According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, the Rays are showing strong interest in signing Josh Willingham of the Oakland A’s…

The Tampa Bay Rays are making a serious run at free agent OF Josh Willingham, BB source says

Willingham is not a new name on the Rays radar. He was targeted by the Rays at this year’s trade deadline, and at the trade deadline in 2010. But both times they were unable to make a deal.

However, acquiring Willingham certainly adds an interesting twist. It would seem the Rays are set in the outfield with Desmond Jennings, BJ Upton, and Matt Joyce. Signing Willingham would mean that the Rays are: 1) serious about trading Upton; 2) don’t believe Joyce can be an everyday player; or 3) the Rays are considering Joyce as a 1B/DH option.

Willingham, who will be 33 next season, hit .246 with 29 home runs and a .332 OBP this past season in a pitcher-friendly park. His .350 wOBA was strong, but was down from his typical range of .360-.380.

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7 Comments

  1. Wizzle says:

    I'll take that.

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  2. Scott says:

    Come on now I thought this would be obvious but I guess not. This acquisition would mean that the Rays have a new DH and an extra outfielder, that is all. No need to think any deeper than that on this potential signing.

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      Willingham played 100 games in the OF last year. I would be surprised if he is willing to go to full-time DH at age 33 when he will have other offers to play the OF.

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      • Ken says:

        Would the Rays consider rotating the 4 OF'S using the DH? In that way the Rays could keep B.J., D.J., Matt and Josh fresh throughout the season. I have read that Josh can play RF along with LF, so the rotation might work.

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  3. Greg says:

    I think Willingham would DH quite a bit (bad back for years) and is really only a left fielder. I think this has more implications toward Damon than Joyce.

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  4. pete says:

    If we get Willingham i think he would play mainly 1B

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  5. Joe says:

    If Rays can just find a way to simply get Willingham and Alonso/Morrison, it will be a great offseason. Just think, last year, we had a 3B and a CF, the rest was question marks and hoping.

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