Josh Willingham to decide on new team within 48 hours

9 Comments

Josh Willingham will sign within the next 48 hours, agent Matt Sosnick told Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Sosnick indicated that Willingham has narrowed his choices down to three teams, two of which are believed to be the Twins and Indians.

Minnesota has had a three-year, $25 million offer on the table to Michael Cuddyer for a week now and has stayed in touch with Willingham as a potential fallback plan, but they may be forced to make a choice if Cuddyer doesn’t come to a decision today or tomorrow.

Willingham hit .246 with 29 homers in 136 games for the A’s this year, topping an .800 OPS for the sixth straight season.

UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com says the Indians are now “out” on Willingham, leaving the Twins and perhaps the Rockies in the mix.

Mariners sign Ichiro to a minor league deal

Getty Images
2 Comments

USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the Mariners will sign Ichiro Suzuki to a minor-league deal. If he makes the roster he’ll make $750,000. At least until he retires.

I say that because it seems quite clear that the idea here, telegraphed since last season, is to activate Ichiro for the Mariners’ series against the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo on March 20-21 and for hoopla surrounding it all. The Mariners and A’s will have a 28-man roster for that series, which is officially part of the regular season schedule, but it will be pared back down to 25 once games begin in the United States.

Suzuki, 45, hit .205/.255/.205 in 47 plate appearances through May 2 last season, at which point he agreed to be deactivated to join the Mariners’ front office. Many assumed Ichiro would announce his retirement later that season or during the offseason, but the Japan Series soon crystalized as an obvious way for him to offer his final farewell to both his American and his Japanese fans.

Unless of course he goes 6-10 with three doubles in that series, at which point everyone will be tempted to keep him on the roster past Japan. Which, given the Mariners’ rebuild and likely poor performance this coming season, wouldn’t exactly be hurting anyone, would it?