With yesterday’s (pretty shrewd) acquisition of Mike Montgomery, most fans have immediately began to search for the next move. I’m not totally sure there is one to come.
Another reliever is still on the list of many, though honestly I’d feel pretty comfortable the rest of the way with Montgomery, Wood, Grimm, Strop, and Rondon supplemented by some combination of Cahill, Warren, and Carl’s Jr. Mostly this is because I fully expect the rotation to return to something like the form of the first couple months, not all the way there, and to be gobbling up at least six innings most every start. Sure, a Royals-like pen is always an attraction but other than the Yankees’ arms there isn’t really anyone else out there who is going to make that a reality. And neither the Cubs or me as fantasy GM is going to give up for Kyle Schwarber for a fucking relief pitcher, for reasons I shouldn’t have to go back into.
The name out there again is Josh Reddick. I used to watch the A’s a lot a couple years ago, because they’ve always been a second team for me since the Giambi days and you had to watch some good team while the Cubs sucked to maintain sanity. So there’s a part of my mind that still regards Reddick as a power-hitting, big-armed right-fielder.
In reality, he has moved on from those things. While he did sock 32 homers four years ago, he has only hit more than 20 once since as injuries have robbed him of some time and power. While he used to have OBP issues, (.305 in the year he hit those 32 dingers), he’s actually corrected those to be a good OBP provider at .380 so far this season. That’s something of an anomaly of course, because his career mark is .317 and it was .333 last year, his previous career-high. His plate-discipline has rocketed up though, with a walk rate at 11.4% this season. He has dropped the amount he swings at pitches outside of the zone every year, as well as upped his amount of contact. Even at 29, it looks like he’s improving.
However, Fangraphs doesn’t think much of his defense this year or last, and maybe those injuries have limited his range out in right. Here he would only be needed in left, and an outfield of Reddick-Fowler-Heyward would give you probably the best defensive outfield the Cubs have ever had. It would match the infield defense when Baez is in there.
However, juggling the lineup to fit Reddick in is something of a headache. They can say that they would have had the same problems with Schwarber if he were healthy. But I don’t think that compensates for Contreras looking like he belongs and just how good Javier Baez has been. I really think that’s been a small surprise for them. Also, Reddick’s presence probably dooms Jorge Soler’s Cubs career, and I know I’m the leading one this upsets but hey, it’s my blog.
Reddick can’t hit lefties for shit, so he would come out on those days for Baez either at third or second. But you’d want to get Baez more ABs than that, but does that come at the expense of Zobrist? You need Heyward’s defense. Protect Fowler’s legs by having him get days off more regularly? Doesn’t seem likely. Baez at short more? Sure looks like Russell’s ABs of late are getting more grown up. Contreras more at catcher? Not when Lester or Arrieta pitch. I know this is why you pay Joe Maddon what you do, but this is dizzying.
But then maybe you do it just so Reddick and Rizzo can watch wrestling together.