OAKLAND -- The A's parted with a pair of their biggest assets ahead of Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, dealing longtime right fielder Josh Reddick and left-handed starter Rich Hill to the Dodgers for three pitching prospects.
Oakland landed three right-handers from Los Angeles' farm system upon trading Hill and Reddick: Grant Holmes, now ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the A's No. 3 prospect, Frankie Montas (No. 11) and Jharel Cotton (16).
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The move reflects a push toward the future for the A's, who entered Monday's off-day in last place with the Angels in the American League West at 47-58. The club took a similar stance last year, trading starter Scott Kazmir, infielder Ben Zobrist and reliever Tyler Clippard for several young pieces, including starters Sean Manaea and Daniel Mengden.
"No team wants to be in this position at this time of year," A's general manager David Forst said. "We've obviously been on both sides, and this year we found ourselves in a similar position to a year ago. We put together a team in the offseason to compete. We took a shot at it, and we're faced with the reality of where we were in the standings. … We were faced with some decisions over the past couple weeks of which direction to go. This was not a typical decision because of Josh."
Reddick, 29, became an instant fan favorite upon his arrival in Oakland in 2012, totaling a career-high 32 home runs following his trade from the Red Sox and morphing into a stabilizing force in the middle of the lineup, also providing strong defense.
Both Reddick and Hill will be free agents at season's end. The A's attempted to come to terms with Reddick on a contract extension, but the two sides weren't able to reach a deal; at least during Spring Training, Oakland was willing to guarantee Reddick a deal of only three years, while he wanted four.
Reddick embraced his faithful following in right field and, "in a lot of ways," Forst said, he became "the face of the franchise over the past number of years."
"I can't say enough about Josh's time in an Oakland A's uniform," Forst said. "To that end, we have had discussions ongoing since the end of last year about whether or not there is a way for us to keep Josh here. ... At the end of the day, it was clear we were not going to be able to get to where they wanted to be from a contract standpoint. That was disappointing. I think it was genuinely disappointing to Josh, too. I fully appreciate how much he enjoyed being here and wanted to stay."
Forst also confirmed that the club had been in talks with Hill regarding an extension in recent weeks. The left-hander posted a 2.25 ERA in 14 starts for the A's this season but had totaled just 12 innings in the last two months because of a groin strain and, more recently, a blister on his left middle finger that has lingered for weeks. The veteran left-hander, signed by the A's to a one-year, $6 million deal this past offseason, was penciled in to return to the mound on Friday.
"This was not your typical buy-or-sell decision," Forst said. "We were at the point where both players were in demand and, ultimately, the package that we got from the Dodgers, we felt, had the best interest of the organization in mind. We got three pitchers we expect to be a big part of this organization for a long time to come. That was the decision we made."
Holmes, a first-round pick (22nd overall) in the 2014 Draft by the Dodgers, has posted a 3.61 ERA in 55 career Minor League appearances, including 52 starts. He's 8-4 with a 4.02 ERA in 20 games at the Class A Advanced level this season, having compiled 100 strikeouts in 105 1/3 innings.
Montas will be joining his fourth organization. After making his big league debut with the White Sox in 2015, he was dealt to the Dodgers at the end of the year as part of a three-team trade. The 23-year-old Dominican righty has a 2.25 ERA over 16 innings between the Double-A and Triple-A levels this season, but he's currently sidelined by a broken rib and isn't expected to pitch again this season.
Cotton, meanwhile, appeared in 22 games for Triple-A Oklahoma City this year, making 16 starts. He's 8-5 with a 4.90 ERA, having struck out 119 in 97 1/3 innings. He is expected to make his big league debut by season's end, Forst said.
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"You see the cycle and how these decisions impact the club year to year," Forst said. "As we hope to continue to compete every season, you have to make these decisions with an eye on next year.
"At no point were we looking to move players for the sake of dollars. That was not ever a directive. We also were not interested in moving players and throwing some sort of white flag for the rest of the season. ... We're not moving players for the sake of it. We're moving players because they'll impact the organization."