Thursday, December 16, 2010

Willingham dealt to A's [updated]

Updated at 4:03 p.m.

The Nationals have finalized a trade that will send left fielder Josh Willingham to the Athletics for reliever Henry Rodriguez and minor-league outfielder Corey Brown, both teams formally announced late this afternoon.

Willingham, who hit .268 with 16 homers and 56 RBI in 114 games this season before undergoing knee surgery in August, was due to become a free agent at the end of the 2011 season, and the Nationals had not shown interest in re-signing him to an extension. Several teams inquired about the 31-year-old's availability at last week's Winter Meetings in Orlando, including the A's and Red Sox.

As currently constructed, the Nationals will likely use a combination of Roger Bernadina and Michael Morse in left field. Team officials have long believed Bernadina, who hit .246 with 11 homers and 47 RBI in 134 games as a rookie, is best suited defensively to play left field. Morse, who hit .289 with 15 homers and 41 RBI in 98 games, could serve as a right-handed platoon with Bernadina in left field and also see some time in right field, at first base and off the bench.

Both players the Nationals acquired in the deal could see time in Washington this season.

Rodriguez, a hard-throwing right-hander, did appear in 29 games for Oakland over the last two seasons, posting a combined 4.26 ERA while striking out 37 in 31 2/3 innings. The 23-year-old reliever (who threw a 103 mph fastball this year) has notched incredibly strong strikeout numbers in the minors and has struck out 27 batters in 20 1/3 innings this winter pitching in his native Venezuela.

Brown, the 59th overall pick in the 2007 draft, is a gifted center fielder who hit 30 home runs in Class A in 2008 and then hit .320 at Class AA last season before seeing his batting average drop to .193 in 41 late-season games at Class AAA. The 25-year-old probably needs more seasoning but could be a potential long-term answer in center field for the Nationals.

Both Rodriguez and Brown were on Oakland's 40-man roster and thus are transferred to the Nationals' 40-man roster, which is for now completely full with the completion of this trade.

102 comments:

Anonymous said...

If it gets Morse more time, I'm all for it.

Anonymous said...

Have to wonder what Zim will have to say? Looks management has now left him bereft of his 3,4,5 he was so attached to?

Let's hope those two young players are two of those very talented starting pitchers the A's have developed ... okay at least one? Hopefully it doesn't include strikeout artist Chris Carter for first base.

MikeHarris said...

These prospects better be really good - I would have thought Willingham would have brought back at least one major leaguer

NatsJack in Florida said...

It's not often Billy Beane gets shortchanged on a trade.

I've got a bad feeling about this unless something else happens fairly soon.

James Hoy said...

Trading for minor leaguers frees up the likely $6million he would have won in arbitration to sweeten the deal for LaRoche, or Lee, or take on the $ of a first baseman we trade for.

Sasskuash said...

How about this hypothetical trade: Swing these 2 prospects + Jordan Zimmermann for Greinke? No report about this, just a thought. This obviously depends on who we get and how good they are.

Bowdenball said...

Any chance we get Chris Carter in this deal?

I agree, NatsJack. A trade between Billy Beane and a GM who recently said his most important statistic in evaluating pitchers is wins ... cause for concern, to say the least.

NatsJack in Florida said...

If we get LaRoche, I'll feel OK about it as long as the minor leaguers are actually talented.

Anonymous said...

Michael Taylor and Josh Outman, anyone?

Upper Left Field said...

I love the Hammer. But that said, I'm always holding my breath until he gets injured. Time to move on when value is still moderately high.

natsfan1a said...

I always liked the Hammer and wish him well. Will be interested to see which prospects we traded for.

Anonymous said...

This clearly isn't the case, but it have been nice I think if we had to trade Willingham to do it for Barton straight up, seeing as Barton is a defensive-minded, left-handed first baseman who gets on base. Not that that was ever in the cards, just that it would be consistent. But it's instead going to end up being two nobodies, and thus really make not much sense from the Nats' perspective.

DFL said...

Had Rizzo played it right we could have had this lineup

Morgan CF or perhaps sign Podsednik
Desmond SS
Zimmerman 3b
Dunn 1b
Werth RF
Willingham LF
Rodriguez/Ramos/Flores c
Espinoza 2b
Pitcher

Instead, Nats fans are getting banjo hitters for real hitters. Perhaps rooting for the Orioles will be more fun.

Section 223 said...

Wow, we don't even know who the players are and already we've been fleeced?

Best wishes to the Hammer. I thought his defense had improved quite a bit.

JD said...

You do that DFL

alexva said...

@DFL - Rizzo did not want that lineup. You can argue that with him if you like but nothing he did wrong cost him Dunn or Willingham.

Doc said...

Rizzo blew it on having Dunn, Willingham with Werth and Zim in the same lineup. Rizzo v. Beane, not much of a contest there.

Let's hope I'm wrong, and Rizzo gets some worthwhile talent back.

sparky said...

JD made me smile

Farid Rushdi said...

This has got to be a move that clears payroll so the Nationals can sign Adam LaRoche.

As for left, I checked and Bernadina hits right-handers worse than lefties.

I really think that Morse--if given the chance to play every day--will put up Willingham numbers but without the injuries.

I have a feeling (and that's all it is) that Morse is Werth four years ago, that he really has the talent to hit .285-25-90 (over a full season, he would have hit 32 homers and 85 RBI last season.

HHover said...

I love the chicken little responses here--we don't even know who the Nats are getting, much less what other deals are in the works, but that's not gonna stop the nattering nabobs of negativism.

John O'Connor said...

I liked Willingham and wish him well.

From a Nats perspective, my only beef with this deal (without knowing who we got) is that I assumed Willingham would be one of the chips we would trade to gert a frontline starting pitcher (I was hopeful that Zimmermann would not be in any such deal), and Willingham's trade gives us one less major league piece that could be part of a trade packsge.

Then again, maybe whoever we are talking trade with didn't want Willingham but wanted prosepcts only plus one of our middle infielders. In that case, this trade would either restock our minors from the prosepcts we're about to deal, or involved acquiring someone we needed to flip in a trade for a pitcher.

Sunderland said...

Farid:

We have no need to clear payroll room for LaRoche, we're at roughly the same payroll as last year even with Werth.

Yeah, it's odd how people are already not liking this deal. Willingham was going to go this offseason, that was farily obvious, just like Dunn was not going to be re-signed was fairly obvious. Rizzo wants what Willingham ain't got, speed, defense, baserunning, not to mention late season swoons.

There's a number of ways this could work out very nicely.

DFL said...

alexva, Rizzo blew it with me. He and the Lerners aren't getting any of my money.

NatsJack in Florida said...

To DFL and all the other Dunn lovers. Go watch the White Sox and marvel at his defensive prowess in the American League.

If this maneuver brings Adam LaRoche and a top flight arm or two to the organization, I'll be fine with it.

I still worry about doing deals with Billy Beane, though.

sparky said...

DFL makes me laugh

NatinBeantown said...

Repeat after me: Starting Pitching for the front of the rotation.

We have plenty of 3-4-5 starters in the DC rotation and down on the farm. We need quantity AND quality in prospects that project to #1 or #2 pitchers. We have four in the entire organization right now. If Rizzo got another guy (or even guys) that project that high for an injury-plagued, minus-defender who wouldn't be here in 2012-14 anyway, than he's done a good job.

Wait and see who we got.

raymitten said...

I don't like this either but I'm not declaring the sky is falling until I see all the moves in one fell swoop. Maybe this a precursor to something much bigger and potentially better. Or....maybe we're getting someone from the vaunted A's starting rotation. Rosenthal said that we were getting one major league ready player in the deal.

phil dunn said...

Farid, Talk about late season swoons, Bernadina had one this past season that was frightening, especially now that he is being penciled in for LF.

Doc said...

Bernadina vs. righties.

You gotta remember that the dynamic duo of Rizzo and Uncle Jimmy don't pay attention to such high falutin' sabermetrics.

Ditto on wanting to see Morse play full time. He could make up for Willingham this season.

Jaxpo Nat said...

LOL... some of you people are over the top. You have inflated opinions of Dunn & Willingham. I like Willingham, but you speak as if he hit 30 HR last year. He is on the downside of his career, just had knee surgery, and is becoming more and more of a defensive liability. As for Dunn, he is a one-dimensional player. No defense, no average, just HR and walks and lots of strike outs. Personally, I prefer LaRoche or D. Lee when considering the complete package. Either way, if and when we become good, neither Dunn NOR Willingham were going to still be here.

Tim said...

Geez you guys are negative. I am curious to see what we are gettign for the Hammer. Hopefully a decent pitching prospect.

As for Dunn, he doesn't fit into the plan long term. Rizzo wanted to trade him back in July for pitching, the Learners vetoed the trade. And Dunn was worth more to the Sox than he was to any NL team. So we get picks, not ideal but better than signing Dunn for 4 years.

NatsJack in Florida said...

If the pundits are right and one of the players has ML experience, it could be David DeJesus.

That's precisely like a Billy Beane move to trade for a piece to use as a chip later on.

If it's not DeJesus (who I'd love) it's probably Connor Jackson and a pitcher.

raymitten said...

All you Billy Beane worshippers:
How did the Matt Holliday trade work out? How 'bout that Ben Sheets signing?

Anonymous said...

Just read that O's are close to signing LaRoche (MLBTR).

Anonymous said...

The fact that the names of the As players coming here weren't even announced tells it all. It's probably two pitchers, one with a history of arm problems and one who can't find home plate. Rizzo versus Beane--that should be illegal.

Anonymous said...

Love it! Nattering nabobs of negativism--Spiro Agnew is back. Morse as Werth redux... OK, with one exception. Werth plays defense. No one has suggested that Morse is close to being a solid defensive player. I'm in NatsJack in Florida on this being a net positive if we end end up with pitching and LaRoche.
fpcsteve

Anonymous said...

I only like the Werth signing if he grows his beard back.

Anonymous said...

Willingham is not athletic, is not fast, is not a great fielder. He doesn't fit anymore than Dunn did in the current model Rizzo and brain trust have in mind to field at the major league level. Speed, athleticism, hitting without holes in the swing leading to strike outs. Power pitching in the bullpen. Power pitching at the front of the rotation to the #3, #4 spot if possible.

Sorry DFL Rizzo and braintrust do not see major league baseball the way you do. And in point-of-fact that sort of lineup led to 2 last place finishes with over or close to 100 losses. Right?

Jaxpo Nat said...

Anon. 2:56 hit the nail on the head. Doesn't every trade we make for pitching "prospects" involve one with a history of arm injury and another who walks almost 1 per 9 innings? Maybe some day one will pay off...

Carl in 309 said...

Count me among those who say the verdict isn't really in on the Hot Stove season until the first pitch on March 31st.

I will, however, miss Josh Willingham and I share questions about what the 3-4-5-6 part of the line-up will look like once Rizzo and Company finish their chess game.

I'm guessing this deal is but one (minor) move in the larger chess match. ESPN is reporting only that the trade involves 2 As players, "one of whom has some major league experience". That does not strike me as a solution that includes shoring up our starting rotation, fixing our bullpen, or addressing the gaping hole at 1st base. But it might include pieces that ultimately relate to some or all of those concerns.

As an aside, the new As outfield certainly looks more interesting than last year (I saw two of their games in Oakland last June and they frankly stank)--Willingham, Crisp, and DeJesus, plus DH Matsui!

Much as I admire Willingham, I think we're probably still defensively stronger relying on full-time coverage by Bernadina, with Werth in the mix (would rather have replaced Morgan, but I'm not in the Nats front office--thankfully!).

As for Rizzo versus Billy Beane--I'm a big Beane fan, but perhaps we should consider the possibility that what the As needed and what the Nats were interested in were complementary not conflicting.

Anonymous said...

Morse might be gold glove at first base for all we know? He is an infielder starting from his rookie year. First base is way different from playing the outfield. He isn't overweight and bulky. He must have a reasonable modicum of athleticism to be able to play short, second and third as well. Many claim he is too tall for those positions. He isn't too tall for first base is he?

Jaxpo Nat said...

I should say, 1 per inning.

Bobo said...

Hahahaa -- Werth sent R.Amaro text messages after finding out the Phils resigned Cliff Leff. Yah, he sounds like he really is comfortable with the Nats and their loser franchise.

Anonymous said...

Please don't snag Laroche Orioles. Thanks.

How can we evaluate the trade without knowing the players or seeing if these guys are flipped with another Nat for a good SP somewhere? Chill.

Anonymous said...

Henry Rodriguez seems to be one (pitcher).

NatsJack in Florida said...

I don't have any problem losing Willingham. I actually expected it but figured I'd be able to process the transaction immediately.

This is proving to be more fun but I can't wait to see how it shakes out.

Again, as long as we end up with LaRoche and a solid young arm, getting DeJesus, Conner Jackson, or even Chris Carter makes us younger and more athletic.

Anonymous said...

H. Rodriguez has thrown 100mph:
http://mlbpn.com/category/henry-rodriguez/

Anonymous said...

I guess Rodriguez is the one with ML experience, as he threw 27.2 innings last year.

Anonymous said...

Ken_Rosenthal

Source: Free-agent RHP Chien-Ming Wang close to returning to #Nationals on one-year deal. #MLB

Pete said...

I'm hearing its Corey Brown and Henry Rodriguez.

natsfan1a said...

MLB Trade Rumors follow up posting on LaRoche has an O's source saying that the sides are *not* close to a deal.

Pete said...

12) Corey Brown, OF, Grade C+: 80 games, .337/.429/.537 with 10 homers, 17 steals for Midland, but .156/.207/.275 in 34 games for Sacramento. Triple-A pitching exposed his weaknesses of approach, but with his tools more chances will come.

BQ said...

I hope one of them is Daric Barton so we can address our 1B situation.

Jaxpo Nat said...

If that is the deal, I am okay with it. Brown has some solid minor league numbers, with as many as 30HR and 20SB with a decent average... and he is left-handed. Henry Rodriguez has ungodly strikeout numbers, but walks too many... both could pay off, or both could not. Time will tell.

Rob Dibble said...

Fare thee well, Hammer.

DFL said...

Anonymous, I understand what you are saying regarding the two last place finishes. However, the 2009 squad had terrible relief and starting pitching along with weaknesses at half the field positions(Kearns/Dukes in Right, Nieves/Bard at Catcher, Milledge/Maxwell/Harris in Center, Hernandez/Gonzalez at Second). The 2010 Nats really only boasted improvements at Short with Desmond and in relief pitching, good for about ten extra wins. The Nats were not bad because of Dunn and Willingham in 2009 and 2010. They were bad in 2009 and 2010 because of years of neglect in developing a youth cadre.

Anonymous said...

Ladson: I was just informed that 1B Chris Carter is not part of the Willingham deal. I hope to get more later.

Nick said...

Henry Rodriguez and Corey Brown says Rosenthal.

NatsJack in Florida said...

MLB Trade Rumors has it as Brown and Rodriguez.

For what it's worth, the A's website comments aren't real positive.

sec3 my sofa said...

"For what it's worth, the A's website comments aren't real positive."
There are baseball websites where fans ARE positive? This is news to me.

Golfersal said...

I am sorry but trading a know commodity like Willingham for a couple of players not even name is crazy. Two years ago they got rid of Nick Johnson for players that nobody knows nothing about.

I think this is embarrassing getting nothing for a good player. Yes it's probably a way of saving his salary but he had a good two years as a National and shouldn't be treated like yesterday's newspaper.

This is sickening and makes no sense Mr. Rizzo.

Section 222 said...

I love this theory that Rizzo dealt Willingham to free up salary for LaRoche or Greinke. This after the Lerners agreed to shell out $18 million per year to Werth. Come on, they are billionaires for goodness sakes. Another $6 million for a player Rizzo wants is peanuts. And with or without that $6 million, our payroll will be middle of the pack in MLB at most. I really hope we got some really good young pitching in this deal, not more Stammens and Mocks and Atilanos, because the salary explanation just doesn't cut it. We also just gave up perhaps our best trading chip (or at least our most valuable one within reason since there's no way Rizzo parts with JZimmnn or Desmond) for a potential deal for an established pitcher. I hope that doesn't come back to haunt us.

Joe said...

I think Henry Rod. could make a good addition to our rotation. Corey Brown will see some time in AAA in syracuse. He is a first round pick in 2007 and he is very fast. Both are only 23 years old. All in all I like the trade IF we can get a solid first baseman like LaRoche.

Anonymous said...

Wow, a no hit prospect and a guy with 27 major league innings, Mr. Rizzo you have just been eaned. The A's made drasitic moves to get a boetter roster this year at low cost while we have done little more than a symbolic signing..UGH!

Sec3 said...

FWIW, Golfer, I will miss him too, but there are no known quantities in baseball. "In baseball, you don't know nothin." There are probabilities, and the probability that Willingham is going to learn to be faster, or more athletic, or healthier, ain't favorable. Mr. Rizzo wants younger and faster, not older and with more insurance.

Anonymous said...

Power arms in the bullpen. Who needs starting pitching when the bullpen will take over in the 3rd inning anyways? I say we have 16-17 guys in the pen and roll with it. ^^

Noirelune said...

Rodriguez throw over 100 mph Willingham is fragile and is often in a slump and play bad defense. It is easier to find a Willingham than to find a Rodriguez. What is the problem???

Anonymous said...

HRod is another power armed reliever. Rizzo is collecting power arms for the bullpen it seems?

Its 2009 that everyone is concerned about. He went 43 innings in AAA, struck out an eye popping 71 but also walked 38 and allowed 4 home runs. He had a 5.77 ERA and the WHIP was 1.740.

In 2010 Rodriguez struck out 31 and walked nine in 21.1 innings exclusively in AAA allowing 1 home run. ERA 1.69, WHIP 0.891 before
being recalled to the majors.

Joe said...

Idk why some people are upset with the trade. I really liked willingham myself but we got two young players with potential in return. Willingham only had one year left on his contract I believe plus he is injury prone, not too much spped, and his defense is ok at best. Again, I think Henry Rod. will have a good shot at making the rotation and corey Brown will be in AAA. Both are only 23 with upcoming talent. Those two players we just got is exactly what rizzo wants. I do agree with you guys that we do need to pick up SOMEONE that can play now. I think if LaRoche will sign this will turn out really well for us.

Anonymous said...

What the heck do you people think you're going to get for Willingham? He's a decent player but hardly a star and injury prone to boot.

I think a power arm and the A's 2007 #1 pick (a center fielder) is a damn good trade for the Nats.

Anonymous said...

Just as a matter of interest, how many World Series have the A's won under Beane? Just askin'... The A's were .500 team last year, right?

Bowdenball said...

Rodriguez seems like a Rays type of guy. I'm holding out hope that we're gathering assets for a Garza deal.

sec3 said...

17 bullpen guys and 8 position players? It would never work...how would you double-switch?

Anonymous said...

Corey Brown is reported to be a fast center fielder. Could he be slotted as a possible Morgan replacement? That would be very positive news if for no other reason that it would suggest the Nats are looking to replace Morgan at some point.

NatsJack in Florida said...

A first round pick from 4 years ago (think Ross Detwiler) and a 23 year old that hits 100 on the gun.

Willingham is a known quantity (injured every year, 31 year old with no wheels and no defensive abilities who can get on base till August 1st of every year) but the kids we got should be a roster upgrade in short order.

I say this ONLY if we get LaRoche.

cwj said...

I like the trade.
Rodriguez has incredible K numbers. Brown will hopefully replace Nyjer by mid-Summer.

Now PLEASE sign LaRoche for heaven's sake!

Section 223 said...

I hope Harold Reynolds likes the deal.

JD said...

Rodriguez has already had 27 big league appearances for the A's and he held his own. A 23 year who throws high 90's is well worth the risk.

DFL said...

Question- What accounts for Brown's sub-.200 Batting Average in AAA last year? Injuries? If he was overmatched, that would be a bad sign.

Anonymous said...

I also think this is a fine deal. I like the Hammer, but watching him run made MY back hurt. Quite frankly, considering he is up for arbitration and only has one year left, I'm surprised we got THIS much for him. Good job Rizzo. Now sign LaRoche or Lee and it will, for once, actually be fun watching this team play defense.

BallstonNat said...

If you want to compare Rizzo to Billy B., you'll get your opportunity to do so at the trade deadline. Willingham won't stay in Oakland all year if he remains healthy. Billy will try and flip him for prospects, so I'm sure he feels he'll be able to get better prospects at the deadline than he gave up now.

That being said, I am fine with moving Willingham now. I'll miss his hot April and May, but after that, he always declines.

Now go get LaRoche. Derek Lee was great 5 years ago, not now.

Pilchard said...

This is Baseball America's take on Corey Brown heading into last season:

He's got five-tool potential, but what ended up keeping him off (the A's top 10 prospect list) was his lack of a consistent approach, which was reflected in his high strikeout totals. Sometimes he'll show a willingness to use the whole field, while at other times he looks like he's trying to jerk balls. That's the big difference between him and guys like Doolittle and Cardenas, who look like professional hitters and are safer bets to hit at the major league level.

This was BA's take on whether Rodriguez's future rests as a starter or reliever:

The sense I got from talking to A's people about him is that it might just be time to see whether he's going to sink or swim in the majors. He seemed unmotivated at times in Triple-A last year but responded well to the challenge of facing big leaguers in September. The A's haven't ruled out returning him to starting, but he looks like he's still best suited for the back of bullpen if he can throw enough strikes.

sec3 said...

"That would be very positive news if for no other reason that it would suggest the Nats are looking to replace Morgan at some point."

I guarantee they are looking to replace him at *some* point.
Some point in CY2011 would be ok with me.

Tim said...

It was only 41 games at AAA last season. Maybe he will adjust this season.

NatsJack in Florida said...

sec3...like February 2011 would be fine by me.

sec3 said...

I think he should get a shot at the job, just not without significant competition.

JD said...

I think people over think this a bit. I think Beane feels that his team has a great chance of competing in their division this year; hence he added Matsui, DeJesus etc to go with their excellent rotation. Beane's MO is to stockpile young assets so he can strike when he feels his team is close; it doesn't mean he is giving you garbage in return; if that was the case no one would trade with him.

I think that this is a win win for both teams.

Wally said...

I admit to being a little puzzled by this too. I am not 'down' on the trade; honestly, I know nothing about either one of these guys, and will trust Rizzo and his team to evaluate prospects properly.

My puzzlement is that Willingham has to have more value in 2011 than either of these guys, and by signing Werth, even though it is for 7 years, they have to be trying to get more competitive right away too.

So until i hear something else, I guess that I am in the camp of believing that Rizzo has something else cooking that this is a part of, like BowdenBall said.

sec3 said...

Wally, I think your premise is wrong. Willingham is by no means a lock to have more value than *both* of these guys (that was the trade, 2 for 1), especially if that balky back gives out again, or his knee does, or he just doesn't have a particularly good year, while either or both of these 23-year-olds does have a good year--in that case, they would probably be worth more in trade than he would.

Anonymous said...

ESPN is speculating that Edwin Jackson might be available again. There's another power armed starter that might come cheaper than Garza or Grienke.

Anonymous said...

The problem is..Jackson sucks

HHover said...

Jackson doesn't suck, but he's not part of any realistic Phase 2. He's not a top of the rotation guy (4.60 career ERA), and he's only under contract for one more year, at a hefty $8M.

If he has a fluke good year in 2011, his price for 2012 and beyond goes up substantially; if he stays truer to form, he doesn't make much difference in 2011. Either way, he's not a long term building block.

Anonymous said...

Is LaRoche sort of like a Dunn-light? He has some pop, strikes out a lot and trades some power and slugging for slightly increased average and somewhat above average fielding? Seems like he still misses the ball alot yeah?

Anonymous said...

For those of you worried about Beane not getting fleeced, Carlos Gonzalez must not have gotten that memo.

Anonymous said...

OH EVEN better the two never will be's are on the 40 man way to F shit up Rizzo!

Sec3 said...

You can probably count on at least 2:1 strikeout to walk ratio, probably higher if last year was any indication. So yeah, he misses the ball a lot.

But he wouldn't be hitting higher than sixth, I'm guessing, unless Bernadina really is the everyday LF.

Anonymous said...

Boy, what a goofy trade! Couldn't we have sent the Hammer to Tampa Bay in a package for SP Shields?. Let's hope that these two prospects are sleepers. And, please lock up LaRoche sooner rather than later.

Anonymous said...

hey, 5:17, come back when you're sober, ok?

Anonymous said...

I thought Hammer was a key to securing starting pitching, I am lost over this one. I hope we see much more Rog in LF than we do Morse!!!!

sec3 said...

Anon @ 5:44--may I suggest that's because you've been believing too much of what you read below the line that says "Posted by Mark Zuckerman at..."
Once you hit that grey line, you really need to consider the sources judiciously.

sec3 said...

and my capcha for that was "ashorr"

I don't mind criticism, but that's just rude.

Theophilus said...

Even if not injured, Willingham has always seemed to me of more dubious value as the season wears on. He appears to be mostly a mistake hitter, and all most all of the mistakes are thigh high on the inside half of the plate. And he does with them what he should do. But by August and September these mistakes occur less frequently and pitchers are going out of their way to find other ways to deal with him.

So I'm not sure he's a big loss, as popular as he may have been. Hopefully we will be surprised by the return. No one -- see the Cuban in Cincinnati -- can throw 103 for 6-9 innings let alone for six mos. So Rodriguez is a seventh or eighth inning guy and the other guy can hit the fast ball but not the curve. (Minor leaguers end up flaming out because they can't hit the heat, not the curve. The curve ball can be learned. His big homer year says he can hit the fast ball. So this guy needs to learn to hit the curve. That's why Espinosa went to the Dom Winter League.) If this guy can learn to hit the curve, change, etc., taking Morgan's job in a year should be easy.

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