Nationals Trade Josh Willingham To A's For Henry Rodriguez, Corey Brown

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Josh Willingham Traded For Henry Rodriguez, Corey Brown

Earlier on Thursday, we heard that a Josh Willingham trade was on the verge of going down between the Nationals and the A's. Now, according to Ken Rosenthal, everything's all done.

Willingham is being dealt in exchange for young pitcher Henry Rodriguez and young outfielder Corey Brown. Rodriguez is a 23-year-old righty reliever capable of touching 100 with his fastball. He also throws a mid-80s slider and an occasional changeup, and last year struck out 33 batters over 27.2 Major League innings. He's a big arm who, like all big arms, has future closing potential, although he struggles with wildness. Brown, meanwhile, is a 25-year-old left-handed outfielder who was selected 59th overall in 2007. He's a toolsy guy who struggled in his first exposure to AAA last year, but he has performed well in AA. He's a long shot to make an impact.

So the Nationals didn't end up with any top prospects, but they did get a late-innings reliever and an outfielder with a chance. You can only ask so much for a veteran outfielder with limited defensive ability in his last year of team control.

The A's will be happy to plug Willingham's bat into the middle of a restructured lineup that now features Willingham, David DeJesus, and Hideki Matsui. Willingham is expected to play left field and push Ryan Sweeney to the bench. He is only a minor upgrade on Sweeney when defense is considered, but the A's now have something resembling a Major League lineup.

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Josh Willingham Trade Agreed To In Principle By Nationals, A's

Outfielder Josh Willingham has been the subject of trade rumors for what feels like forever, but still he's remained in Washington for two years. Now, though, it seems he's reached the end of his Nationals career, as a trade has been agreed to in principle that will send Willingham to the A's in exchange for two young players.

The identities of the young players aren't yet known, but Buster Olney says that one of them has Major League experience, which narrows the field.

Willingham, 31, is entering his final year of team control, and is eligible for free agency after the season. He's set to earn a raise from the $4.6 million he made in 2010. That said, while he's a short-term and moderately pricey acquisition, he also provides a solid bat, as the righty owns a career .367 OBP and .475 slugging percentage. He's always a threat to get on base and hit for power, and he'll slide into the Oakland outfield alongside David DeJesus and Coco Crisp. Ryan Sweeney will be pushed to a reserve role.

Willingham joins DeJesus and Hideki Matsui as new big-time additions to an Oakland offense that badly underperformed in 2010. The A's are priming themselves to make a run at the AL West, as the leading Rangers have missed out on re-signing Cliff Lee.

The Nationals will likely replace Willingham with some combination of Mike Morse and Roger Bernadina, and use the money saved to bring in a first baseman.

The trade is only pending the exchange of medical information, and once it's official, we'll have the names of the young players going the other way.

Read more on the deal over at Federal Baseball and Athletics Nation.

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