MLB.com Columnist

Jon Paul Morosi

Hot-hitting Reddick tunes out free-agency talk

Depending on A's record, trade rumors may swirl around OF before Deadline

Hot-hitting Reddick tunes out free-agency talk

DETROIT -- A's right fielder Josh Reddick has hit four home runs this month, the most in any April of his career, and he entered Thursday with an .823 OPS.

Reddick's fast start is perfectly timed: The 29-year-old can be a free agent after this season.

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"I'm one of the guys that doesn't think about that," Reddick said Tuesday. "I'm not going into the box thinking, 'If I don't get this run in, or I don't get this amount of home runs, I'm not going to be the free-agent player I need to be.' That's just something I've put very far back in my mind.

"I'm really trying not to focus on it at all, and it's working wonders for me. I've learned to have a very short memory in this game."

Reddick said he's not aware of any substantive talks between the A's and his agents, Seth and Sam Levinson. Oakland officials have told Reddick that they'd like to retain him. But with the fifth-smallest Opening Day payroll in Major League Baseball, the A's will likely struggle to re-sign Reddick if he maintains his current level of production. And if the A's fall back in the American League West, that could make him one of the more intriguing players available on the trade market this July.

Prior to the season, Reddick decided that he didn't want to engage in any contract talks after Opening Day. He said Spring Training came and went without his agency contacting him regarding an offer.

And that's completely fine, Reddick said.

"I've told [my agents], 'I don't want to even get a phone call if we don't think it's the right deal for me,'" Reddick said. "They understand that. They're right on the same page with me. The A's told me they still wanted me, and they want it to be at the right price, and that was obviously great to hear.

Oakland's place in the American League West will determine whether Reddick must cope with another potential distraction: trade rumors.

Notably, the Cubs could be in the market for a corner outfielder, following the season-ending injury to Kyle Schwarber. And Chicago president of baseball operations Theo Epstein drafted Reddick during his tenure as general manager of the Red Sox.

"That he did," Reddick affirmed when Epstein's name was mentioned. "He told me he would never trade me, either. Then he left -- and I got traded [to Oakland, in December 2011]. I think I was Ben Cherington's first or second move after he took over.

"Jed [Hoyer, the Cubs' GM] and Theo were great for me, even when I first got drafted. … I always used to be a favorite of [Theo's]. He told me that from the get-go, that he loved the way I played and thought I was going to be a good player.

"I tip my cap to him that he stuck to me. He didn't lie. He never said he wasn't going to leave."

Epstein is a close friend of A's executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane, and the two have completed numerous trades over the years. Perhaps Epstein, who kept his word about never trading Reddick, will trade for Reddick prior to this year's Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

"I hope we keep winning here," Reddick said, "so I won't go anywhere."

Jon Paul Morosi is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.