Read my full story on the trade on CSNwashington.com
On Henry Rodriguez (top left)
"He's a guy we've scouted a lot lately. We see a big physical, big-armed guy, with two plus-plus pitches, 23 years old, and a guy we feel can fit comfortably in our bullpen, now and for years to come. We foresee him down the road as the possibility of a guy who can pitch at the back end of the game, either set up Storen in the eighth inning or pitch in the ninth inning. It's just an attractive alternative, another 23-year-old power arm that adds to our depth at that position, and a guy we think has big upside. He's been scouted a lot lately. His numbers are trending positively, as far as the walk numbers are going. The walk numbers are going down, the strikeouts are going up. He's getting much more acclimated to the reliever role. He was switched from a starter two years ago, I believe. From then on, we've scouted him a lot and he's really taken off. We have high hopes for the guy, a 23-year-old guy who we feel is a big-arm guy who can fit in the back of our bullpen."
On Corey Brown (second on left)
"He's a guy we've always liked since the draft days. We feel that he's got a big tool package. He's an athletic guy that can run, hit, hit for power and play really good defense. He's a guy that has the ability to play center field, but also has the power to play both corners."
Where do you see both of these guys starting the year? "From everything we've seen in his recent outings, we believe that Rodriguez is going to make our big-league club in our bullpen somewhere [note: he's out of options]. And I believe that Brown will come to major-league camp; we'll see what we have there. But I foresee him starting at Triple-A and helping us in the big leagues in the near future."
Any sense of why Brown struggled at Triple-A?
"From the information we got, he's actually struggled at each level, early at that level. He dominated the Double-A level very well. He dominated the Arizona Fall League. We feel that he's going to adjust quite comfortably to Triple-A and ultimately will help us out on the big-league roster in the near future."
Was Willingham's injury history a factor in not wanting to keep him longer?
"I think that had something to do with it, but there's so many tentacles to those questions. A lot of information goes into the decision we make on that sort. There's a lot of things that went into the decision to trade Josh now instead of waiting until spring training or waiting until the trade deadline. We felt that this was an attractive package that we have right now. It was a better package than we got last year at the trade deadline for Josh. So we felt like this was an opportunity for us to really cement a big-armed relief pitcher at 23 years old and a toolsy outfielder that hits from the left side. It was more on the side of the return that we got for Josh now as opposed to what the returns were at the trade deadline last year."
Who's your left fielder now?
"Not sure. You know, the easy answer would be a platoon situation with Bernadina and Morse, which we feel that the productivity offensively should be consistent with what we've had there in the past. I think with Bernadina out there, we certainly have supreme defense in left field and a really athletic, defensive outfield. That's not to say we're finished this winter with doing what we're trying to do in trying to strengthen and bolster the club offensively and defensively."
Does this trade now allow you any more flexibility now to go out and spend money on something else?
"The decision to trade Josh was not based on his salary or on money whatsoever."
How much interest was there in Josh at the Winter Meetings, and did this deal start to come together then or only in the last day or two?
"There were three or four teams that checked in on Josh. There were no former offers made. It was more parameters and philosophies. Then it heated up with Oakland just in the last couple of days."
Where do you stand right now with Chien-Ming Wang?
"We're in discussions with his representatives."
Reaction to the trade:
"I wasn't really surprised. I sort of expected to be traded during winter meetings. It didn't happen; it died down a little bit; my first thoughts about it, I'm excited because I know what [Oakland] has. Really, really, good young pitching, and they've already upgraded the lineup a little with the acquisitions before adding myself, so I'm excited. This organization is ready to win, and the moves they made proved they're ready to win as well."
What do you add to A's?
"I'm going to bring some power to the lineup. I'm not a guy who'll hit 40 home runs. I've had some freak injuries. I was on the way to over 20-25 homers and driving in 80 runs [before the knee surgery]. I bring some power and balance to the lineup. I get on base and walk a lot. I'm not going to get 40 homers and 100 RBIs every year but will bring a lot to the lineup."
Do you know any A's?
"I really do not. That's the funny thing. I know somebody on just about any other team. That's one team I don't know anybody on. But I'm a pretty outgoing guy. I've been traded before. I went to Washington without knowing anybody."
How is your knee?
"The knee's great; 5-6 weeks of rehab on it. The timing was so bad, because I had to have the surgery because I couldn't play on it any more. If I just made it through the last month and a half of the season..."
Is it 100 percent now?
"I'm through with rehab. Done since October, doing normal offseason workout and going good."
A'S GM BILLY BEANE
On his interest in Willingham:
"We actually pursued Josh earlier in the winter when we were trying to acquire David DeJesus; we had interest earlier going back to Florida. Over the course of the week, it picked up steam."
Was it difficult to give up Rodriguez?
"It was difficult. There's no getting around the fact he's a unique talent with a 100 mph fastball. We knew we had to give up something and felt like at this time with the attraction of bringing Josh on board, we couldn't pass him up."