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Willingham Pittsburgh Bound?

July 17, 2011

Buster Olney has often tweeted potential trade rumors that seemingly come out of thin air but with the Pittsburgh Pirates (yes, the Pittsburgh Pirates) one game off the pace beginning play today in the NL Central with a 48-44 record they are buyers and allegedly they’re interested in our Josh Willingham. He tweets,

“The Pirates are evaluating Josh Willingham, as possible trade target, and they’ve been in contact with Oakland.”

The Pirates system has a lot of arms, but not too many bats which is the need for the A’s. I don’t think Willingham will command anything short of a marginal prospect in return. So far Willingham is in the midst of his worst offensive season since being in the pros. He is hitting .247/.322/.439 for the A’s, but lest you think that is due to his hitting in the spacious Coliseum, he actually has mixed results hitting .244/.309/.480 in Oakland with seven of his twelve home runs being at home. Willingham projects to be a Type-B free-agent so assuming the A’s hold onto him and were to offer him arbitration (which wouldn’t necessarily be the worst move, nor a potentially costly one as Willingham is just not putting it together like he or the A’s had hoped this year) the A’s could get a supplemental draft pick – assuming the CBA isn’t changed in that respect. This provides some value to any team that receives him in a trade, particularly a small-market club like Pittsburgh aggressively building for the future while hoping to contend today. Also Pittsburgh has a unique incentive to just finish above .500 as psychologically that would do a lot for a franchise that hasn’t had a winning season since 1992, which perhaps makes their addition of talent slightly different than a team that is shooting for a World Championship, so Willingham’s potential Type-B status and impending free agency may make him even more attractive.

While no deal appears imminent, Willingham’s moving does. With two weeks until the non-waiver trade deadline, it appears his time in Oakland is quickly coming to an end with rumors linking him with the Braves, Phillies and now Pirates.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2011 2:30 pm

    i’d be very surprised if the phils jumped on this one. they’re struggling (for them) offensively, but the last thing they need is a subpar slugger. their outfield is definitely not super strong, but i can’t imagine willingham is the kind of player they’d pick up. the pirates seem much more likely.

    • July 18, 2011 11:14 am

      It is interesting, Pirates blogs all view Willingham as a backup outfielder, it is near unanimous. I think Willingham is a great addition for any NL club because even if you don’t use him as a starter, with how many pinch-hitters they use, he is a great asset coming off the bench late in a game.

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