First of all, I'd just like to say sorry to paris7 for screwing up on the Giants' GOG; I'll do my best not to mess up next time!
In 2006, the Oakland A's signed Frank Thomas, an aging veteran to a deal in hope that he would bring success and experience to a young Oakland team. The haters came out in full force - "Old men can't hit!" - and it seemed that Thomas would be almost similar to David Justice in 2002; a veteran who can't hit.
Well, we all know what happened: Thomas hit 39 homeruns and finished in the Top 5 in MVP voting, and the A's went to the postseason for the first time since 2003. Lucky for everyone, after a beautiful sweep in the ALDS versus Minnesota (kudos to Barry Zito for out-dueling Johan Santana), Oakland lost in the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers; come on - a WS appearance would've been too much, right? In any case, Thomas had a great year for Oakland, and I hope he gets into the Hall of Fame; he deserves it.
So, years went by and Oakland had a lack of power that would make Reggie Willits laugh. One man, J*** C*** provided some real power, but I won't bring him up again. He was a lefty. Oakland lacked a right-handed batter until Josh Willingham hit 29(!) home runs and drove in 98 runs - almost hit the 30 HR/100 RBI mark. When Willingham filed for free agency and the A's didn't make any move on him, many fans (me included) were furious with Beane - you spend 7 mill on Coco but not on Willingham?
Now, a 25 year-old with long shaggy hair from Savannah, Georgia is providing power from the right side of the plate once again in Oakland (well, him and Cespedes but Yoenis has been out for a while now). Enter Josh Reddick.
Reddick is one of the main reasons that the A's are winning. Last night he hit his team-leading 10th home run - he has 22 RBI and is actually batting .280. Impressive. In fact, I'll go as far to say that Reddick is better than Josh Willingham, for multiple reasons:
1) Defense: To be perfectly honest, having Willingham in the outfield is like having a piece of pork out there. He can't run (no range), and he can't throw. He is not a good defensive outfielder. On the other hand, we've all seen Reddick gun down runners from deep right and make sliding/diving/leaping catches. Recently, he slid to stop a line drive, jumped up and fired a bullet to second to nail a runner. Against Boston he flipped over the wall to try to rob Ortiz of a home run. Josh has 5 assists and a .986 FLD%. The Twins' Josh: 2 assists and a .974 FLD%. And we all know that Reddick is just a better fielder.
2) Price Tag: Willingham was considered a steal when the Twins signed him for 3 yrs/21 million. The A's can pay Reddick next to nothing. This will be the case in future years.
3) Age: Yes, Willingham is good player, but he's 33, 8 years Reddick's senior. The chances are, Reddick will continue to hit for many years while Compliant Pork while wind down and fall apart.
4) Swag: First of all, let me say this: Willingham is a stand-up guy. I mean, he is a solid, calm, down-to-earth person who's very friendly, and he's exceptionally modest in interviews. Reddick's a nice guy as well, but he's more hardcore than Willingham. Reddick reminds of Nick Swisher: shaggy, fun, and a damn good hitter. Basically, someone who either is or has the potential to be a clubhouse leader, and a hard-nosed one at that.
The Boston Red Sox are in the dump, and Bailey has a broken hand. Sweeney may be hitting over .300, but he has 0 HR and just 12 RBI. Reddick has been the A's top hitter this year, and right now there's no doubt who won that trade.
And in the end, my favorite thing about Reddick may not be his power or his arm: it's his attitude. This guy reeks of grittiness, and the A's need that. they have a manager who can get the job done, who can teach the players and motivate. Now, they need clubhouse leaders, and with Inge on the DL due to a groin injury, Reddick seems like the kinda guy who can stand up and lead by example. He's still young, so I think the fact that he could hit 30 homers and drive 100 runs this year while playing great D and leading the A's is great.
Oh, by the way, Reddick suddenly has 12 walks. He had two in all of April but has 10 this May and his OBP has jumped to .337. This kid is good...
You know you like my style...