Numerous reports across the Internet are indicating that the Oakland Athletics have agreed to send two unnamed players to the Washington Nationals for outfielder Josh Willingham. The deal is still pending some final medical information, but appears good to go for the most part.
Editor's Update: The two players going to Washington are RHP Henry Rodriguez and minor league OF Corey Brown (Rosenthal)
Willingham would slot into left field, joining an outfield that already includes Coco Crisp and David DeJesus. While that’s not exactly a Murderer’s Row out there, it’s a fairly significant upgrade over what the A’s rolled out for much of last season. Last season Willingham hit .268/.389/.459 with 16 home runs and 56 RBIs in 114 games. He suffered a knee injury and did not play after August 15. As is often the case with A’s players, he’s a guy who has suffered through a variety of ailments and never played more than 144 games. Part of that is because of platooning, but coming off the injury, he’s one more brittle bone in the A’s outfield.
Of course, Oakland has some depth available to them in case of injury. Ryan Sweeney and Conor Jackson will likely be on the bench and available to rest any of the three starters. Additionally, Chris Carter, who I have been extremely high on since his strong close to 2010, will be around if and when one of the starters goes down with any kind of significant injury. It seems likely that Chris Carter will start the season in AAA, although I’d have to imagine a big time spring training could force the issue with the A’s.
Whatever the decision, the Athletics find themselves with considerably more offensive depth. It remains to be seen how this will all come together, but the offense is considerably improved from some of the options the A’s rolled out last season. Athletics Nation is fairly psyched about the addition, although as with any deal there is a mixed bag of opinions. It will make for an interesting 2011 for the Oakland Athletics.