Olney: the Nats are shopping Willingham so Adam Dunn can play the outfield. Yikes.

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Buster Olney passes this along:  “Heard this: The Nationals have Josh Willingham back out on the trade market, perhaps to give them the option of shifting Adam Dunn back to the outfield.”

Willingham just signed a $4.6 million deal to avoid arbitration. He hit 260/.367/.496 with 24 home runs, 61 RBI and a career-high .863 OPS in
2009, and though his defense is lacking, he’s a useful player who would help a lot of teams and possibly provide some value back to the Nats.  They’ve shopped him in the past. They’ll likely shop him again. It makes some sense.

But the impetus for this move can’t be to move Dunn to the outfield, can it?  I mean sure, Dunn would probably be the absolute worst defensive first baseman in the game if they keep Willingham and left him there, but he’d do far more damage in left field, wouldn’t he?  In 2009, Dunn had the single worst defensive season for any outfielder since they began to calculate UZR. And 2009 was no fluke: he was bad in 2008, 2007 and just about every other year in his career.

Makes you wonder what the Nats’ know about how his first base “skills” have developed in the past year.

Giants tab Madison Bumgarner to start Opening Day

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Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports that the Giants, to the shock of absolutely no one, have tabbed Madison Bumgarner to start on Opening Day, March 29 in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. He’ll pitch opposite Clayton Kershaw.

This will be the fifth consecutive season in which Bumgarner has started on Opening Day for the Giants. His five total Opening Day starts is still way behind the club record held by Juan Marichal, who started 10 Opening Days, including six consecutively from 1964-69.

Bumgarner, 28, missed nearly two months in the first half last season due to a dirt bike accident. He still managed to have a great season, compiling a 3.32 ERA with a 101/20 K/BB ratio in 111 innings.