Introductory note: I decided to break the FanFest interviews into 5 parts (one for each Athletic interviewed), even though it makes a couple of the segments pretty short, because it seems less choppy that way in that you can focus on one player at a time. My figuring is that these interviews can be a springboard not just to discuss the questions and answers transcribed below, but also to talk about that player in general.
Part I, published on Monday, featured Brandon McCarthy. Part II introduces one of the A's key off-season acquisitions, Josh Reddick, who was the centerpiece coming back in the trade which sent Andrew Bailey to the Boston Red Sox. Six bloggers, all associated with AN, participated in these interviews. This time, to avoid misquoting who asked what question, I have just put "Question" if it wasn't asked by me!
Josh Reddick profiles as the type of player who might be just adequate if he settles in RF, but who could be especially valuable if he can stick defensively in CF. So my first question to Reddick revolved around where he sees his defensive strengths and weaknesses when comparing the "corner outfield" to "center field"...
Reddick: Ideally right now I don't know where I'd want to play. I mean, I imagine with Coco coming back I'll be in RF, so that's my main focus right now. And just from looking at the dimensions of the field it seems like it'd be a bigger RF than normal but spending a whole 2-3 years in Fenway you get used to that kind of thing. So I'm going to take the approach that it's a "Fenway without a Pesky's Pole," so I don't have to deal with the messed up corner and luckily I've got a guy to my right (Coco Crisp) who can run, like I had in Boston, so hopefully he can cover a lot more ground and make it that much easier for me.
Nico: Have you played enough CF to have a sense of your comfort level there?
Reddick: Oh definitely. High school, college that's what I was, and when I first signed they transitioned me to RF for my first two minor league seasons and after those seasons I started in CF in '09 and then actually got called up and played the corners, but ever since then it's been CF and then when I get called up it was wherever they needed me, sometimes LF or RF, CF, but I feel like I'm ready to play CF no matter where it is.
Question: Are you excited about getting the chance to play every day?
Coming through a system like Boston, it's never easy to get there and stay there, especially with the way they have done things in the past - they'll go out and spend the money and not be afraid to do it. This past year, I even had a starting job when Crawford and JD Drew ended up going down and I feel like that was a huge step in my development, but it hadn't really been completed until now. (The A's) have made it clear that I'm going to be out there no matter what, no matter who's pitching - same thing with Seth (Smith), he's had that thing with LHPs where you can hit them well for a while and then all of a sudden they just somehow want to platoon you...and you get out of the practice, so hopefully I can get back into it in spring training facing LHPs more often. In my past, I‘ve never really had a problem facing them.
Question: Last year in Boston there were a lot of reports about the negative chemistry in the (clubhouse) with the "chicken ‘n beer" article...Do you think clubhouse chemistry is sort of a "chicken-egg" thing where if you win, there was good clubhouse chemistry and if you lose there isn't?
Reddick: Not necessarily. In our September fallout we were the same clubhouse we were in June and July when we were the best team in baseball. I mean, nothing changed. I think the "chicken and beer" and Tito (Francona) situation that happened, honestly I think someone opened their mouth inside the clubhouse - that's the only way it could really happen, and they needed someone to point their finger at to get somebody off their back, and I think Tito was the guy unfortunately that had to be the person with the finger pointed at him. But the clubhouse was great..."Forget yesterday, let's go get ‘em tonight." Same mindset you should have any day. Nobody had the depressed look like you expected or what you read about. We kept it pretty much the same and it just never really worked out.
Question: Since being traded to the A's, is this the first time you've met a lot of your teammates?
Yup. (laughter) This is the first I've seen him (Seth Smith) around. I've actually been in Phoenix for a couple of days so I've gotten to know a few guys. I've gotten to experience the "Dallas Braden effect"...but he's a great guy, I've met Brett Anderson. Fortunately, on the coaching staff I already knew Curt Young and Chili (Davis) - Chili was with us at AAA and Curt Young was obviously our pitching coach in Boston, but the majority I've met everybody here today and this past weekend.
Nico: Can I just ask - not qualitatively, but just in terms of style - what Chili Davis' hitting coach philosophy is, what we can expect from Chili Davis?
Reddick: Very hands-on - he likes to get involved when it's necessary. He's not going to get in your ear when you don't need him to be, and he has what every coach should have and that's an "open door" policy: Whenever you want to talk to him, he's there. I only had him for about a month and a half before I was up for my stint in "the show" but from what I learned from him he was very hands-on with me because I was struggling even when I got called up. He finds your strength and basically pounds them into your head to make sure you stay with that routine, and to make sure your mind's right for the game.
Still ahead: Seth Smith, Cliff Pennington, and Bob Melvin...