Josh Willingham repeatedly said that he planned to avoid the disabled list after aggravating an Achilles’ tendon injury Friday, but he hasn’t played since and now the A’s have put him on the shelf.
Willingham hasn’t hit well in his first season with the A’s, batting just .231 with 10 homers and a .718 OPS after posting an OPS above .800 in each of the previous five seasons.
Chris Carter has been called up from Triple-A and the 24-year-old prospect’s numbers at Triple-A suggest he’s capable of replacing Willingham’s production and more, but a lingering injury would make it tough for the A’s to get decent value out of Willingham before the July 31 trading deadline.
Willingham was acquired from the Nationals in December for reliever Henry Rodriguez and outfield prospect Corey Brown, but he’s been a huge disappointment while earning $6 million.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: