Josh Reddick is the near-ideal trade candidate. He’ll be a free agent at the end of the season, he’s continued to hit ever since rebounding from a disappointing 2013 campaign, and he’s playing for a team in the Oakland Athletics that’s eight games under .500 and has virtually no chance at the playoffs. Reddick is headed to free agency in market populated by few decent players, suggesting there’s little expectation of a return to the A’s, a small-market club relying on young players to compete. All that said, there’s a case to be made that the A’s need not move Reddick at the deadline if they fail to receive a solid offer.
The market for corner outfielders hasn’t been great for sellers or free agents over the past year. A year ago, minor deals were made for Shane Victorino, David DeJesus, David Murphy, and Gerardo Parra. Yoenis Cespedes netted a good package for the Detroit Tigers headlined by Michael Fulmer, and even Cespedes was brought in to play center field. Jay Bruce, on a selling Reds team, stayed put. Carlos Gonzalez, on the selling Colorado Rockies, stayed put. Justin Upton, despite pending free agency, stayed put with the Padres. The latter three players were all producing offensively, but the Padres opted to take a draft pick for Upton, while the Rockies and Reds decided to hold on to their outfielders to try and get better value later.
Then, last offseason, the Rockies and Reds still couldn’t find any offers to their liking. As a result, the Rockies opted to trade the younger, cheaper Corey Dickerson to the Tampa Bay Rays for reliever Jake McGee. Jason Heyward got paid as did Justin Upton, but Cespedes ended up with an unusual three-year deal despite an MVP-type season. Alex Gordon did fine to get four years and $72 million — and Gerardo Parra was fortunate to get a three-year deal from the Rockies — but Dexter Fowler and Austin Jackson both had to sign one-year deals, while Colby Rasmus avoided the market altogether by accepting the qualifying offer. The FanGraphs crowdsourced guesses overshot it on almost all of the outfielders.