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Willingham Named NL Co-Player of the Week

Josh Willingham on Monday was named NL Co-Player of the Week after a stretch (July 27-Aug. 2) that included two grand slams, three home runs and 11 RBI. During the last week, Willingham, who shares the award with San Francisco pitcher Tim Lincecum, went 10 for 23 (.435) with a .519 on-base percentage and a .913 slugging percentage.

This is the latest benchmark in a breakout season for Willingham, 30, who was acquired in an offseason trade with Florida. Willingham entered the season with a .266 career average, homering once every 22.6 at bats. This season, Willingham has a .305 average and 17 homers in 246 at bats, one every 14.5 at bats.

By Chico Harlan  |  August 3, 2009; 3:17 PM ET
 
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Comments

Tremendous performance after that bit of a post-All Star period swoon. Let's see if he clears waivers and the subsequent deal that can be crafted.

Posted by: joemktg1 | August 3, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

CO-player of the week? So what did Lincecum do last week?

I know he had a good day vs. the Phillies on Saturday, but he didn't go all 9 innings.

What Hammer did is rarer than Buehrle's perfecto! Gimme a break!

Posted by: shepdave2003 | August 3, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Posted by: flynnie2 | August 3, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

506

Give me the right lens and I can produce 167 at-bats to prove that Emilio Bonafacio is the next truly great lead-off man. Not only that but he's gold glover too.

Case closed!

Posted by: soundbloke | August 3, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Yep, I'm glad to see him get some props for his week. It's a rare moment of feel-good in Natstown.

And (duh) Lincecum didn't go all 9 because he was pitching at home. So, yeah, I guess he got a complete-game shutout after all. Versus the World Series champs.

So, okay, the Freak can be recognized too, I guess.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | August 3, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

@Brue - I challenged anyone to show that situational hitting exists - that certain players excel in it year after year - that it can be taught. You respond by listing its attributes. But if all of the things you list are random events i.e. where the ball goes when hit, then it can't be taught, and no one should be criticized or praised for situational hitting.

Posted by: flynnie2 | August 3, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

"Give me the right lens and I can produce 167 at-bats to prove that Emilio Bonafacio is the next truly great lead-off man. Not only that but he's gold glover too."

Clearly it's somewhere on Mike Rizzo's desk, since he used it on Florida!

Posted by: Section506 | August 3, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

"And the Nats, under the Lerners, have never received a player in trade who makes decent money! Never, as in not ever, or to say it another way, it has not ever happened."

In order to receive a player in trade who makes big money, a team has to give up a similar player or several players who make a lesser amount of money. The fallacy of your argument (which is getting more and more tired the more you keep repeating it) is that the Nationals have not had the kind of players they would need to trade for a big money player. Unless of course they wanted to trade for a washed up big money player that no one else wants, e.g. Barry Zito, Andruw Jones, etc. Then all it would take is a bag of balls. But those are not the kind of big money players you build a winning team around.

You mentioned the Soriano trade. Look at who they traded for him - Wilkerson, Sledge (both major leaguers) plus a prospect. The Nats do not currently have the number of trade chips necessary to pull off more trades like that and continue to build their organizational depth. You don't build a team around two or three high-priced players and nothing else.
Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | August 3, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

The NBA has the "similar salary" restriction when trades are made, but, MLB does not. You can take on salary as a trade strategy.

Have you noticed that the Red Sox, Dodgers, Yankees, Tigers, and whole bunches of other clubs with committed owners take high-salaried guys off the hands of small market teams that cannot afford them? Go through the Red Sox roster and see how they were built. Your comment supposes that these are baseball decisions only. Actually, they are business decisions at least as much. If you are willing to take on salary, then you can get more in trade than you give up. The guys the Nats gave up for the high-priced Soriano were not all that talented.

Posted by: EdDC | August 3, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

They kept Bonifacio in the lineup ... they moved him to shortstop.

Posted by: periculum | August 3, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

"Have you noticed that the Red Sox, Dodgers, Yankees, Tigers, and whole bunches of other clubs with committed owners take high-salaried guys off the hands of small market teams that cannot afford them?"

I don't know if this is a point in your favor or a point in opposition, but that's basically how the Nats got Olsen and Willingham for Bonifacio.

Posted by: Section506 | August 3, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see him do well!

Posted by: PattyinSJ | August 3, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

EdDC's points are valid. Bottom line, the Lerner's are running this operation on the cheap.

They are refusing to spend money on players for this franchise. It's disgusting.

2 weeks until the Strasburg deadline. I'm not holding my breath. If he goes unsigned. My 20 gamer will not be renewed.

Posted by: Section505203 | August 3, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Is Beimel going to be a type A or B free agent this year? Just want to point out that those picks could have helped defray the any picks we'd lose this offseason by signing a free agent. As it stands, those prospects we got don't look like much.

Posted by: dclifer97 | August 3, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

"Just want to point out that those picks could have helped defray the any picks we'd lose this offseason by signing a free agent. As it stands, those prospects we got don't look like much."

Ladson et al report that Rizzo plans on being active. He's not done yet.

Posted by: periculum | August 3, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

The Nats would have to offer Beimel arbitration in order to get the draft picks, but if we did that, he'd most likely re-sign as it would be a raise over his current salary and more than his free agent market value.

Posted by: sec307 | August 3, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

"2 weeks until the Strasburg deadline. I'm not holding my breath. If he goes unsigned. My 20 gamer will not be renewed."

Hopefully both he and Karns will be signed before the deadline.

Posted by: periculum | August 3, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Also, while the Hudson's old team (D-backs?) got a sandwich pick between the 1st and 2nd rounds, didn't the Dodgers lose their 2nd rounder for signing him? Meaning that the Nats would have lost the Kobernus pick if they had signed Hudson as punishment... if I understand things correctly.

Posted by: sec307 | August 3, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Not that I think he would, it wouldn't have been the end of the world if Beimel resigned, considering his current salary was deflated. A raise wouldn't have been terrible. However, I'm more concerned that they traded him for some scrap players to dump his salary, which I repeat, wasn't much.

Posted by: dclifer97 | August 3, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

"And (duh) Lincecum didn't go all 9 because he was pitching at home" shepdave2003

In the words of the Virgin Mary; come again?

Posted by: sjt1455 | August 3, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

No the NBA style of trades are not the law of MLB but it's not law or rule on paper that prevents them from not happening it's the RULE OF BRAIN.
Without that all sorts of brainless trades are made. I hope that clears things up.

Posted by: CBinDC | August 3, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Sec307 asks: "Also, while the Hudson's old team (D-backs?) got a sandwich pick between the 1st and 2nd rounds, didn't the Dodgers lose their 2nd rounder for signing him? Meaning that the Nats would have lost the Kobernus pick if they had signed Hudson as punishment... if I understand things correctly."

The Dodgers gave the D-backs their 1st rounder, the #17 overall, plus the D-backs got a sandwich pick, #35 overall, for losing Hudson.

If the Nats had signed Hudson, the D-backs would have received a sandwich pick plus a second rounder from the Nats, because the Nats were a bottom-half club. (The rules are set up to favor the teams that win less.) That's how I understand these complex rules anyway.

So yes, the Nats could not have drafted Kobernus. Instead, the Nats would have had Hudson for this season (unless they traded him for prospects at the trade deadline). Then when Hudson signed elsewhere in 2010, the Nats would get a first rounder if Hudson signed with a top-half club or a second-rounder if Hudson signed with a bottom-half club. Plus, the Nats would receive a compensatory pick between the first and second rounds. If you do this a lot, you can actually stock yourselves with lots more high draft picks than you would otherwise have--a steady stream of them.

Naturally, it is better to sign a guy like Dunn, who cost the Nats no draft picks at all.

Posted by: EdDC | August 3, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

What is the best Nats trade all time?

for Soriano? for Willingham/Olsen? for Dukes? any others?

Posted by: longterm | August 3, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

longterm, are you nuts? Best trade ever?

Two word answer for you, man:

Nyjer.

Morgan.

Posted by: baltova1 | August 3, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

"Two word answer for you, man:

Nyjer.

Morgan."

Right now former 1st round pick left-handed reliever Burnett has the lowest WHIP on the club. You got both of these guys with that trade.

That's like hitting the tri-xacta for the Nats.

Posted by: periculum | August 3, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

And that's Rizzo at work. The guy's been making chicken salad out of you know what: making the case for getting the permanent title.

Posted by: joemktg1 | August 3, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

"And that's Rizzo at work. The guy's been making chicken salad out of you know what: making the case for getting the permanent title.

Posted by: joemktg1 | August 3, 2009"

It appears to go beyond knowledge of the guys skills and potential ... his intuition about these players often appears to be almost uncanny.

Posted by: periculum | August 3, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

I still question trading for a guy who just underwent elbow surgery.

Mattheus impressed the Rockies enough after a move to the pen last year that he was added to the 40-man roster over the winter. He had a 3.81 ERA in 26 innings at three levels this season before requiring season-ending elbow surgery. A future as a middle reliever is a possibility. Fabian, 23, is a real long shot. He was 3-6 with a 6.24 ERA, 105 H and 54/21 K/BB in 83 2/3 IP for low Single-A Asheville.

Posted by: dclifer97 | August 3, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

I agree. Morgan and Burnett look great right now for Milledge and Hanrahan.

Almost criminal in fact.

I loved how Dibs was killing Milldege and Hanrahan in the broadcast yesterday. Tell it like it is Dibs!

Posted by: Section505203 | August 3, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

This may have been noticed by others, but just saw it. From the blog on uniforms at ESPN, summarizing those most in need of a make-over (we're no. 7). Kinda funny. Tho I don't agree with the road uni bashing - I like the script. But I had not idea how many other uniform messes we've had this year, besides good ol' Natinals, of course.

"There are so many things wrong with this uni set -- the home jersey typography clashes with the cap logo, the new road jersey script clashes with the uni numbers, the team can't decide if its primary color is red or navy, etc. -- but all you really need to know is that the uniforms themselves have been crying out for help this season. Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn both had the team name misspelled in the same game, Wil Ledezma had an upside-down N, and Ron Villone pitched an inning with his front uni numbers peeling off his jersey. Maybe they were simply trying to escape? Couldn't blame them. Look, just go back to wearing Expos uniforms until you can come up with something decent. S.U.C.K.itude: 33.5 out of 40."

Posted by: cdstej | August 3, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

ahhh, seems like just yesterday Hammer was riding the pine behind good old Kearnsy...Kinda sad on the organization's talent evalutation part early this year.

Posted by: TheycallmeThriiiiiiilledge | August 3, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Of course, last year at this time we would have said the best trade was Rauch-Bonifacio....

Posted by: Section506 | August 3, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of clutch players, if there is such a thing as a clutch hitter, then it stands to reason there would be clutch pitchers, and clutch defenders (Dave Winfield comes to mind immediately). I have no idea how you factor all that into the concept, but I think we're beyond the Three Body Problem in complexity by this time.

******************
Could it be that pitchers try harder when there are 2 outs and men in scoring position...and this extra effort is enough to knock down the batting average of our Nats? Maybe they'd be consistent .215 hitters if pitchers were always bearing down.
Posted by: AHappyWarrior | August 3, 2009 4:30 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 3, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

The Giants have been playing 8-inning games for some time now. It's a holdover from the Bonds days--he had it in his contract--and they just left it in because since then the fans all leave by the 7th anyway.

****************************
"And (duh) Lincecum didn't go all 9 because he was pitching at home" shepdave2003

Come again?
Posted by: sjt1455 | August 3, 2009 4:29 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 3, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Depends on whether they keep Willingham, and Olsen holds up. Yes to both = best so far.
But Soriano was a good deal at the time, and subsequently netted NN and Smoker (who may yet make it up here).
***********
What is the best Nats trade all time?
for Soriano? for Willingham/Olsen? for Dukes? any others?
Posted by: longterm | August 3, 2009 4:53 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 3, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Hey, is the Interim Fan t-shirt night coming up soon?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 3, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

And another thing --- I don't like the name "Nationals." Sounds like a department store chain.
If they keep that name, I'm trading in my season tickets!
Or would, if I had any.

*********************
This may have been noticed by others, but just saw it. From the blog on uniforms at ESPN, summarizing those most in need of a make-over (we're no. 7).
Posted by: cdstej | August 3, 2009 5:16 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 3, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

"and Ron Villone pitched an inning with his front uni numbers peeling off his jersey. Maybe they were simply trying to escape?"

No, that's where he keeps the Vaseline.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 3, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

The curly W looks like the Walgreen's logo. Worst look ever. And the name Nationals (or even Senators) is our jinx, in my opinion. Twice a losing franchise. Of course, if we picked a new name it might be something like Wizards (ugh) or Mystics (ugh ugh!) Ha!

Posted by: poncedeleroy | August 3, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

I have massive man-love for Nyjer Morgan. He's my kind of player, and you know Frank would've loved him. And Milledge is a jerk. BUT -- get back to me in three years, when Nyjer (whose game is in his legs) is slipping, and let's see where Milledge is then.

To me, the Milledge deal is best described as addition by subtraction.

Posted by: gbooksdc | August 3, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

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