Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Yes, the Athletics are already stacked with outfielders. Yet, this week both Craig Gentry and Coco Crisp have missed time, and we do not know how long either will be out. The past two seasons, someone key has gone down that could have helped propel the A’s into the ALCS. Thus far this season, everyone is healthy. If we know one thing about how Billy Beane has approached this season, it’s that he’s leaving nothing to chance. Josh Willingham could be a solid acquisition to bolster the lineup.
Why Willingham? For starters, he’s already had success playing in Oakland. In 2011, he hit 29 Home Runs while donning the green and gold, while driving in 98. 15 of those knocks came at O.Co. Yes, this was three years ago. In 2012, Willingham had an even better season while playing in pitcher-friendly Target Field.
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The past two seasons, Willingham has seen setbacks due to injury. These injuries shouldn’t concern the Athletics however, because we only need him for two months!
Let’s go over some current stats. This season, Willingham is batting .289 with runners in scoring position. With a runner on and 2 outs, he’s hitting .375. The guy likes to bring in runs.
Willingham is only signed through the end of the year too, so the cost of getting him should be low.
In a season where Josh Willingham is hitting just .228, he is bashing the Angels’ pitching staff. Not who they used to have, the current staff. On the season, Willingham is batting .328 against LAA pitchers, with 7 HR and 15 RBI. Two of those HRs were against Jered Weaver, and three against C.J. Wilson. With ten games left against the Angels, Willingham could be a tremendous help in securing the division.
Another team that has been a hindrance to the Athletics of late is the Detroit Tigers, a divisional rival of the Minnesota Twins. Josh Willingham has tagged both Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello for two Home Runs this season. While is batting average is just .223 against the Tigers’ staff on the whole, the power numbers could be a difference maker in a playoff series.
There is one obvious question: where would Josh Willingham play? He can play left and have Yoenis Cespedes DH, or have Josh Reddick/Cespedes in center and have (a presumably healthy) Coco Crisp can DH. Or Willingham himself can DH. The point is there is room for him.
Whether or not the Athletics even kick the tires on Josh Willingham has yet to be seen, but he could be a nice addition to the offense.