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Oakland A's GM David Forst: Josh Reddick extension 'something we will make an effort at'

The Athletics right fielder made it clear, however, that he would strongly prefer extension talks not to drag into the season.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

OAKLAND -- A's general manager David Forst made it clear at FanFest on Sunday that the Athletics "will make an effort at" re-signing right fielder Josh Reddick, who Forst says has "kind of become the face of our team; somewhat the drive and energy of the club."

Reddick and the A's completed a one-year deal to settle his pending arbitration case a little over a week ago for $6.575 million. In the course of those negotiations, Forst says, "I have spoken to his agent about an extension. So it's something that we'll continue to talk about."

In a Sunday morning press session, Reddick told the San Francisco Chronicle he also wants an extension, but "he's not keen on talks extending into the season because it could be a distraction for him and the team." The last two major player extensions the A's completed were with closer Sean Doolittle on April 21, 2014 and outfielder Coco Crisp on February 7, 2014.

Reddick is coming off his healthiest season in some time, and played in 149 games last year. He hit 20 home runs in 582 plate appearances, hitting .273/.333/.449 for a 117 wRC+. His defense was only rated as around average by advanced fielding metrics, however.

A man like that is hard to find but I can't get him off my mind

The big question will be money, money, money, and Reddick at 30 years old would be one of the younger good outfielders in a market pretty thin beyond a 36-year-old Jose Bautista, 31-year-old Carlos Gomez, and 30-year-old Colby Rasmus.

If Reddick were to go all the way to free agency, what he could earn will strongly depend on how well he performs in 2016. I've estimated possibilities that range from Reddick needing a pillow contract like Colby Rasmus earned after a poor 2014 walk year to something like four years with $16 million average annual value if he does something like have Michael Bourn's excellent 2012 walk year, when he had 6.2 fWAR thanks to a strongly-rated defensive season and slightly above average bat.

Four years and $64 million as a best case scenario would be less than the four years and $72 million Alex Gordon earned coming off what was shaping up to be another good season before injuries limited him to 104 games. By pretty much any metric, however, offensive or defensive, sabermetric or traditional, Gordon has Reddick outclassed by a pretty significant margin.

I'm feeling somewhat less confident in Austin Jackson as a middle of the road contract comparison, as his sub-par hitting seems to be what's keeping his market down. He could be looking at a one-year deal.

Instead, let's look at Dexter Fowler, who is the weakest outfield free agent who was given a $15.8 million qualifying offer and declined it. Fowler is coming off a good season and has been a consistently above average producer at the plate. Generally speaking, he's a 2-3 WAR player. Fowler has not signed yet, but the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo opines that Fowler will earn a three-year deal, but it will probably come in below the $31 million total Denard Span got for his deal.

Earn a fortune in a game

As for where the A's stand, Forst said, "It takes to two to kind of get to that place so we'll see where it goes. Billy [Beane] said [a Reddick extension was a possibility] at the end of the year, I followed up, and we will see what will happen over the next couple months. Until we get into the conversation we never know how it's going to go."

So somewhere between three years and $31 million and four years and $64 million feels about right. Signing a deal right now, I'm still sticking with my guess of four years (2017-20) and $50 million.