The title of this article, right?! It’s crazy! A Josh Reddick acquisition is the equivalent to getting a top 5 player in baseball? I can hear the scoffing and laughing from the interwebs as everyone clicks the link. The eye rolls are piercing through the screen as sharply as scissors cut in the White Sox locker room before throwback night. Josh Reddick is a top 5 player? Get out of here! Well, HE isn’t necessarily a top 5 player, BUT the addition of Josh Reddick to the Cubs certainly equates to the organization adding a top 5 bat for the playoff push. Allow me to explain:
I’ll start with the fact that Josh Reddick has been the apple of my awe-inspiring Cubs eye for longer than a year now. I wrote about it last season as a Readers Post that John Arguello was nice enough to post for Cubs Den here leading up to the deadline, and then went on to write about it not even 2 weeks later for Rant Sports here in a piece where I connected the dots for the Cole Hamels to Texas trade. Needless to say I am a Josh Reddick fan. I don’t deny it. However, anyone who immediately shuns me as bias or completely dismisses the notion of the Cubs having the need to acquire Reddick due to our outfield depth, I ask that you hear me out here; Reddick is exactly what the Cubs need.
So how does Josh Reddick add a top 5 bat to the Cubs lineup? It doesn’t take a whiz-kid to see that his stat-line of .296/.373/.442(fangraphs) is certainly above-average, but also won’t be taking home any MVP votes any time soon. He plays an extremely average LF which will likely play better in the friendly confines than it does in Oakland and he sports a tremendous walk and strikeout rate that are nearly equal to each other at 11% and 12.9%, respectively. Any rational human being can see this is a nice addition, however not many would say it’s a needle-mover that helps put the team over-the-top offensively. No one would dare say it’s adding an MVP bat to the lineup.
Well except me, of course.
That’s because I see the acquisition of Josh Reddick as the acquisition of ONE-HALF of an MVP player-platoon with Javier Baez. Both players have performed just fine this season as individuals. In fact Javier Baez, who was a lot of Cubs fans favorite player to trade this past offseason, has already been worth 1.8 WARP which puts him on track to potentially be worth 3 WARP as a super-utility guy. That’s remarkable. Leave Josh Reddick and Javier Baez by themselves and they’re just fine. Both above the average player and improving. However, combine those two and allow them to play only to their strengths? Watch Out!
It’s like if you could take Spiderman and the X-Men’s Cyclops and put them together as one. Alone they’re just fine, sure….but combine those two together? You’ve got a pimp-walkin’ Cyclops lowering his glasses to shoot beams from his eyes , as he uses his off-hand to sling some web around some bad guy right behind him without even looking. All this just moments before slinging over to Mary Jane to grab that hero kiss. How freaking awesome would that be?
That’s what the Cubs have the ability to do here with Baez and Reddick. Left alone, no one is going to complain. But put them together and they are an MVP caliber pimp-walkin’ Cyclops! Yes, Please!
Below are Javier Baez and Josh Reddick’s splits this season against righties and lefties, respectively:
Josh Reddick vs RHP:
.346/.420/.535 with a OPS of .954
Javier Baez vs LHP:
.370/.446/.603 with a OPS 1.049
Ladies and gentlemen, that give you a combined player with a stat line at the dish of:
So where would that rank amongst league leaders?
Batting average: 2nd
On-base Percentage: 1st
That’s right, folks. The simple addition of Josh Reddick just landed the Cubs a top-5 bat in all of baseball per OPS.
Of course, this is made possible with the incredible versatility of Kris Bryant and Javier Baez. When Kris Bryant is in LF the Cubs have the best Left-fielder in the game of baseball. No, I mean it. Not just offensively, either. To steal some thunder from Cliff Hamm and his piece yesterday on his love affair for defense , Kris Bryant is the second best LF in baseball defensively as pictured below:
So, yes, Kris Bryant in LF is a major advantage for the Chicago Cubs. Additionally, Kris Bryant has also stated that their best defensive lineup likely includes fellow controllable young talent at 3B in Javier Baez. This is isn’t any secret within the organization.
When the opposing team strolls out a lefty starter against the Cubs with Reddick, it’s simple. Bryant plays LF and Baez plays 3b. Against righties? Well, now you have Josh Reddick in LF and Kris Bryant at 3b. What does that equal again? Oh ya! The 4th best OPS in baseball hitting in the same lineup as Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. Have fun with that opposing pitchers.
This dynamic also provides the added benefit of making Javier Baez more available to give days off all around the infield. It’s going to be a long year. If all goes well, the Cubs will hopefully be playing in the last game of the entire season for any team and hopefully wins that game. So if that’s the case then players like Ben Zobrist, Dexter Fowler, and Anthony Rizzo will probably want to be well rested going into October. By having Reddick in LF as a staple against RHP, it frees up Baez to move to 2nd base or 1st base to give either Zobrist or Rizzo a day off. It also frees up Zobrist to play some RF to allow Heyward to slide over to CF to give Fowler the day off. Now everyone is nice and fresh come playoff time.
Oh ya, and we have a top 5 OPS in baseball hitting 6th in our lineup.
I know, I know. Reddick is a rental and we just gave up a sizable package for a rental relief pitcher that even I had mixed feelings about. But if that proved anything then it proved that upper-management is wanting to win it this season. They feel we have the pieces and they have an opportunity to take the Series. With that being the case then I say it’s time to make a move like this for Reddick.
We also have the benefit of the OF market being somewhat saturated therefore a package for Reddick wouldn’t look nearly as daunting as the package for Chapman was. For my money, I could see a Zagunis and Jason Vosler type package maybe getting it done. Theo and Billy Beane have worked together before and they think alike. A lot of the Cubs system has players that fit the “type” of player that the Oakland A’s usually covet and vice-versa. The only difference between the two is resources, and with the lack of resources in Oakland you can bet they won’t be holding onto Reddick into August.
So there you have it. Josh Reddick to the Chicago Cubs.
A Top 5 player acquistion at a bargain price.