The Nationals put outfielder Josh Willingham on the trading block, just two days after signing him to a one-year, $4.6 million contract for 2010. I’m willing to assume that Washington will seek pitching in return for the slugger and there could be a match with the Yankees, who have a surplus of long relievers.
Willingham, 30, would add extra right-handed power to the Yankees batting order, something they’ve supposedly been looking for. The former-Marlin hit .260 with 24 home runs in his first season with Washington and spent a portion of the season as a bench player before hitting his way into a starting role. I’m sure he’d fit into the lineup and with the club. He could work in a platoon with Brett Gardner (Willingham hit .300 against lefties in 2009) or start for the Yankees who could benefit from his career .362 OBP from the bottom of the batting order.
The key with Willingham is affordability. The Nationals will need cheap, reliable players, and the Yankees have a few to spare. It may only take Alfredo Aceves, Chad Gaudin and an infield prospect to land the slugger. Trading Willingham would allow the Nats to sign Mike Jacobs to play first, thus shifting Adam Dunn back to left field and slightly improving their defense. Let’s hope Brian Cashman jumps on this one.