Will Return Of Josh Reddick Push Oakland Athletics Over The Top In Playoff Race?

By Thom Tsang
Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Oh, how quickly things can change in a year.

If the Oakland Atheltics had been getting back outfielder Josh Reddick with just a couple of weeks left of the season at this time in 2012, the general consensus would probably be that the team was getting the one piece back that would make a difference in their quest for the AL West. As it happened, they won it anyway despite the 32-homer breakout star hitting for just a .647 OPS in the second half with a bum wrist, but I digress …

This year, it’s probably fair to say that the team’s outlook is a little different.

Yes, they recently activated their young slugger off the DL for the second time in 2013 (and for the same wrist problem), but as for his potential impact on the team? Well, it’s a bit more … muted.

See, at 7-3 over their last 10 and currently the sole owners of the AL West lead at two games over the Texas Rangers, the A’s have done just fine without Reddick. Though it’s been more than a tumultuous ride for most of the season, it seems that Billy Beane‘s plan to overload the outfield with depth may actually be starting to pay off when they need it to most.

Collectively, the A’s outfielders have been one of the best in the game over the last 14 days, posting a 1.2 fWAR for sixth in the majors with a solid .292/.338/.489 triple slash and seven home runs between them. Coco Crisp has gone on an power binge with four homers in Reddick’s absence, while the formerly disappointing Yoenis Cespedes has been hitting .362 in the same span despite a 2.0 percent walk rate.

Even Chris Young, who had all but played himself into oblivion earlier, in the season, is contributing with a .271/.381/.333 triple-slash while sharing time with Seth Smith (.820 OPS)

Meanwhile, prior to being placed on the DL, Reddick had shown little signs of recovery from his poor first half, hitting for a .209/.312/.433 line in August that also saw his strikeout rate spike to a season-high 29.9 percent (monthly). Was he slowed by his injury? Sure. Will he see a spike in production as a result of the second DL stint? Well, he did post a .727 OPS and hit .277 though June after coming back at the end of May … so perhaps.

However, it didn’t take very long before his production/health dropped off, so I wouldn’t hold my breath for a sustained impact if I’m the Athletics — that is, if they decide to give him regular playing time at all.

Thom is an MLB writer for RantSports.com. Follow him/her on Twitter @BlueJaysRant, or add him to your network on Google

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