Thursday, June 4, 2009

Let's make a deal: Josh Willingham

Okay, I know that official deadline trademongering doesn't happen until after the draft, but I figured I'd get ahead of the curve with some Nats candidates. First off is Josh Willingham, the current Nat who I think has the biggest chance of leaving. (Side note-he thinks 85% of American men have crapped their pants at some point in their life. Nice.)

OF/1B Josh Willingham-.252/.376/.550, 6 2B, 9 HR, 12 RBI, 18 R, 0.7 WAR
Who might be interested (in order of potential interest)?
Giants-Fred Lewis and Randy Winn are both nice players to have, but for a power-starved team, you can't afford to be starting two guys with sub-.420 SLG's in the outfield corners. Or, if they prefer, they can have Pablo Sandoval play 3B and Willingham at 1st, ridding the lineup of Juan Uribe. The Giants have the most holes in the lineup, but it all depends on whether or not they really think they want to compete this year. Trade possibility: LHP Clayton Tanner and SS Brian Bocock for Willingham. Tanner is in the 10-15 range of Giants prospects and has generally performed better than his stuff would otherwise indicate (scouting report). Bocock is a semi-local product (Harrisonburg, VA native) with a good glove and a no bat who could provide depth if Guzman is dealt or is hurt for a long period of time. To make things better, Deadspin is a fan of Bocock.

Braves-The Nate McLouth deal is a good step for solving their outfield woes, but it certainly doesn't fix them completely. Garrett Anderson, Jeff Francoeur and Jordan Schafer have all been pretty bad in the outfield this year, and I still think a Willingham to the Braves deal has a good shot of happening. Trade possibility: RHP Kris Medlen for Willingham. Asking for too much? Medlen's a good prospect (scouting report), and ML-ready, but the Braves also have Tommy Hanson coming up now. RHP James Parr could be worth a look as well, but the Nats would probably want another low-level prospect on top of that.

Mets-Let's face it-the Mets are simply not going to win the division starting any combination of Sheffield, Murphy, Tatis and Martinez. Sure, they're all nice in their own ways. Martinez is a future stud, but he has already proved to be not ML ready. Tatis and Murphy are nice bench players, but neither are hitting right now, especially at the level you'd want a corner infielder or outfielder to hit at. Sheffield has hit well so far, but he still sucks in the field and will not be able to keep up anywhere near his current pace all year. And when Church comes back, you can always count on him to get hurt again, so the Mets could really use Willingham. Gotta move quick with the Mets, though, as Carlos Delgado could be available around the All-Star Break. Trade possibility: the names RHP Bobby Parnell, RHP Eddie Kunz, LHP Jon Niese and LHP Michael Antonini have been thrown around, mainly because they're the Mets' only pitching prospects. I say shoot for Niese and prepare to settle for Kunz or Antonini. Kinda reluctant on Kunz-a lot of Mets fans seem to be pretty low on him (can't blame them, he's been ridiculously inconsistent, although brilliant at times). Parnell looks close to a lock to stay...maybe we can tilt the scales with Ron Villone! Scouting reports on Kunz, Parnell and Niese here.

Blue Jays-Between Lind, Wells, Rios and Overbay, they have 4 good hitters for 5 positions. Adding Willingham could give them a boost in LF or at DH to replace the likes of Kevin Millar, Jose Bautista and Joe Inglett. Top prospect Travis Snider couldn't quite cut it yet in his first 32 games, so look for Toronto to look elsewhere so he can get a full year in at AAA. Trade possibility: Not sure there's a whole lot of matching up that can be done. The Blue Jays have some top-flight talent and some low-level talent, but not any of the B/B- range guys the Nats would want for Willingham. Maybe LHP Brad Mills would do-he looks like John Lannan part 2 (scouting report...and no, I'm not targeting LHP on purpose).

Tigers-Jeff Larish bounced from ML to AAA to ML and hit fairly well when called up, but has struggled since, going .226/.375/.290 since May 14 (40 PA). The Tigers have a lot of OF's (Clete Thomas, Josh Anderson, etc.) but none are particularly good. They could use The Hammer. Trade possibility: SS Cale Iorg seems like too much to ask for, but he's the kind of guy the Nats should target. Most likely possibility would be to piece together a few C+ pitching prospects like RHP Casey Fien or RHP Chris Lambert.

Red Sox-Doubtful IMO, as the Sox would probably rather take their lumps with Big Papi. Willingham's relatively low salary (compared to, say, Dunn) might make him a little bit attractive to the Sox, but I don't think they'll come up with the best offer if they make one at all. Trade possibility: RHP Stolmy Pimentel and SS Oscar Tejeda strike my fancy. Problem with the Sox is that, while they have a nice system, most of the guys in our talent range were 2008 draftees. And that all of their fans will propose trades like Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn and the rights to Stephen Strasburg for Takashi Saito and Brad Penny.

Royals-With Coco Crisp on the Bereavement list and a starting outfield of Dejesus-Maier-Guillen, now is the time to make a deal with the Royals. They have a strange amount of shifting that can be done with their players (mainly becuase Mark Teahen can play everything), but nobody in their outfield is particularly good, or at least not in 2009. Since they're only 5.5 games out, I can see them making a move. Trade possibility: RHP Blake Wood would be nice, but I doubt the Royals would part with more than a pair of C/C+ prospects like Smolinski and Dean were. OF Adrian Ortiz, maybe?

Reds-They've got two nice OF right now in Nix and Bruce, but a combination of Dickerson and Taveras is pretty bad. Add on the recent Votto DL addition and you have a current need. I don't think the Reds are anywhere near the top of the need list, but Willingham could bring stability to their lineup and bench when the inevitable injuries occur. Trade possibility: Same deal as the Royals-we'd be more likely to get a handful of low level prospects rather than one decent one...OF Dan Dorn intrigues me, as does LHP Matt Maloney.

White Sox-Only if Carlos Quentin's injury takes a turn for the worse. Since Ozzie Guillen seems to think he'll be ready within a week or so, don't count on it. Trade possibility: It would have to be a really low-ceiling guy like RHP Jeff Marquez for the White Sox to want to bite.

There are my ideas for the Hammer. What do you guys think-am I asking for too much or too little or just enough? Right positions? Right ages? Comment away, and I'll come up with my next on the list soon! Follow the "Let's make a deal" series here.


  1. Hey Sean good list, but Charlie Morton was part of the Braves deal for Nate McLouth so he's off the table. I do think Giants and Braves are the top options.

  2. Heh, that's what I get for writing at 2 in the morning, thanks for the heads up!

  3. All good, but I think the Jays want Nick Johnson from what I hear...What I really want to know is if Willingham will play this week or go on the DL?


Please leave your questions and/or comments here and I'll get back to you ASAP!