Josh Willingham, a possible all-star, wants to stay a National
Tomorrow, Josh Willingham might become an all-star. By the end of the month, Willingham may or may not still be with the Washington Nationals.
Willingham, because of his production this year and the fact that he still has one year of team control remaining before he is eligible for free agency, might be the Nationals' most valuable trading chip, even more so than first baseman Adam Dunn. Willingham has already been traded once, in the 2008 offseason, and last year his name bubbled up in numerous rumors.
"I'm pretty familiar with it," Willingham said. "There's not really a lot you can do with it. If it happens, it's going to happen. You can't control it, so I don't worry about it."
Willingham, for his part, would prefer staying in Washington not just this season, but beyond. "I like it here a lot," Willingham said. "I don't have control of where I go until I'm free agent, so I don't worry about it. But I'm really comfortable with the organization. I like everybody involved, teammates, everything."
Willingham and the Nationals have yet to begin even initial discussions about a contract extension. Willingham is under team control for the 2011 season. After this year, the Nationals can either sign Willingham to a multiple-year contract, sign him for one season or go through arbitration.
"We'll see how it plays it out," Willingham said. "At the end of the year, if I'm still here - at the end of the year, we'll go through the arbitration process or something else."
More immediately, Willingham could make his first all-start team Sunday, when teams are announced. Among National League outfielders, Willingham ranks third in OPS (.919), first in on-base percentage (.407) and tied for third in home runs (15).
Willingham had not thought about potentially becoming until last night during. During a conversation, his agent told him, "You might make it."
"I was like, 'Well, alright,' " Willingham said. "There's no point in talking about it now, really."
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