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A Review of the Josh Willingham Trade from Washington to Oakland

Josh Willingham photo taken from Google Images

The Washington Nationals sent Josh Willingham to the Oakland Athletics for Henry Rodriguez and Corey Brown. This is in response to the Nationals getting Jayson Werth as a free agent earlier in the winter.

Willingham will be a free agent after next year, so there isn’t that much risk. He could be up for a contract extension with the A’s, but that is still to be seen. He has spent the last two year in our nations capital. In those two years he hit .263 with 40 homers and 117 runs batted in combined in 247 games.  He hit two grand slams for the Nationals on 7/17/09, becoming the 13th player to do so.

Josh was traded to the Nationals from the Florida Marlins with whom he was drafted in the 17th round of the 2000 draft. He spent five year in Miami, hitting a combined .266 with 63 homers and 219 runs batted in.

He came up through the Marlins system primarily as a third baseman. The fish moved him to catcher for awhile then out to the outfield.

The Nationals received Henry Rodriguez as one of the players in return for Willingham. Well Rodriguez, a pitcher, can fire the ball 100+mph. He just needs to find the plate. Yes, last year he found the plate more than before, so hopefully he is learning. In Sacramento last year he went 0-2 with a 1.69 era in 20 games as their closer. He had 11 saves in 17 games finished. He pitched 21.1 innings, only giving up 10 hits and 4 earned runs. Rodriguez walked nine and struck out 31. This was his second year in Sacramento, as he went 2-1 with a 5.77 era in 37 games in 09.

It hasn’t been the same in the majors as he is still learning to pitch off of the fastball. Last year he went 1-0 with a 4.55 era in 29 games for the A’s. He struck out 33 in 27.2 innings, with 13 walks. He spent a lot of the time going back and forth between Sacramento and Oakland these last couple of years. He is a converted starter. He was starting games as recently as 2008 in AA Midland.

Corey Brown was the second player involved in the deal that went to the Nationals. He is a former first round pick of the Athletics (59th overall) in the 2007 draft out of Oklahoma State University. He was a compensation pick for the loss of Barry Zito. His career has been marred with injuries. In 2008 he hurt his shoulder, and fouled a ball off of his knee. Hopefully he is finally healthy, but only time will tell for sure.

Last year he spent the majority of it in AA Midland, where he hit .320 in his second time around the league. This time as a 24 year old. He hit 10 homers and had 49 runs batted in, playing 90 games. He stole 19 bases out of 20 attempts. He had actually started the year in AAA Sacramento before losing his spot on the roster due to, too many outfielders. In Sacramento he hit .193 in 41 games in his first attempt at AAA pitching. He had five homers and 20 runs batted in.

The year before, 2008 he was in Midland. He hit .268 with nine homers and 43 runs batted in, playing in 66 games. The one thing on Brown is he has struck out 443 times in his career in 390 games, while walking 185. He has 65 homers and 48 stolen bases in that time also.

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