Tag:Josh Willingham
Posted on: January 28, 2011 9:47 am
Edited on: January 28, 2011 1:58 pm

A's trying to trade for Chone Figgins

FigginsAll's quiet in baseball these days with arbitration the only story and a countdown to the beginning of spring training less than a month away.

However, if the A's get their way, there will be at least one more trade that gets the attention of the baseball world.

The San Jose Mercury News reveals that Oakland is trying to acquire third baseman Chone Figgins from the Mariners. With three years and $26 million left on his deal, the Mariners might be motivated to deal the 32-year-old for players that fit within their retooling phase. It is thought that Kevin Kouzmanoff and a pitcher would be headed to Seattle for Figgins if a trade is consummated.

Figgins had a poor debut in Seattle after years with the Angels, hitting just .259/.340/.306 although he did swipe 42 bases amid an attempt to shift to second base. With that experiment over, Figgins is slated to return to third, and the Mariners hope he can approximate his 2009 line of .298/.395/.393.

Oakland has been seeking a third baseman all winter. They chased Adrian Beltre for the second straight season and also flirted with Edwin Encarnacion, claiming him on waivers only to non-tender him. Clearly, they aren't sold on Kouz, who has a great glove but produced a .247/.283/.396 mark in his first season with Oakland, hitting 16 homers.

If the A's did acquire Figgins, he would become the perfect leadoff hitter for a club that would suddenly legitimately challenge the Rangers for superiority in the West. So far, Oakland has imported Josh Willingham, David DeJesus and Hideki Matsui to bolster the offense. However, all three are free agents next year and while the club remains at the Coliseum with no certain organizational future, it will be difficult to attract free agents to come -- or even for internal free agents to stay. GM Billy Beane has had to go the trade route in recent years to get his bats, so acquiring Figgins would add certainty to the offense over the next few years -- the club's already got plenty on its hands in filling holes after the year.

One such hole could be filled by Chris Carter, who is adamant the left-field job is his to lose -- even after Oakland acquired two left fielders in DeJesus and Willingham.

"I'm still thinking it's my job to lose, basically," Carter said. "It's a business. They want to win and make the team better. [Adding players] keeps it more competitive."

That's all well and good, but after Carter began his major league career with an 0-for-19 streak, his stock dipped in many people's eyes. He rebounded upon his September recall, but by then it was too late: he was ticketed for Triple-A again in 2010. The 24-year-old likely remains Oakland's left fielder or DH of the future, especially with the positions opening up after the year, but he'll have to serve as depth in 2011 for the A's. Even backup outfield is not an option as Ryan Sweeney and Conor Jackson have those spots locked down as well.

UPDATE: ESPN's Buster Olney says there could be a third team involved in the deal, with the Jays a possibility. If the Jays were able to snag Kouzmanoff, that would enable Jose Bautista to stay in right field.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: December 16, 2010 12:17 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2010 4:08 pm

A's swap for Nats' Willingham

Josh Willingham You know, it might be time to start keeping an eye on the Athletics.

They went 81-81 last season, and their weakness was clear: They pitched great, but they couldn't hit. But Oakland has made big moves on offense so far this winter and could be poised to make another. Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the A's are in "serious discussions" to get outfielder Josh Willingham from the Nationals.

When you consider that the three outfielders who made the most starts for the A's last season combined for seven homers -- yes, seven -- they're looking at a big outfield upgrade. Coco Crisp played in just 75 games last season due to injuries, but if he returns to form he'll be productive in the leadoff spot. The A's got David DeJesus, a high average guy with a little power, in November. Adding Willingham, who's good for 20-plus homers when healthy, would give Oakland a formidable outfield.

The Nationals' motivation for moving Willingham would be money. He made $4.6 million last season and is arbitration-eligible, and Washington needs to pay Jayson Werth. They also could have other moves in the works, reportedly pursuing trades for pitchers Zack Greinke and Matt Garza and bidding on first basemen Adam LaRoche and Derrek Lee.

Rosenthal said the Nationals would get two minor leaguers from the A's in exchange for Willingham.

UPDATE: Buster Olney of ESPN.com says via Twitter the teams have a deal in principle, with the Nats getting "two young players, one of whom has major league experience."

-- David Andriesen

UPDATE : The deal is done. Washington receives fireballing reliever Henry Rodriguez, who can touch 100 mph, and minor-league outfilelder Corey Brown. Reports had GM Mike Rizzo demanding more for Willingham so this is a bit of a surprise, but the motivation may have been to get the left-fielder out of town after Rizzo refused to extend Willingham.

Rodriguez is the man with MLB experience and threw the second-fastest fastball in the bigs in 2010, touching 103.2 mph. He appeared in 29 games, hurling 27 2/3 innings of a 4.55 ERA, punching out 33 but walking 13. The 23-year-old will compete for the closer's job in Washington, which is wide open.

Brown, meanwhile, is a left-handed outfielder who appeared in Triple-A for the first time in 2010 as a 24-year-old. He hit just .193/.253/.378 in 148 plate appearances. He did, however, bash Double-A to the tune of .320/.415/.502 in 386 PA. With 22 stolen bases on the season, Brown could develop into a solid fourth outfielder for Washington.

Still, this package feels light for Willingham. Oh well, that's to Oakland's benefit who now have to figure out which starting outfielder hits the bench.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb  on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: December 6, 2010 2:13 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2010 6:13 pm

Red Sox could go after Willingham

Willingham Jayson Werth's massive megadeal with the Nationals has put the Red Sox in a bit of a bind.

First, obviously Werth won't be coming to Boston. Werth was reportedly on the verge of signing with the Red Sox and would have done so Monday if the Nationals hadn't stepped in with an offer he couldn't refuse.

Second, the market for Carl Crawford has to be out of control now as he certainly can ask for eight or even nine years on a deal and might crack the $150-million barrier. The Red Sox are going to be extremely hesitant about committing such dollars to Crawford.

So how will the Red Sox acquire the slugging outfielder they need?

Nope, Kevin Youkilis moving to left with Adrian Beltre returning is not an option as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports, especially with Beltre asking for five years and at least $70 million in any deal and perhaps even $85 million.

Enter Josh Willingham. Even though the Nats could pair Werth along with Willingham and Nyjer Morgan in the outfield, they're expected to deal the left fielder as two sides can't agree on a contract extension. (Doesn't seem like Willingham is too pleased about that development in the picture...)

That could open up Willingham to join the Red Sox. Another avenue for the BoSox to pursue is spending their remaining dollars on relievers instead of an outfielder and going with Jacoby Ellsbury in left and Mike Cameron in center.

UPDATE : The Orioles are in the hunt for Willingham as well, reports Ben Goessling of MASN .

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: November 18, 2010 11:07 pm

Thursday evening 11/18 rumor roundup

Hot Stove League With the GM meetings over, things have settled down -- but only a little bit.
  • Want a young, cost-controllable starting pitcher? Yeah, who doesn't? That's why the Rockies have made Jhoulys Chacin off limits, so don't bother asking. Back up the Brinks truck for Tyler Matzek and Christian Friedrich too, says Troy Renck of the Denver Post .
  • Speaking of Renck, he reports that Jorge de la Rosa won't wait around for Cliff Lee to pick a destination. Yes, it reduces de la Rosa's leverage by not waiting, but if de la Rosa gets what he wants, the lefty will move quickly.
  • Junichi Tazawa paved the way for Japanese amateur ballplayers, and Kazuya Takano and Kazuki Nishijima are more than happy with that paving as the two have joined the Dodgers organization, reports the Los Angeles Times .
  • Evan had Carl Pavano heading to the Brewers in his free-agent prediction piece . Uh, not so much, as the Brewers will look for pitching through trades and not free agency as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reveals.

    But not so fast. Cafardo reveals that the Brewers and Nationals are the frontrunners for Pavano. Who to believe...
  • Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com brings Red Sox goodness, noting that Marco Scutaro could be traded with six teams interested. Boston wants middle relief for Scoot. You have to think that if Scutaro walks, the Red Sox would install Jed Lowrie at shortstop and stop this Lowrie-at-third foolishness.
  • Oh, and closer Jonathan Papelbon wants a $2.15 million raise to $12.5 million as Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes. Only in baseball can you get a multimillion dollar raise for your worst year yet. But Papelbon will be getting a raise, and continue to be one of the more overpaid closers in the game.
  • The Nationals seem unlikely to offer outfielder Josh Willingham a contract extension. Among one of the better sluggers in the game, Willingham will command a pricey extension and Washington doesn't seem terribly interested in entertaining that notion -- or even having Willingham on the team. A source tells MLB.com that Willingham will be moved before the 2011 season.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 11, 2010 4:29 pm

Braves looking for low-cost outfielders

Davis The Braves need an outfielder (if not more than one), and may target Pat Burrell to fill that void as MLB.com reports .

The problem is that Burrell may be too expensive for Atlanta, which is working with limited funds. With a desire to go after a right-handed hitter as the lineup is already deep in lefties, that limits the Braves' options -- but not completely.

Two names that Mark Bowman of MLB.com throws out there are Oakland's Rajai Davis and Washington's Josh Willingham.

Davis (pictured) looks to be squeezed out of Oakland thanks to the trade for David DeJesus, and it's possible that the A's could choose to simply nontender Davis, who stole 50 bases last season.

Davis could leadoff for the Braves with that kind of speed, but the problem is that Davis had a .320 OBP in 2010, down from 2009's .360.  Given Davis received a full season of at-bats in 2010 and only 390 in 2009, 2010 looks to be the more certain trend moving forward.

Alas, as Bowman notes, Atlanta's limited options and funds may require they acquire an outfielder that has a wart or two. With that in mind, Davis could work out nicely for Atlanta as someone who brings speed and who has a chance to revert back to his 2009 numbers of .305/.360/.423.

Davis is eligible for arbitration and figures to make over $2 million after playing for $1.35 million in 2010. The Braves could choose to sweat out Oakland and hope he is non-tendered when the arbitration deadline rolls around, but Davis remains cheap enough and valuable enough that some team would likely jump at the chance to acquire him in a trade.

Willingham, meanwhile, loves it in Washington and wants to stay, but the Nats may choose to deal him in advance of his pending free agency after 2011. Willingham would cost significantly more than Davis in a deal and has a reputation as an injury-prone player. However, Atlanta has seen plenty of Willingham thanks to his playing for Washington and previously, the Marlins and may want to import the slugger to do the damage to other teams for a change.

In free agency, right-handed bats that could fit include Jermaine Dye (who has already heard from three teams on returning to the bigs), Bill Hall, Marcus Thames, or even Magglio Ordonez.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 21, 2010 5:07 pm

Willingham would like to stay with Nats

Josh Willingham If the Nationals are smart, they'll sign Josh Willingham to a long-term deal, agent Matt Sosnick said Thursday.

"He's going to [be] an incredibly successful free agent after this year," Sosnick told the Washington Post . "But it's totally in their hands. We will defer to what they want to do. That's the process. We respect that. If they want to do a one-year deal, we'll do a one-year deal."

Willingham is due for his final year of arbitration and the Nationals may not want to commit long-term dollars to the left fielder?


Because Willingham has played in 102, 133 and 114 games respectively the last three seasons as the slugger develops a reputation for being injury-prone. He required left knee surgery in mid-August that ended his season after bashing 16 home runs in 370 at-bats as a 31-year-old. His career OPS .841, so he can help pretty much any team and was only traded by the Marlins due to hitting arbitration. That deal in retrospect looks poor, as Willingham's salary has remained very reasonable and his production has remained at a high level.

With his blend of plate discipline and power and improved defense, he should be a sexy name on the market should it get that far. But Willingham doesn't want it to.

"I think that if he had his druthers, he'd sign a deal that took him through this year and into the next couple years," Sosnick said. "He loves it there. If he had his druthers, he'd finish his career in Washington."

Willingham's salary in arbitration is likely to hit the $6 million figure after making $4.6 million in 2010. With that raise, he may also be asked to switch positions to first base. The Nats are unlikely to bring Adam Dunn back and may want someone with strong defense in left field, not merely adequate like Willingham's. The ex-Marlin came up through the minors playing third so should be able to handle a switch.

"He'd be open to doing anything he could for the team," Sosnick said. "They could use him out of the bullpen."

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .
Category: MLB
Posted on: August 17, 2010 7:48 pm

Willingham may be done for year

Josh Willingham Josh Willingham was having the best season of his career at the All-Star break, but quickly developed pain in his left knee that has now knocked the outfielder out for the remainder of the year, reports Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post .

"It's almost a certainty he's going to have season-ending surgery next week," agent Matt Sosnick said of Willingham's meniscus. "They want him to clean it up so he can come in fresh for the season next year."

The 31-year-old is hitting .268/.389/.459 on the year in 450 plate appearances which isn't far off from his career numbers, but pale in comparison to his numbers from the first half of the year: .281/.411/.502 with 15 dingers in 348 plate appearances. He is just .225/.314/.326 since the festivities at Angel Stadium.

The rehab time necessary to repair Willingham is six-to-eight weeks, so the righty should be able to begin spring training with no restrictions in what will be his final year of arbitration before becoming a free agent.

"Everyone knows, when he's healthy and playing well, he's great," Sosnick said. "He still has a strong desire to sign a long-term deal with Washington if they are interested."

The Nats will certainly wait and let Willingham's bat do the talking in 2011 to ensure he comes back with no restrictions before engaging on long-term contract extensions. Acquired from the Marlins prior to the 2009 season, Willingham has been one of Washington's most potent bats during a transition that has seen them turn from doormats to a solid club with a bright future.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.
Category: MLB
Posted on: July 20, 2010 7:18 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2010 7:23 pm

Reds make offer for Isringhausen

Jason Isringhausen The Reds have offered Jason Isringhausen a contract, reports John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer .

"Izzy" threw at Great American Ballpark before Reds executives on Tuesday, and clearly the brass were impressed enough to send out an offer.

Isringhausen is best known for being one of the game's best closers from 2000-2007, all but two seasons with the Cardinals. He began his closing career with the Athletics and racked up 272 saves and a 2.81 ERA over 490 games.

Isringhausen last pitched in 2009, with a brief nine-game stint with the Rays. He posted a 2.25 ERA before undergoing Tommy John surgery -- this after going down in late 2008 with a torn flexor tendon.

Reds GM Walt Jocketty, who acquired and presided over Isringhausen while with the Cardinals, says that the club is currently waiting for a response from Isringhausen's camp.

Jocketty did caution that Isringhausen won't be an immediate savior.

"He’ll have to go through spring training," Jocketty said. "He had his surgery the same time as [Edinson] Volquez. The difference is Volquez had the luxury of working out with a team with that scrutiny. Izzie been working out on his own."

If Isringhausen, 36, is looking for inspiration on a recovery from TJ surgery at such an advanced age, he only has to look to his possible teammate in Arthur Rhodes, who went under the knife in the beginning of 2007 when 37. Rhodes made his first All-Star team in 2010 and currently has a 1.46 ERA in 37 innings.

Jocketty has been busy building relief depth by signing veteran relievers. Russ Springer was just brought into the fold, another player Jocketty acquired while with the Cardinals. Seems like a pattern emerging of Jocketty bringing back former relievers he once had on his squad.

Who's next, Dennis Eckersley?

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com