ST. PETERSBURG -- Among the several factors that will decide Oakland's fate in the final weeks of the regular season is Josh Reddick's production.
Lately, there hasn't been much of it, and the downward trend -- he has a .175/.221/.300 batting line in August -- needs to reverse should the A's remain in playoff contention.
Much has been made of Yoenis Cespedes' value to the team -- and rightfully so, given the fact Oakland is 55-35 with him in the starting lineup, and just 12-22 when he's not. But Reddick, who has stayed on the field more than Cespedes this year, has proven to be of equal value.
In fact, Reddick's 3.9 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), which signifies the number of wins that a player has added to his team, leads the A's and, entering Friday, ranked 11th in the American League among a crowd that includes Josh Hamilton, Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera and Robinson Cano.
No wonder his recent struggles -- Reddick has just 14 hits with 31 strikeouts over his last 94 at-bats -- are garnering so much attention.
"Everybody goes through stretches," manager Bob Melvin said. "He's been as consistent as anybody we've had, if not more so than anybody we've had, and that's why it stands out when you go through a stretch where you struggle some. He'll continue to be a force for us. He'll continue to be a mainstay. It's probably just a couple of hits there, maybe a bloop there, and he'll be back and off to the races again."
Looking for that time to come sooner than later, Melvin rested Reddick against tough Rays lefty Matt Moore on Friday. Combined with Sunday's scheduled team off-day, Reddick will get rest in two of the next three days -- equaling the number of days off he had received since July 28.
"He's a guy that, more than anybody, has played every day," Melvin said. "No [disabled list] stints, knock on wood, and an occasional DH day, but he's gone out there quite a bit, and this is his first full season in the big leagues on top of that. He's a guy we count on, so to give him this day and then with Sunday's off-day, hopefully you get some rejuvenation."
Reddick leads the A's with 25 home runs and, before August, which has brought his average down to .247, was batting .262 with a .834 OPS.
A's acquire Chavez for cash considerations
ST. PETERSBURG -- The A's acquired right-hander Jesse Chavez from the Blue Jays on Friday in exchange for cash, further adding to their already stacked bullpen depth and again filling their 40-man roster in the suspended Bartolo Colon's stead.
Chavez, who turned 29 on Tuesday, has nine appearances in the Majors this season and 19 with Triple-A Las Vegas. He went 1-1 with an 8.44 ERA in his big league time, spread over three stints, and was 8-5 with a 3.98 ERA for Las Vegas. Most of his time at Triple-A this year was as a starter, while most of his action in the Majors came as a reliever.
It's likely that Chavez, who carried strong strikeout rates at both stops -- 86 in 95 innings with Las Vegas and 27 in 21 1/3 with Toronto -- will remain a reliever in Oakland's organization. For now, it appears he'll do so with Triple-A Sacramento, but in the future could offer the A's a long-relief option.
In parts of five Major League seasons, Chavez is 7-11 with a 5.74 ERA in 152 games. He's played with Pittsburgh (2008-09), Atlanta (2010), Kansas City (2011) and Toronto. Chavez has 143 strikeouts, 69 walks and has allowed 33 home runs in 174 innings.
Manager Bob Melvin has not yet acquainted himself with Chavez, but acknowledged the confidence he has in the decisions made by the front office, saying: "We evaluate pitching pretty well in this organization."
Miller recalled to bolster bullpen
ST. PETERSBURG -- The A's added bullpen depth by way of a familiar face on Friday, recalling Jim Miller from Triple-A Sacramento.
Miller takes the 25-man roster spot of righty Tyson Ross, who allowed five runs in six-plus innings in Thursday's loss before being optioned after the game. Ross will assume relief duties with the River Cats, as the A's hope he'll find more consistency in that role.
The right-handed Miller, entering his third stint with the A's this season, has done well for them, compiling a 2-1 record, 2.16 ERA and .215 opponents' average in 24 appearances.
"He's done a nice job for us in a number of roles, so it kind of gives us the option to do some things with [Travis] Blackley, where we don't have to use him in a length role," manager Bob Melvin said.
That being said, Blackley becomes a definite option for Wednesday's start, a spot vacated by the suspended Bartolo Colon. Melvin admitted as much, but also said the team could choose to pitch Jarrod Parker that day on normal rest, should it forgo offering him and Saturday starter Brandon McCarthy extra rest with Sunday's off-day looming.
Should Parker, who started Friday in Tampa Bay, go Wednesday in Cleveland, the A's could then call upon righty Dan Straily for Thursday's start. Another option for either Wednesday or Thursday is rehabbing hurler A.J. Griffin.
"We'll take our time in making the decision," said Melvin, who gets to carry eight bullpen members until that time.
• Brandon Inge, who went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk as designated hitter in his first rehab start with Triple-A Sacramento on Thursday, is scheduled to play five innings at third base for the River Cats on Friday. If all goes well, he'll play nine on Saturday.
The A's have an off-day Sunday and could choose to bring Inge (right shoulder) back as soon as Monday for the start of a four-game series in Cleveland.
• Jonny Gomes, who got the start at designated hitter on Friday, entered the day having hit safely in each of his seven career games against his former Rays team (9-for-25). Gomes is hitting .280 with six home runs and 14 RBIs in 22 games since the All-Star break.