Mets Merized Online » Josh Willingham Mon, 22 Dec 2014 18:28:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 MMO Mailbag: Twins Willing To Trade? Fri, 21 Dec 2012 16:00:25 +0000 With the Mets still on the hunt for an outfield, we received the following e-mail from Phil:

I can’t believe the Mets haven’t traded for Josh Willingham yet. After some injury issues he averaged .253/.350/.501 with 64 HRs the last two years. At worst, he’s slightly better defensively than Duda. I kept hearing the Twins would be looking for a #4 or 5 pitcher in return. Isn’t two years of Willingham worth a Dillon Gee? Or Familia + a mid-level arm? The Twins won 66 games last year so I doubt they’re too attached to a 33-year-old LF earning $14 mil through 2014. In Queens he’d ALMOST legitimize the Mets lineup. Should the Mets be as interested as I am?

First, I really like Willingham from the days he played in Florida. He’s not a spectacular player, just solid and consistent. Back in July, I even suggested that the Mets check in on Willingham. The problem there was they still had Jason Bay under contract.josh2

Willingham turns 34 this February, and will be making $7m in 2013 and 2014. Despite his age concerns, he had a pretty solid 2012 season. Target Field isn’t exactly known for being homerun friendly, yet he managed to hit 21 HR at home (35 in total).

The problem as I see it is you’re still stuck with figuring out what to do with Lucas Duda. I think we saw enough to know that Duda is not a right fielder, the problem is, neither is Willingham. Willingham is a below average fielder and came up as a 3B with Florida. He was moved to LF for a few reasons, none of them were because he’d be a good outfielder. Including the minor leagues, Willingham has played RF 39 times.

Now, I want to be clear. I think he’s a better hitter than Duda. However, I am not sure how much of a drastic difference he can bring the Mets in 2013 and 2014 compared to Duda. I say this because I don’t think you can put Duda and Willingham in the same outfield.

When the Phillies acquired Revere from Minnesota’s Jim Salisbury reported that the Phillies also tried to get Willingham in the deal but Minnesota wouldn’t make the move. So if a team desperate to win a championship in 2013 couldn’t get the right price for Willingham, what does that say about the Mets chances? That tells me that Minnesota isn’t looking to deal him right now.

The problem for the Mets with regards to the outfield is that next year’s free agent class is not too attractive. I like Hunter Pence, but is he the answer? I like Ellsbury, but he doesn’t solve the power needs in the lineup.

I’m not excited at all about the thought of possibly signing Scott Hairston to be an every day player. I think his numbers from last year prove he performed much better when he was not a starter. So if a free agent like Cody Ross is not brought to Citi Field, then I think the Mets need to look at 3 right fielders in the trade market.

Alex Rios – The right handed hitting White Sox outfielder is making $12.5m for the next two seasons with a 2015 team option. In 2012 he hit .304 with 25 HR, 91 RBI, and a .850 OPS. The problem with Rios is that he seems to go to the school of Mike Pelfrey when it comes to consistency. What I mean by that is, he has one very good year, followed by a stinker. 2012 good, 2011 stinker, 2010 good, 2009 stinker. He doesn’t play an amazing RF, but he plays an average RF.

Michael Cuddyer – Another right handed bat, Cuddyer is signed for $10.5m in 2013 and 2014. Cuddyer brings a little bit of versatility in the field. He’s by no means a good fielder, I’d say slightly below average. What he does do though is give the Mets an opportunity to play him at 1B on occasion or even at 2B or 3B if necessary. Cuddyer battled through injuries in the 2nd half of 2012. Most of his trouble stemmed from a strained oblique.

Justin Upton – I’ve been on the record more than a few time saying I am concerned that Upton’s offensive production is more a product of his friendly park than his own talent. His numbers since 2011 back me up. Or do they? 2011 was the first year that Upton’s name was seriously thrown out on the public trade market. 2011 was also the year the Arizona fans began to boo their starting RF. There have been claims that at times those boos turned into racial taunts – very inexcusable  However, I doubt every night he got booed there was racial overtones involved. So his reaction by saying he “doesn’t care” what the fans think really concerns me when you talk about playing for the Mets.

For my money though, Upton is the best bet based on the market and availability of corner OFs. I think you’d pay a similar price for somebody like Rios based on Chicago’s season expectations, so why not bump the offer up a bit and go for the bigger reward? Perhaps a change of scenery and playing with a childhood friend can help Upton reach his potential? Offering something like Flores, Havens, Familia and even Den Dekker perhaps? I’m not sure if that gets it done? I will say one thing, if this were to happen (and I don’t think it will) you’ll see a drastic change of tone from a lot of Mets fans when talking about the future of this ball club.

Moving Forward – The Mets are stuck in the outfield right now. This is why you’re going to see stories about the Mets kicking the tires on somebody like Grady Sizemore. The corner OF spots were once thought to be an easy find, but if you look around both the Mets, Phillies and even the Yankees are stuck with little to no power in the corner. Figuring this out will be a truly big task for the Mets over the next year.

I’m not sure what the answer is right now, but I am pretty sure it’s not trading for Willingham which would give the Mets two poor fielding left fielders – with one of them forced to play RF.

Thanks for the e-mail Phil, and keep em coming!

mmo mailbag

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From Left Field: Should The Mets Have Made A Run At Mauer? Fri, 31 Aug 2012 14:21:53 +0000 Joe Mauer at Fenway Park (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Joe Mauer at Fenway Park (Photo by Jim Mancari)

The Minnesota Twins places All-Star catcher Joe Mauer on revocable trade waivers earlier this week, and, not too surprisingly, no team put a claim in for him.

The 29-year-old is due $23 million per season through 2018, so team’s likely balked at that salary.

I heard some reports that the Mets should have gone after Mauer if the Twins were willing to work out a deal. I know it’s slightly after the fact (at least until the offseason), but let’s dissect this trade possibility.

Yes, Mauer isn’t exactly his former self and projects more as a first baseman than a catcher, but the guy is producing this year at a .312 clip with eight home runs and 68 RBI, which earned him his fifth All-Star selection.

The Mets are desperately seeking offensive production from the catcher’s spot, and Mauer would be an instant upgrade. Kelly Shoppach has looked OK offensively, but Shoppach is not Mauer, end of story.

The problem here is that in order to keep Mauer healthy, he needs to either play first base or DH. Obviously DH is not an option in the NL, so it would have to be first base.

Ike Davis is currently the Mets first baseman. He struggled out of the gate early, but his power numbers have been just as expected. Are we already willing to give up on Ike in favor of a catcher who is more of a first baseman?

Let’s say though the Mets can trade Ike for some outfield help. In fact, let’s say that Ike is included in a deal for Mauer that also nets the Mets Josh Willingham. The “Hammer” is signed for $14 million over the next two seasons, but he’ll also be 34 to begin next season.

However, the whole purpose in trading for Mauer would be to add him to a lineup that includes Ike Davis. So instead the Mets would have to dig into their prospects for a deal.

Think back to winter 2008 when the Mets and Twins made a trade for Johan Santana. The Twins acquired four prospects: Phil Humber, Carlos Gomez, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra. Humber pitched a perfect game but for the White Sox, Gomez is now on the Brewers, Mulvey is gone from the Twins system and Guerra may have a shot to be a decent pitcher for the Twins.

If the Mets start throwing around names like Wilmer Flores, Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia and Collin McHugh (obviously Zack Wheeler is untouchable), the Twins may get skeptical based on the results of the other trade. But that’s the whole point of rolling the dice on prospects; some don’t pan out.

I’m not a general manger (maybe just an arm-chair GM), but if somehow the Mets could have worked out a deal for Mauer and Willingham, the team would be in good shape maybe just for next year, but beyond that it would be a gamble. Here’s what a lineup would look like, assuming no other big moves were made:

Tejada SS, Murphy 2B, Mauer C, Wright 3B, Davis 1B, Willingham LF, Duda RF, CF (either Hairston, Nieuwenhuis, den Dekker, B.J. Upton perhaps).

This would be a pretty good team, but I just don’t see it happening. Actually to answer the title question, I don’t want it to happen. If the Twins were going to ask for mid-level prospects just to get something back for Mauer, then maybe. But Mauer is locked up for six more years, so the Twins would have to be blown away by an offer for this to work. They aren’t going to trade their only superstar just for the sake of making a deal.

So instead, expect something a little more like this for next season:

Tejads SS, Murphy 2B, Wright 3B, Davis 1B, Hairston/Baxter RF, Duda/Bay LF, Shoppach/Thole C, CF (Nieuwenhuis or den Dekker).

GM Sandy Alderson said the team would be creative in the trade market perhaps. The free agent market will be weak this offseason (except for Josh Hamilton, fat chance Mets fans!), so trades will be the only way to improve this team.

Again, if the Mets and Twins can work out a trade for Mauer and even throw in Willingham in which the Mets assume the contracts (another big if) rather than mortgaging the farm system, I guess it could work. But that’s living in a fantasy world.

The safe bet: Stay away from Mauer and explore other options.

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Nats Get Bruney, Are Dunn And Willingham On Block? Mon, 07 Dec 2009 18:09:32 +0000 According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Washington Nationals have acquired relief pitcher Brian Bruney from the New York Yankees for a player to be named later.

Bruney had a so-so season with the Yankees, but had clearly fallen out of favor as the season drew to an end.

Last season he went 5–0 with a 3.92 ERA in 44 relief appearances.

I think the Nationals may be one of the more active teams in the NL this off season.

Rumors are swirling that both Josh Willingham and Adam Dunn could be traded. The Mets definitely like Willingham, but they should also take a look at Adam Dunn who can play first base.

Dunn is one of a handful of players that could hit the ball out of any park including Citi Field where he hit the longest homerun in it’s short history.

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Mets Looking At Nationals’ Josh Willingham Sun, 06 Dec 2009 19:54:51 +0000

On the eve of the 2009 Baseball Winter Meetings in Indianapolis, finally a Mets rumor that doesn’t shake my confidence and that I can sink my teeth into.

According to Bill Ladson of, the Mets are interested in Nationals outfielder, Josh Willingham. 

Add the Mets as one of the teams who have interest in Nationals left fielder Josh Willingham, according to a baseball source. The Giants, Mariners and Braves are the other teams who reportedly are willing to acquire his services. “Willingham is the only player on the Nationals the Mets are interested in,” the source said.

Willingham, 30, had a very solid debut season with the Nationals batting .260 with 24 home runs and 61 RBIs. He had a very solid .367 on-base percentage to go with a robust .863 OPS.

The only knock on Willingham might be his defense, but couple with a defensive caddy like Angel Pagan, this just my be a nice play for the Mets.

Willingham would still be under team control for another two years, and as Ladson mentioned, there are other interested parties so acquiring him may not be that easy. The Mets may have to heavily out maneuver the Giants and mariners to convince the Nationals to trade Willingham within the division. It was easy to give up Brian Schneider and his $10 million dollar contract along with Church for a former number one draft pick, but moving Willingham to the Mets may make them think twice. 

Still, this rumor is definitely a nice surprise compared to some of the sludge that’s been tossed around in the last 24 hours.

Go get him Omar!

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