Astros: Is outfielder Josh Reddick now expendable?

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 21: Josh Reddick
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 21: Josh Reddick /

With Michael Brantley now officially with the Astros and Kyle Tucker the apparent future, is Josh Reddick now available trade material?

Josh Reddick is currently in the middle of a four-year contract, which will cost the Astros $13 million in each of the next two years. There are several teams out there in need of a veteran outfielder and Houston has no shortage in that position, with eight on the current roster. Maybe it’s time to give Kyle Tucker the chance to prove himself and spend that $13 million where it’s more wisely needed.

Reddick, who turns 32 in February, could be considered an aging veteran in baseball terms and did show a decline in performance this past year. He had a stellar season in 2017, but then again, what Astro player didn’t.

When looking over Reddick’s career, that 2017 season seemed to be well above his norm. His slash line that season was .314/.363/.484, compared to his career average of .262/.323/.434. His 2018 RBI total was 47, a considerable drop from the 73 he knocked in the previous year. But his veteran experience would still be an asset to teams in desire of some outfield help.

The Cleveland Indians are one of those teams that are shorthanded in the outfield. Coincidentally, they have been known to be shopping starting pitcher Corey Kluber, an area the Astros are also shorthanded. Kluber is in the middle of a five-year contract earning him $17 million in 2019, increasing by $500K per season after that. The contract has multiple buyout options and he doesn’t become a free agent until 2022.

I would assume the Tribe wouldn’t settle for Reddick alone in any such deal. But Houston does have a decent pool of prospects to pick from and could possibly throw in another player from their current roster. Depending on what players would be included in a swap, the Astros could conceivably end up with a minimal salary increase, if any, and add an elite pitcher to a depleted starting rotation.

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Josh Reddick was an integral piece of the team that won the 2017 World Series and has become one of the fan favorites here in Houston. But the needs of the Astros have changed since that championship season. Michael Brantley has been added and it may be Tucker’s turn to shine. Sometimes the difficult transactions are necessary to stay at the top, this may be the opportunistic time to make that move.