slash line up until the moment of the trade was .296/.368/.449. Also in that span, he owned a 122 WRC+, so Reddick was no slouch at the plate. The dip in performance at the end can be attributed to the change of scenery which is a risk with trades.
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Looking at each year since 2013, he numbers have steadily improved each season and are projected to follow that trend still. I know projections are not a fool proof way to determine who to sign, but they are useful tools for the purpose of speculation which is perfect in this case.
Steamer projects his average and OBP to sit at .271 and .337 which would benefit the Cardinals greatly. Along with 19 HR and a projected oWAR of 7.3, Reddick definitely fits the Cardinals offense.
Defensive alignment is the only downside to Reddick.
Josh Reddick will not dazzle you with his defense, but he plays his spot well. He has a career ultimate zone rating of 11.1 which essentially means he knows what he is doing out there. He also makes the routine play (estimated 90-100% chance of making play) and the likely(60-90%) plays 98.9% and 90.6% of the time. Day after day, he plays good defense and will continue to do just that.
The only problem lies with where in the outfield he plays. John Mozeliak made it clear that the ideal option would be a center fielder in order to move Randal Grichuk to left field. Josh Reddick will not play center field. This move would not allow the Cardinals to move Grichuk. However, Grichuk can play a decent center and will get better with more experience there.
Well what should the Cardinals give him?
The Cardinals currently have a few minor league OFs that have ETAs in either 2017 or 2018. Now that does not mean that they are ready for everyday play that year, but only call ups. Odds are, non of them will be ready to take on a full time job until at least 2019. Therefore, we would need Reddick until that year at least, so a minimum of 2 years. Considering a slow development, I would offer a 4-year deal. Now how much money?
In 2016, Reddick earned $6.5 million, really low for a person of his talent. He will definitely get offers well over $50 million, so the perfect amount for a 4-year deal would be at $11 million a year. In order to sweeten the deal for Reddick, the Cardinals could add either a mutual option or a player option for the fifth year. All in all, I believe that if the Cardinals sign him, they would benefit greatly. On the less analytical side, Reddick was a huge fan favorite in Oakland which couldn't hurt.
After just one season on the north side of Chicago, it's already easy to see that Cardinals GM John Mozeliak and the rest of the front office lucked into making the right move, one that could actually save the franchise for the foreseeable future.