Josh Willingham wants three-year deal, unlikely to re-sign with A’s

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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.

Japanese outfielder Yoshida to negotiate with MLB teams

Masataka Yoshida
Yukihito Taguchi/USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — Outfielder Masataka Yoshida will be able to negotiate with Major League Baseball teams starting Wednesday under the posting system with the Japanese big leagues.

A member of Japan’s Olympic team last year, Yoshida will be posted at 8 a.m. EST on Wednesday and MLB teams have until 5 p.m. EST on Jan. 20 to reach an agreement, the commissioner’s office said Tuesday.

The 29-year-old hit .335 with 21 homers and 88 RBIs in 119 games this year for the Orix Buffaloes of Japan’s Pacific League. A left-handed batter, he has a .327 average with 133 homers and 467 RBIs over seven seasons in the Japanese majors.

Yoshida hit .350 with two RBIs as Japan won last year’s Olympic gold medal.

Under 2017 changes to the posting system, the posting fee will be 20% of the first $25 million of a major league contract, including earned bonuses and options. The percentage drops to 17.5% of the next $25 million and 15% of any amount over $50 million. There would be a supplemental fee of 15% of any earned bonuses, salary escalators and exercised options.

Hard-throwing right-hander Kodai Senga, another member of the Olympic team, is a free agent and does not have to go through the posting system because he has 11 seasons of service time in the Japanese major leagues.

Senga, who turns 30 in January, was 11-6 with a 1.94 ERA in 22 starts for the Pacific League’s Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. He pitched three scoreless innings in two outings against the U.S. in the Olympics, allowing one hit and striking out six with two walks.