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The New CBA’s Impact on Josh Willingham

November 23, 2011

While I’d like to go further in depth on the many changes that the new collective bargaining agreement has on the sport and specifically on the Oakland A’s for the purpose of this post, largely because I write it sitting at a gate at Las Vegas’ beautiful McCarran Airport on limited battery power (but surprisingly fast free WiFi), I will just focus on how it effects Josh Willingham as that impact happens today. Under the new CBA, the Elias Rankings are gone, rankings under which Willingham was a Type-A free-agent which meant a signing team would lose a draft pick, and the A’s would acquire one.’s Tim Dierkes explains that Willingham is one of several free-agents who under the new system,

“will not cost a draft pick for their new teams if they turn down arbitration offers, yet the former teams still receive two picks.”


“Instead of players being designated as Type A based on lame statistics chosen by MLB and the players union decades ago, it’ll just be a question of whether the former team offers a guaranteed one-year contract with a salary equal to the average salary of the 125-highest paid players from the prior season.  That seems to equal $12.4MM at present, but it’ll surely rise each year.  The bottom line: a team has to be willing to risk a sizeable one-year commitment to have a shot at draft pick compensation.”

With Willingham likely seeking a multi-year contract – and with evidence suggesting he won’t have trouble finding it – it seems likely the A’s will offer him arbitration and that he will decline resulting in Oakland acquiring two picks (though it is unclear exactly where these picks will be, my guess is both at the end of the first round sometime). That is big news, but other big news is that there is no longer any free agent type equivalent to a Type-B any longer meaning the A’s no longer can offer David DeJesus arbitration and receive compensation for him once he decides to go elsewhere. In the end it seems the A’s actually lose a draft pick now due to the new CBA. The deadline for the A’s to offer Willingham arbitration is 9PM tonight Pacific Time – I fully anticipate they will.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. dKim permalink
    November 23, 2011 12:25 pm

    I hope they offer it to him and he takes it. All wishful thinking aside. I hope they don’t botch the 2 draft picks. We still need at least 1 proven stick next year to make our team watchable. I remember sitting in the stands watching Zuk (& I LOVE Zuk) or almost anyone else on the A’s w/ 2 outs at the plate saying “home run time” but thinking “damn, here come out # 3″… I think that if they actually try and sign Willingham, they won’t lose as much money as they think. They’ll have someone to play LF & DH & the fans won’t complain so much about Carter @ DH & Sweeney & the other rookies they trot onto the field. Plus, he will draw in some fans to offset his salary compared to whoever else would replace him. Also, he’s great for publicity. He has his foundation, he has decent stats, he is a good veteran presence in the clubhouse, his wife isn’t bad to look at, he has a good nickname (now I’m just reaching…)

    • November 24, 2011 11:35 am

      I can’t see any scenario in which he accepts it as he surely will have the opportunity to sign a longer deal elsewhere but that would a nice surprise. He was indeed offered arbitration which was not unexpected. I don’t know how I feel about his value on a three-year deal though, I just think he is set up to be a big albatross that last year. I think I’d feel alright with him for two years, but even then at what looks like it could be a 12-15M/yr sort of proposition… I don’t know, seems like it could be spent on a more versatile player who better fills a need. I just don’t see Willingham as having value as a left fielder and still hold out home some combination of Allen/Carter/Ka’aihue can do a good job at DH.

  2. November 23, 2011 1:19 pm

    No citation because I forgot where I read it, but I had heard that one pick will be in the normal sandwich round and the other pick that the other team used to give up would occur right before the other team’s first round pick. So everyone after the team making the signing would have their picks bumped back one spot and the first round would have more picks than teams.

    • November 24, 2011 11:36 am

      Interesting. Still getting my understanding wrapped around this whole CBA as both Willingham AND DeJesus were offered arbitration and I thought now that there’d be no point in offering DeJesus arbitration from a picks standpoint at least.

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