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Breslow and Willingham to Pirates?

July 20, 2011

Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweeted that a move may be in the works between Oakland and Pittsburgh that would send both LHP Craig Breslow and OF Josh Willingham to the Steel City.  His tweet read,

“#Pirates mulling possible swap with A’s for LHP Craig Breslow and OF Josh Willingham. OF Garrett Jones likely would be out the door.”

Breslow has done a great job for the A’s this year in the pen, putting up 7.0 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 leading to a 3.24 ERA and 3.17 FIP. Unlike many left-handed relievers his splits look good and he can face both right-handed and left-handed hitters alike without one spelling the end of any chance at winning.  For the Pirates looking to add a bat and reliever, Breslow would be a much needed southpaw reliever while Willingham would seemingly add some pop to their lineup. It is unclear what sort of talent the Pirates would need to send back in return as neither Breslow or Willingham would represent a major financial commitment for the Pirates who are now drawing far more fans to PNC Park though it does seem that Garrett Jones would be part of what is coming back if I read Biertempfel’s tweet correctly.

Jones, a 30 year old left-handed hitter, would provide some of the power Oakland seeks in the short-term but would seem a silly acquisition for the Athletics who need a guy who can provide power beyond 2011 while staying cost-controlled. Jones’ .237 batting average and .325 OBP would be a match for the low numbers other A’s are posting but his .415 SLG and .178 ISO would stand out. He has been worth 1.0 WAR so far this year and hit 21 home runs in each of the last two seasons (with nine so far this year he is off that pace). If the A’s do indeed acquire Jones, I would hope they could flip him elsewhere or view him as more of a backup player for 2012, he has ample MLB experience in left field, right field and at first base.

Breslow’s value might be a little higher as well given that he would be under team control beyond 2011, though he is arbitration eligible. The Pirates have scouts at Comerica Park though their seating section seems filled as Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com reports that the sure-seller (and sure-cellar?) A’s reportedly had several scouts watching them yesterday. He writes,

“The Rangers, Orioles, Giants, Pirates, Blue Jays, Brewers and Reds had scouts at Tuesday’s game in Detroit.”

Furthermore, the Red Sox according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe also have discussed both Conor Jackson and Josh Willingham. Apparently Conor Jackson‘s affordable contract is drawing him attention despite the lack of results on his resume this year and in the past few seasons. I misread the market on CoJax who is looking more and more like he will be departing Oakland within the next eleven days as well.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2011 7:49 am

    If I am the Pirates, I make that deal yesterday.

    • July 21, 2011 8:45 am

      Interestingly from Pirates blogs they seem pretty nonplussed over Willingham. Haven’t read their reactions regarding Breslow yet. If I am Pittsburgh though I am with you, even if you use Willingham as a bench bat he’s good and Breslow is great. As an A’s fan I don’t want Garrett Jones really and would hope we get a few prospects coming back instead or in addition to at worst.

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