Oakland continued to re-shape their offense to complement their solid young pitching, agreeing on a trade with Washington for Josh Willingham. According to tweets from both ESPN's Buster Olney who broke word of the deal, and Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal who has the details of the Nats return, the deal was reached earlier today. The Nationals pick up reliever Henry Rodriguez and minor-league outfielder Corey Brown.
Willingham continues his time in offensively starved environs. Beginning in Florida and moving to DC after 2008, he's consistently put up solid if unspectacular numbers at the plate. Oakland is equally inhospitable, but the A's are counting on an approximation of the .265/.367/.475 career batting line he has posted over eight big-league seasons. In 2010, he played a total of 114 games for the Nationals, mostly in left field and put up a .268/.389/.459 line. That output was better than any other Oakland hitter in the recently completed season.
Rodriguez will be 24 next season and has parts of two big-league seasons in which he has been used entirely in relief. In his 31.2 innings with the A's, he's shown good strikeout ability. That follows some exceptional punch out numbers in the minors. For his minor league-career he's notched 11.6 strikeouts for every nine innings pitched. His ERA though at both levels has yet to catch up to the heat he's throwing past hitters, with a 4.55 number in 2010.
Brown, though a career minor leaguer, is older than Rodriguez and will be 25. He fits the tweener profile, a bat that plays better in center, but a glove more suited for a corner outfield spot. For his career he has hit .272/.359/.497 in 390 games.
This is Oakland's second big batting acquisition this week, after they signed Hideki Matsui to a one-year, $4.25 million contract on Tuesday. Earlier in the offseason, the A's swung a deal with the Royals for David DeJesus. The moves should They had been very interested in signing Adrian Beltre, but the free agent's interest has been lukewarm at best.
Joe Tetreault is Managing Editor of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He can be contacted here through The Biz of Baseball
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