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Josh Willingham deciding between four interested teams

Dec 10, 2011, 10:49 PM EDT

willingham getty Getty Images

According to Nick Camino of WTAM 1100 in Cleveland, free agent outfielder Josh Willingham has narrowed his long list of suitors down to four teams: the Twins, Indians, Rockies and Mariners.

The Rays were also in the running at one point but may have backed away from the negotiating table during the Winter Meetings as Willingham’s asking price soared with an influx of interested teams.

Willingham, 32, batted .246/.332/.477 with 29 home runs and 98 RBI in 136 games this past year for the A’s. In a free agent market weak on productive outfielders, he may be able to land a three-year deal.

  1. hittfamily - Dec 10, 2011 at 11:47 PM

    Willingham is young, healthy, and expensive.

    Not a Rays FA signee.

    • hittfamily - Dec 11, 2011 at 5:51 AM

      For the people who keep thumbing me down, look at Tampa’s track record and then decide if I am right or wrong. For the sake of me not having to look up every relief pitcher signed since 2005, I will exclude bullpen arms for the following Rays free agency rules.

      Pat Burrell is the only multi year contract for a free agent in Friedman’s tenure.

      Pat Burrell is the only free agent signee under Friedman who wasn’t coming off a very down year caused by age or injury.

      Josh Willingham would be Friedman’s youngest FA signed to a ML contract.

      32 is a young FA singee who is a difference maker, but not a phenom.

      The more thumbs down I get, the dumber I realize the HBT readers are.

      • proudlycanadian - Dec 11, 2011 at 6:32 AM

        Last year, the Rays signed Damon and Manny who were much older than Willingham. hittfamily is absolutely correct.

    • paperlions - Dec 11, 2011 at 11:07 AM

      Willingham will be 33 before spring training, that is not young.

      • hittfamily - Dec 11, 2011 at 12:25 PM

        32/33 is a very young free agent. I’m getting tired of arguing this. Elite free agents are 29. Shitty free agents are 29. There is no shitty 32 year old free agent. There is no 32 year old elite free agent.

        They are either decent/incredible at this point in life. If they are incredible, they are locked up long term.. Wilingham is decent. He is probably the most likely to make an all-star game other than Fielder, and for the Ray’s, he would be the youngest FA they have signed in 7 years. He is a young FA, or is there something about team control locking up the best that posters here don’t understand?

        32 is young for an restricted free agent. Period.. 9-9-9

      • hittfamily - Dec 11, 2011 at 12:36 PM

        In easier terms for you to understand, name 15 other position players who will find a job this offseason. He is young, as far as FA goes.

  2. Ick McWang - Dec 11, 2011 at 12:13 AM

    32 isn’t young, but would have been a great pickup for the Rays had other teams not bid him up so high. Some team is going to overpay, I mean yes, he hit 29 homers at his age, but is more a 20 homer a year, 260 average guy. Decent, but there are others around if the money is getting crazy because some GM’s think a 32 year old will build on a career high season. Could happen, but I’d rather see the Rays land a major league ready prospect in a trade or bring up someone than a 32 year old we keep for a season or two.

    • hittfamily - Dec 11, 2011 at 12:40 AM

      As a Rays FA signee, 32 is extremely young. Pat Burrell, Jason Isringhousen, Johnny Damon, Man Ram, Troy Percival, Cliff Floyd.

      Tampa is the last stop for old, cheap, hurt, used-to-be’s who will retire to Florida anyways.

  3. stabonerichard - Dec 11, 2011 at 12:46 AM

    Josh Willingham is the white Nelson Cruz. Each got a relatively late start, and have durability issues, but both of those dudes can really hit.

    You put Cruz in the neutral parks Willingham has played in and stick Josh in the hitter-friendly environment Nelson has been in and this would be abundantly clear.

    Doesn’t mean I’d be super anxious to sign an almost 33-year-old Willingham to a 3 year deal for significant money, but if I’m the Twins and I can do that and collect a couple comp picks vs. giving Cuddyer equal/greater money & years, that’s a pretty damn easy decision.

  4. qcubed3 - Dec 11, 2011 at 12:47 AM

    Always liked Willingham. Plus, he’s one of only 13 guys to have hit two grandslams in one game.

  5. uyf1950 - Dec 11, 2011 at 4:42 AM

    Imagine you’re Josh Willingham. In 2011 you played for the Oakland A’s a team that finished the season 74-88 and before that you played for the Nationals a team that in 2010 finished the season 69-93.

    Now for 2012 you get to test Free Agency and the 4 teams left standing for your services are: the Twins a 63-99 team, The Indians a 80-82 team, the Mariners a 67- 95 team and the Rockies a 73-89 team. The closest any of those teams came to winning their division was the Indians and they were 15 games behind the Tigers. His choice better be all about the money because it ain’t gonna be about the winning.

    • hittfamily - Dec 11, 2011 at 7:37 AM

      If I’m a free agent, money is the only thing that matters. Either I’m an elite talent that will be built around, or I’m a place filler trade bait.

      Either one will be fine for 200 Alex.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 11, 2011 at 9:20 AM

        My friend you missed my point completely. Of course for the most part it’s about the money. But for most athletes it NOT just about the money. Josh Willingham at 32 years old soon to be 33 years old finally gets a shot a FA and a chance to determine for himself where he will go to pursue his career. Most athletes want to play for a winner and a chance at the brass ring a World Title aside from getting the big payday. I would think Josh Willingham is no different then that. Unfortunately in his case he gets to choose from 4 teams whose shall we say chances at the brass ring are slim and none. So his only choice is to pick a team that offers him the most money with very little hopes of winning. That was my point.

      • hittfamily - Dec 11, 2011 at 9:22 AM

        0 down,5 up. Holy cow. The Wall street crowd checks in early.

      • hittfamily - Dec 11, 2011 at 9:24 AM

        backwards. 0 up, 5 down. No wonder I’m not Wall street.

        Buy Enron. Buy Enron. No Wait. I mean sell, sell.

      • hittfamily - Dec 11, 2011 at 9:42 AM

        Hey friend.

        You missed my point completely too. My point is that you are completely wrong.

        Don’t get me wrong. He would love to play for the Yankees, Red Sox, or Rays, and stand to get a chance at a ring. However, the most money gets the contract. I got your point entirely, but thought it to be kind of ridiculous. Peyton Manning signs on with a championship caliber team next year after the Colts cut him (yes he will be cut. They have the 1st overall pick and owe him 100mm+ of un guaranteed money. NFL, welcome to TB Rays football management). He isn’t a Jaguar. Billy Volek might be though, and he’d be lucky because they were the highest bidder.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 11, 2011 at 10:18 AM

        hittfamily – since you seem to be “in the know” on a wide range of topics including Payton Manning and the Colts and how his situation relates to Josh Willingham’s situation there isn’t much I can add to the discussion. Have a good day.

      • hittfamily - Dec 11, 2011 at 10:46 AM

        I thank you for your post. I often feel unappreciated, being as all knowing as I am. I was unaware you did not know how to spell Peyton. I am glad I was able to teach you.

        I also did not know you and Josh Willingham to be such good buddies, otherwise I would not have lumped him in with all the other Free Agents, who can read, right, and do rithmatic. You know… the 3 r’s. Since he can do the 3 r’s, he is probably aware that 3.3 million is above 3.1. $200,000 dollars is a lot to me and a sock puppet, but not to Mr. Willingham, because he wants to win a “world champioship” only played against 2 countries.

        So Mr Hittfamily, and Mr Sock Puppet want to say, come win a “world championship” in Tampa for .166 of your value Mr. Willingham, just like “uyf1950″ wants you to.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 11, 2011 at 11:33 AM

        hittfamily – Thank you for the spelling lesson I noted the correct spelling for future reference.

        Since you seem to be a stickler for certain things. I should point out that putting the $ sign in front of an amount and then typing the word “dollars” after that very same amount as you have done is redundant.

        Sorry I won’t be able to play with you anymore on this topic, so have a nice day.

      • hittfamily - Dec 11, 2011 at 12:10 PM

        I am so sorry to see you leave. You are right. I should have put the $ sign, then indicated the type of dollars I was referring to. I was referring to American dollars, but the $ sign can be used by all nations who don’t have a monetary value sign on the keyboard. It is used by over 180 all over the world to indicate a monetary value. You are right though. I should have ben more specific. Thanks for clarifying it for me and the other 5.7 billion people out there who use the “$” sign to be general monetary value, and not just an American keyborard amenity.

  6. bigtrav425 - Dec 11, 2011 at 8:54 AM

    go di hope he doesnt choose my tribe….we need a impact bat/player..not just a role player and another player who cant even hit .280!

    • hittfamily - Dec 11, 2011 at 10:52 AM

      well said.

    • dnc6 - Dec 11, 2011 at 12:34 PM

      It is nearly impossible to not spend your entire life in your mom’s basement and still think batting average, on its own, is even a halfway decent way to judge a player. Willingham is a pretty good bet for a 120 OPS+, hes a decent player who is worth the 7-8 million he’s going to get

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