A multi-part Around the Horn series, which features a position-by-position look at Oakland's projected starters and backup options heading into the season, turns its focus to right field after covering catcher, first base, second base, shortstop, third base and designated hitter. Who's in right field? Josh Reddick is back in
A multi-part Around the Horn series, which features a position-by-position look at Oakland's projected starters and backup options heading into the season, turns its focus to right field after covering catcher, first base, second base, shortstop, third base and designated hitter.
Who's in right field?
Josh Reddick is back in familiar territory, holding down the fort in right field. The fan favorite has been roaming these grounds since joining the organization following the 2011 season, and he could potentially remain there in the long term. Reddick and the A's recently reached a $6.575 million deal for 2016, the outfielder's last season before free agency, and the two parties are expected to engage in extension talks shortly.
Reddick, who will be 29 at season's start, has publicly stated his desire to stay in Oakland. Just earlier this week, while speaking at FanFest, he reiterated as much, but he also noted he'd prefer the negotiation process not to outlast Spring Training. A replica performance of his 2015 season would only drive up his price by the time he hits free agency, should he reach that point.
Reddick is coming off perhaps his best offensive season to date, not to mention his healthiest in some time. He totaled 20 home runs and 77 RBIs in 582 plate appearances in 2015, hitting .272 with a career-high .333 on-base percentage.
Reddick improved his plate discipline along the way, striking out just 65 times for an average of 8.95 plate appearances per strikeout -- good for the seventh-best mark in the American League. Overall, he proved to be a highlight of the A's otherwise disappointing 2015 season.
While Reddick's defense was measured around average by most advanced fielding metrics, the former Gold Glove Award winner is still considered one of the best at his position, routinely making the not-so-routine plays with ease. His arm also remains one of his biggest strengths.
The A's have a slew of outfielders vying for a roster spot, many of them seen as strong fill-in options for the oft-injured Coco Crisp in left field: Mark Canha, Jake Smolinski, Sam Fuld and Andrew Lambo. All four also have experience in right field and could see time there at any point in the season when Reddick's not in the lineup.
Down on the farm, keep an eye on Matt Olson, ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the club's No. 2 prospect. Olson will be back in Spring Training this year as a non-roster invitee and is likely primed to begin his first season at the Triple-A level thereafter. The power-hitting Olson was drafted as a first baseman but saw extended time in the outfield in Double-A Midland last year, making 59 starts in right field while showcasing above-average arm strength.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com.