While most A’s players haven’t done much this season, one guy that Oakland should hope to keep around next year is outfielder Josh Willingham. Willingham, 32, came to the A’s during an offseason trade between the Nationals, and is eligible for free agency after this season.
Willingham hasn’t had a monster year, compared to his career numbers, but he’s been Oakland’s best source of power this year. In 102 games this season, Willingham has put together a .249/.333/.484 slash line, and is Oakland’s leader in home runs (22) and RBIs (73).
He’s started in left field for the A’s in 74 games this year, and he’s proved to be a very valuable piece offensively and defensively. The A’s, a team with relatively no power on offense, should be looking at an extension for Willingham after the end of the season.
Willingham will probably be a Type-A free agent after this season, and the A’s would definitely like the compensation draft picks should he sign elsewhere this offseason, but an extension is worth exploring.
General manager Billy Beane has been credited with putting together a strong core of young pitchers, but he really hasn’t been critiqued for his lack of evaluating talented hitters. The Athletics haven’t been able to put together a balanced team like they showcased during the early 2000′s, and Beane should take part of the blame in that.
It’s about time the A’s get something right for a change, and that’s to keep Josh Willingham in Oakland. He’s a talented hitter with a decent amount of power. The A’s have too many question marks on offense, especially with guys like Chris Carter, Daric Barton, and a few others, to let a guy like Willingham slip away this coming offseason.
What do you think? Should the A’s offer Willingham an extension after this year? Sound off below in the comments!