General manager Billy Beane and agent Matt Sosnick both agree that free agent Josh Willingham is unlikely to re-sign with the A’s.
Sosnick told Joe Stiglich of the San Jose Mercury News that Willingham will probably be looking for a three-year contract and “I just don’t think that’s the position the A’s are in right now.”
Beane described the A’s as being “in wait-and-see mode” regarding Willingham and their other free agents, in part because he’s waiting to hear back from MLB regarding a potential new ballpark in San Jose. However, because Willingham is a Type A free agent and the A’s want draft picks if he signs elsewhere Beane will definitely offer him arbitration.
Willingham stands out as one of the few impact bats in a weak year for free agent corner outfielders, posting an OPS above .800 for the sixth straight season despite a modest .246 batting average. Many teams would love to add Willingham’s right-handed bat coming off a 29-homer season, but at age 33 a three-year contract from a team that also has to give up a draft pick might be wishful thinking.
Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius had another fantastic night last night. He went 3-for-3, hitting a home run for the fourth game in a row, had an RBI single and reached base safely in all five of his plate appearances in New York’s 7-4 win over Minnesota.
For the year that gives Gregorius a line of .372/.470/.833, putting him atop the American League in average, slugging, OPS, and OPS+. He also leads the league in total bases (65) and RBI (29). He leads all of baseball in fWAR at 2.2, edging out Mike Trout despite the fact that Trout has played in two more games. He’s second behind Trout in homers with nine.
After last night’s game he insisted that he is not a home run hitter:
“I do have a lot of home runs, but it’s not like I am going out there to try to hit them . . . I’m not a power guy like Judge and Stanton, who hit 50 to 60 and up. Those are the guys who actually hit home runs. One year, let’s say, I hit five — then you ask me where that part went . . . if they go out, they go out. I’m just mostly trying to barrel it up and get a good swing . . . I try to hit line drives and if you check most of my home runs they were line drives,” he said. “It’s not like I am going up to hit deep fly balls.”
Given that he hit 25 homers last year and 20 the year before, he’s being a bit modest, even if he’s not likely to keep up this torrid pace. That modesty is not stopping some people from getting a bit carried away, of course:
We’ll forgive Bob for the hyperbole. Didi has been fun to watch.