While MLB free agency typically gains steam at the annual Winter Meetings, which this year are scheduled to begin Dec. 4, Josh Reddick and the Houston Astros got ahead of the curve last week.
Not long after the Astros completed a trade with the New York Yankees for catcher Brian McCann, reports of the club agreeing to a four-year contract with Reddick began to surface. The $52 million deal was then made official when Reddick was introduced on Wednesday at Minute Maid Park.
He spent this season with the Oakland Athletics (68 games) and Los Angeles Dodgers (47 games). Reddick was traded, along with Rich Hill, to Los Angeles prior to the Aug. 1 non-waiver deadline.
His time with the Dodgers was marred by inconsistency and bad luck, and it never appeared likely he would re-sign with the club.
Although Reddick is joining a third team in the past year, returning to the American League West brings a sense of comfort, per Richard Dean of MLB.com:
“It wasn’t that tough. These guys came aggressive and made it known early that they wanted me,” Reddick said. “They made the decision pretty easy. I get to stay in the same division. I feel very comfortable being in this division. I know how things work. I know the pitching staffs, I know the hitters. This will make it an easy transition for me.”
Reddick reportedly drew interest from the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays prior to agreeing with the Astros. Where he fits in with Houston hasn’t yet been determined, though it’s plausible, if not likely, that George Springer will move from right field to center field.
Reddick is capable of playing left field but has minimal experience at the position. The Georgia native hit .281/.345/.405 with 17 doubles, 10 home runs and 37 RBI this season. Reddick’s 107 OPS+ was the lowest mark of his career since 2013.
However, he did set career highs in batting average and on-base percentage.