The Oakland Athletics “plan to revisit talks with [Josh] Reddick before” the August 1 non-waiver trade deadline, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Rosenthal says earlier talks stalled over the length of the deal, with the A’s preferring a three-year deal for the 29-year-old and Reddick asking for four. Rosenthal continues:
Trade of Reddick becomes more realistic if no agreement is reached. #Athletics also comfortable keeping him and giving him qualifying offer.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 26, 2016
The biggest factor in any potential deal this month relies on what each side perceives as the odds the club trades Reddick, as that will control whether Reddick’s first free agent deal is hampered by a qualifying offer. Affecting that will be the sorts of offers clubs could make to acquire Reddick as well as the faint chance that a healthy A’s squad makes a run towards the contenders for one of the AL Wild Card spots.
Reddick has been out for just over a month with the thumb injury, and that could make trade offers for Reddick more resistible. Reddick will have some time to show he’s up to full speed by the time the A’s might want to trade him, however.
If Reddick does play well, that could also mean the A’s are winning. The A’s enter Sunday trailing the second Wild Card by eight games and needing to pass seven teams to get there, but with the club getting major contributors back this week you never know what could happen with 31 more games to play before the trade deadline.
Reddick’s negotiators can hold out for as long as they can reasonably believe that the A’s will trade Reddick without a deal, because the lack of a qualifying offer means many more millions for Reddick. If the offers for Reddick are underwhelming or if there’s a miracle July run in these A’s, that could be enough to push Reddick’s team to move closer to the A’s.
The danger for Reddick’s agents is in underrating Oakland’s willingness to hold onto Reddick. The A’s haven’t yet made a qualifying offer under the current free agent compensation system, electing to trade potential players like Scott Kazmir instead. But next year’s free agent market is different in that Reddick is the top of the outfield market and the A’s don’t have an obvious internal replacement of Reddick’s caliber yet. Whatever the A’s offer before the trade deadline might be the best deal they could get because of the chance the A’s could free Reddick of the qualifying offer by trading him.
So why don’t the A’s just wait? Even the A’s can’t know the precise likelihood they’ll trade Reddick because the market is still forming for the top-tier tradeable players, markets that won’t resolve until the last week or two of July.
And that’s where the two sides might meet this month. The A’s will have to be satisfied that the value they’ll receive from Reddick for whatever terms they come to will exceed the opportunity of acquiring whatever players they would get from Reddick’s replacement and the players Reddick would garner. Reddick will have to be satisfied that he’s not walking away from a much more lucrative offer if he had just waited for the A’s to trade him this month.