Josh Willingham hopes to sign a multiyear deal with the Nationals, agent Matt Sosnick told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post (Twitter link). Sosnick and the Nats agreed on a $4.6MM salary for 2010 back in January; this marks the second of three arbitration years for Willingham. He's under team control through the 2011 season.
Willingham, 31, has a career line of .266/.364/.481 in 2,181 plate appearances. He's been consistent, as he's had a similar line in each of his four full seasons. UZR suggests his left field defense has been slightly below-average. FanGraphs' Dave Cameron made a case that Willingham is a very similar player to Jason Bay, aside from their health records.
Will the Nationals commit to Willingham? Back in January GM Mike Rizzo admitted he had been close on a couple of deals, presumably for young starters, but added, "we're in no hurry to trade Willingham."
I think the Willingham/Bay comparison is fair–however, that doesn’t mean Willingham deserves Bay money. Bay doesn’t even deserve Bay money.
This, I agree with.
Good to hear. Maybe I can start writing some Mets articles for you. *wink*
Hammer certainly has a fair amount of negotiating room for the moment because the Nationals have nothing in the minors in terms of legitmate outfield prospects. The only prayer they have is Michael Burgess striking out with aplomb with suspect defense in high A Potomac. I think the Nats would like to resign Hammer and should resign Hammer for a respectable 3 year deal that pays him something like the 8Mil per that Kearns was going to get when they thought he was going to be a player.
But I also think they should wait until after this season to do that. Hammer’s health is an issue. Also, they don’t know how their pitching inventory will pan out. There are scenarios where the Detweiler, Zimmermann, and Stammen pan out where they can trade guys like Marquis and Wang for the type of outfield prospects they need to give them more leverage. Or none of the young guys could pan out and they will need to sign another free agent pitcher more than Willingham.
I think the Nats also need to see what happens with Dunn who is currently a defensive experiment in the midst of a power outage in the final year of his deal. I’m hoping the Nats make a trade for a RF at some point this season as well.
Semi-related, how is Bryce Harper’s defense? I know Willingham came up as a C, but was eventually moved to corner OF because of his suspect defense behind the plate. I wonder if the same could happen if the Nats draft Bryce Harper.
he seems more like a poor man’s jayson werth since he doesn’t have Werth’s defensive value and speed. I am not sure I’d want to commit to this type of player for more than 8 mil over 2 years given how the market for free agent outfielders has been. He’d be someone I’d probably let him walk in his free agent year…but as long as they can keep a reasonable agreement through his arbitration years might as well hold on to him until then.