While throwing out hyphothetical moves still to be made this winter, Washington Post writer Thomas Boswell, in a recent article entitled, "Rizzo's checklist for the Nationals is halfway there", on the Washington Nationals' offseason plans, suggests that it's possible that the Nationals would be willing to part with their starting left fielder, Josh Willingham, if they could package the hard-hitting (at least in the first half of '09) right-handed bat, who's considered by some a defensive liability, with one of Washington's young starters in order to bring back, "...a rotation-ready young starter of higher quality," which would, in turn, allow the Nationals:
"...(to) use the millions they don't pay Willingham to sign a free agent hitter who is better defensively, such as Xavier Nady."
I was on board with the idea of possibly, and I stress possibly, trading Willingham if there was a chance of bringing a Javier Vazquez-type back in return from the Braves when they were in the market for an outfielder (and looking to shed payroll). The Yankees gave up OF Melky Cabrera, left-hander Michael Dunn and prospect Arodys Vizcaino to get Vazquez and LHP Boone Logan. Would a package of Willingham and a Craig Stammen or J.D. Martin have gotten a deal done? Arodyz Vizcaino was the highest rated pitching prospect in the Yankees' system entering the 2009 season, Michael Dunn was a combined (4-3) with a 3.31 ERA in 38 games in which he averaged 12.2 K/9 at two stops (AA and AAA) in the Yankees' system before he made his MLB debut in September '09. Is any fan of the Nationals willing to give up an equivalent package to get a starting pitcher of Vazquez's talents? How about a "young starter of higher quality" like Mr. Boswell suggests? Or should the Nationals just keep Willingham, who's under their control for the near future until someone gets desperate at the trade deadline and makes the right offer?