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Pirates, Athletics considering a Josh Willingham trade

Jul 20, 2011, 2:04 PM EDT

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The contending Pirates could use a bat, and one bat that always seems to be available at trade deadline time is Josh Willingham.  According to  Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Athletics and Pirates are talking about him. In such a deal, Willingham and Craig Breslow would come to Pittsburgh, with Garrett Jones going to Oakland. It’s unclear if anyone else would head west.

Willingham is having a bit of a down year, hitting .244/.321/.434 with 12 homers.  Breslow has likewise taken a step back this season, sporting a 1.530 WHIP, which is way up from career norms. Jones — hitting .237/.325/.415 has been no great shakes either, though it seems more and more obvious as time goes on that these are, in fact, his legitimate shakes and that the brilliant half-season he put up in 2009 was something of a fluke.

  1. APBA Guy - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    I have my doubts about this trade, not because I would retain either Willingham or Breslow, but Garrett Jones doesn’t fit the A’s needs. He’s 30, a career .776 OPS, no upside, but he is cheap: only $ 455k compared to $ 7.4M for Breslow and Willingham. Breslow’s 30 so he could rebound. Willingham is 32 with a career OPS of .833. Mostly in the NL. But this year he’s at .755 in Oakland’s big ballpark. So, Pirates fans, is he an upgrade?

    • spudchukar - Jul 20, 2011 at 2:58 PM

      Lateral move for Oakland that saves cash. Perhaps for reinvestment later. Pirates need a righty outfielder, so it makes sense in that respect, but it is hard to see how this move puts them over the top unless Breslow has some kind of second half. Frustration for A’s fans as they acquire one more offensive disappointment.

    • clydeserra - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:04 PM

      right, Jones doesn’t make any sense.

  2. parlorboss - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    I think most Pirates fans would like to see Presley in RF when Tabata comes back (or maybe the other way around), so ideally Willingham would be another bench bat that can hit left-handed pitching. He doesn’t really fit the RF platoon with Diaz as well as Jones (because Diaz also hits lefties well, although he is not terrible against righties), but that said, I think he’s definitely an upgrade over Jones in terms of on-base percentage and power. With Breslow, a left-handed reliever, thrown in, I do that deal if I am Neil Huntington. If the A’s are also asking for prospects–anything more than a throw-in lower tier guy–I probably don’t do it because the upgrade really isn’t that significant.

    • parlorboss - Jul 20, 2011 at 3:09 PM

      To clarify, the “he” in the parenthetical refers to Willingham, not Diaz.

  3. joerevs300 - Jul 20, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    The fact we are even talking about the Pirates as BUYERS for the first time in 18 years makes this Pirates fan a very happy camper.

    Even if this doesn’t last (which is likely), it shows we are closer to turning the corner than I thought.

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