Billy Beane has done his best to add power to an A’s lineup that was nearly worst in the American League each of the past three seasons. And today, he not only acquired a power hitter in Josh Willingham, but an on-base machine as well. As we’ve witnessed nearly every off-season when it comes to the A’s, it’s been a huge struggle attracting big name free agents to the Bay Area, or at least one side of the Bay Area. And as Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post tweeted today, a contract extension may very well be possible. Thus, my question is, can the A’s lock up Josh Wilingham after acquiring him in the same off-season a la Dan Uggla? If so, what will it cost the A’s?
Willingham has made nearly $10MM in his Major League career. The most he was paid in a season was obviously in ’10, $4.6MM. The career .265 hitter has a .378 on base percentage over the past two seasons, his two years on the Washington Nationals and although his UZR is -10.0 over the last two seasons, he can boast about a 5.2 WAR over his aforementioned cup of tea with the Nats.
There’s one close to perfect comparison for Willingham. That would be Corey Hart.
Corey is perhaps the best comparable for Willingham. Both are very similar players and Hart is being paid $6.5MM in ’11, $9MM in ’12, and $10MM in ’13. That’s exactly what I would pay Josh Willingham over the next 3 years. Willingham gets on base more than Hart, but both have very similar power and are both equally not so spectacular defenders, as their respective UZR’s over the past two years would suggest. Josh Willingham has hit .264 over the past two years while Hart has hit a very similar .262. With all of that said, Willingham has a higher runs created and weighted on base average during his Nationals stint, something that Billy Beane surely has in mind. Both strike out the same amount (JW 23% and CH 22.9%) and are equally slow, hence their lousy play in the outfield.
Here’s a WAR Graph comparing the duo’s cumulative WAR by age, courtesy of Fangraphs.
Furthermore, what will an extension for the A’s newly acquired left fielder cost? He is three years older than Hart, but continues to outplay the Brewers slugger.
Personally, I think a 3 year deal worth $28MM would be fair. Being paid $6MM in ’11, $9MM in ’12, and $13MM in ’13. Willingham has shown tremendous improvement since being traded from the Marlins along with Scott Olsen in exchange for Emilio Bonifacio and two minor leaguers. Even if an extension doesn’t go through or get decided upon, the A’s have a much improved lineup for the 2011 season headlined by new acquisitions David DeJesus and Hideki Matsui. Not to mention another year of experience for Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez, and Dallas Braden to go along with a fantastic bullpen which is highlighted by Andrew Bailey, Craig Breslow, and Brad Ziegler. Continuing, I really like the A’s chances in 2011 and most of my confidence in their chances to win the division come from the new acquisition and this entry’s centric, Josh Willingham.
These are 20 facts that you didn’t know. Trust me, you definetly didn’t know. Not that these are in any order, but you can rank them for yourself. I think all are equally interesting. Enjoy!
Matt Kemp had a -0.24 UZR in 2010. Horrible season for Matt Kemp. I’m not going to say that Ned Colletti and the Dodgers management pressure didn’t have anything to do with this, but if he didn’t have that final week surge, he might be jealous of Melky Cabrera’s season.
Alexi Casilla has had the last AB of the regular season 2 out of the last 3 seasons. Good news is the one of those was a walk off that got his team, the Twins, in to the postseason, but the other was a game ending fly out that got the White Sox in to the postseason.
Ray King holds the record for most consecutive games without issuing an intentional walk. One of my favorite pitchers of all time. Not that this stat is found in record books or in the Hall of Fame, but I thought you’d be interested in knowing this.
Joe Inglett threw a knuckle ball at 54 MPH this season, and recorded an out. According to Fangraphs, this is true, but he can thank his incredible pitching staff for making that possible.
Darren Oliver was the first American league pitcher to pitch to a National league batter not including the world series or All-Star game. Ironically, this game was a matchup between the Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants.
The 1990 Twins executed 2 triple plays in a game. If anybody was wondering, I don’t think Bengie Molina was on the opposing team. Perhaps the turf at the Metrodome helped the Twins fielders out.
Johnny Burnett, in 1932, got 9 hits in a game. Cesar Izturis should take note. Even though this game was 18 innings, 9 hits is nearly impossible. I guess they didn’t believe in intentional walks back then.
Zack Greinke in 2010 was 11th in WAR among qualified pitchers. His value is extremely high which is something people don’t realize. He is in line to bring at least 2 superstar players back to KC plus two other extremely good young players.
The only time in history that two sets of siblings played in the same infield in the same game were the Larkin’s and the Boone’s in the mid 90’s. On a side note, Al Leiter was once scheduled to face his brother on the Phillies, Marc, but a rainout thought differently
The Texas Rangers selected both Anthony Ranaudo and Drew Pomeranz in the 2007 draft, both of whom obviously did not sign. Most of that draft for the Rangers was used to acquire Cliff Lee, Christian Guzman, and Bengie Molina. I do have a feeling though that signing Pomeranz and Ranuado would have been a tad smart.
Before every game, umpires must rub around 6 dozen balls to get rid of the shine off the balls. This is obviously so Ken Macha wont march out of the dugout and ask the umpires, who are apparently shoe polish experts, to determine if there is polish on the ball, which isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Justin Upton, Ryan Zimmerman, Mark Reynolds B.J. Upton, and David Wright all played for the same high school team at the same time. That’s like 8474683 home runs every game right?
The Cleveland Indians’ 1999 draft produced only 3 players who have gone on to play Major League Baseball; Jeff Baker, Fernando Cabrera, and Ben Francisco. All of the others are what we call “duds” and this draft was widely considered the worst draft by a single team in MLB history.
B.J. Upton’s real name is “Melvin Emmanuel Upton.” This is just me, but M.E. Upton doesn’t exactly have that ring to it.
Kila Ka’aihue has a brother in the A’s organization, Kala Ka’aihue. Kala was a dominant minor league first baseman back in 2006 but everything went downhill from there
When Charlie Kerfeld, whose uniform number was 37, learned that Jim Deshaies had signed for $110,000 in 1987. He asked for and received $110,037.37 plus 37 boxes of orange Jell-O.
A “shuuto”, a Japanese gyroball type pitch, is a backward slider, which is horrible for the elbow but used prominently by japanese pitchers. Dice-K apparently throws one, as does Hisashi Iwakuma. Japanese pitchers though have 10 pitches in their arsenal though I wouldn’t be surprised to see even more have a history of throwing one.
As part of his contract, Tim Beckham had to personalize every Baseball that he signs. On the other hand, Hanley Ramirez is not allowed to sweetspot any ball he signs.
Ryan Ludwick and Cody Ross are the only two players in Major League Baseball who bat right and throws left. You would expect there to be more, but I bet there are more left handed batters who throw right.
Kauffman Stadium has the second largest jumbo-tron in sports. Which venue has the largest? Well your going to have to figure it out yourself, I don’t give answers away like that, but it rhymes with Schmallas Schmowboys Stadium.