A’s Acquire Josh Willingham

The A's have acquired Josh Willingham from the Nationals for right-hander Henry Rodriguez and minor league outfielder Corey Brown, the teams announced.

ESPN.com's Buster Olney reported that a deal was in place (on Twitter) after Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the sides were in serious discussions about a trade. 

The A's will now feature Willingham, Coco Crisp and David DeJesus in their outfield with Ryan Sweeney and Conor Jackson available off the bench. Willingham, DeJesus and Hideki Matsui should provide the A's offense with some extra thump. Oakland ranked 11th in the American League in runs scored and 13th in the league in home runs in 2010.

Willingham earned $4.6MM in 2010 and will go to arbitration one last time this winter before hitting free agency after the 2011 season. The 31-year-old batted .268/.389/.459 in 450 plate appearances last year before he went on the disabled list and underwent left knee surgery.

Though Willingham is less than a year away from free agency, he would be open to an extension with the A's, according to Rosenthal (on Twitter).

Rodriguez, 23, pitched 27 2/3 innings for the A's this year, posting a 4.55 ERA with 10.7 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9. He has posted exceptional strikeout numbers (11.6 K/9) and an alarming walk rate (6.6 BB/9) throughout his minor league career, but started walking fewer batters in 2010. According to Baseball America's preseason report, Rodriguez can hit 100 mph and could become a major league closer.

Brown, a supplementary first round pick in 2007, batted .283/.370/.466 in the upper minors this year. The 25-year-old had 15 homers, 11 triples, 18 doubles and 22 steals. Baseball America noted before the season that Brown has five-tool potential and gap-to-gap power. Baseball America didn't rank Brown among Oakland's top ten prospects earlier in the month, but he placed 12th when BA ranked the Athletics' prospects heading into the 2010 season.


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