Oakland Athletics right fielder is "not aware of any substantive talks between the A's and his agents, Seth and Sam Levinson," MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi says, characterizing a discussion he had with Reddick in Detroit. Reddick initially said in the offseason he did not want contract talks to continue into the regular season, though a Bay Area News Group source says Reddick softened his stance as Opening Day approached.
While Reddick did not directly confirm whether contract talks are continuing, he told Morosi:
"I've told [my agents], 'I don't want to even get a phone call if we don't think it's the right deal for me,'" Reddick said. "They understand that. They're right on the same page with me. The A's told me they still wanted me, and they want it to be at the right price, and that was obviously great to hear.
There are two ways to take these comments. The first would be that neither the A's nor Reddick's Agent made an offer that interested the other in spring training, and as a result contract talks are over until next offseason. The second is that Reddick remains unaware of whether or not extension talks are occurring, but that they could be. The latter case would also satisfy Reddick's goals about not being personally distracted by extension discussions during the offseason.
When will we know more?
Either way, I suspect we won't learn anything new about the status of Reddick extension talks until after the August 1 trade deadline. Besides his performance in 2016, the biggest thing that will affect Reddick's post-2016 earning prospects is whether the A's retain him after the trade deadline with the intent to make him a qualifying offer, which will probably be a one year deal of at least $17 million. If Reddick signs with another team after the A's make that offer, the team that signs Reddick would lose its first draft pick after the top 10 overall, which would reduce the offers available to him
But the big "if" is whether the A's hold onto Reddick. He's an obvious trade candidate, especially if the club is not a contender by the trade deadline, and if he is traded then he's freed from what a qualifying offer will do to his earning potential.
Whether the A's will make him a qualifying offer is probably where the largest difference in opinion between club and agent on his value lies. It's reasonable that the A's would want a discount for selling the opportunity to limit his post-2016 contract value via the qualifying offer. It's just as reasonable that Reddick's agents don't consider it especially likely at this point of the season that the A's will hold onto Reddick at the trade deadline, so there's not much need to give much of a discount at this point.
And I keep feeling like I have to emphasize that this isn't a moral failing on the part of either the club or the player. I'm just pointing out a very good reason why each side might not want to make a final decision on Reddick's value just yet. Heck, even the A's don't know whether they're going to trade Reddick.
So while John Paul Morosi can suggest that Cubs baseball head Theo Epstein might love to get back the outfielder he drafted when Epstein was general manager of the Red Sox, he's just a stand-in for anybody else who would love to acquire Reddick at the deadline if Oakland's spot in the standings don't match up with hanging onto him through the end of the year or into 2017. And we knew that already.