Washington Nationals reached a deal with the Oakland Athletics today sending Josh Willingham to Oakland for Henry Rodriguez a 23 year old right handed pitching prospect and Corey Brown a 25 year old outfielder.
Willingham being traded was a move that had been expected especially after the Nats acquired Jayson Werth via free agency. The only questions were when, where and for what well now we know the answer to all three.
Henry Rodriguez is a fireballing relief pitcher with 31.2 innings of major league pitching experience between 2009 and the 2010 seasons with the Oakland Athletics. Last year with the A’s he threw for 33 strikeouts to just 27.2 innings pitched (10.7 strikeouts per 9 innings). He has had some control issues to this point in his young career having averaged 4.2 walks per 9 innings with the A’s in 2010. However though control issues are not completely uncommon for young pitchers and is an issue that can be worked on and improved. What he does bring to the table for the Nats is one of the most powerful arms in baseball with a fastball that averaged 98.45 miles per hour last season with a top speed clocked at 103.2 miles per hour.
Rodriguez is currently pitching in the Venezuelan Winter League for the Leones del Caracas where he has 27 strikeouts in 20.1 innings pitched with a 1.77 era and has 5 saves. With his arm if he can get his control improved he could be a very big piece in the Nats bullpen. He will probably start the season in the majors and could eventually compete for the job as either the Nats setup man or closer.
Corey Brown is probably a season or two away from the majors but has some potential. In 2010 he put up 15 home runs, 69 rbis, 22 steals and a .283 batting average in 131 games combined at the AA and AAA levels. He dominated last season at the AA level with .320 avg, .415 obp and a .502 slg% but struggled pretty bad when he moved up to the AAA level putting up a stat line of .193 avg, .253 obp, and a .378 slg%. So with his performance at the AAA level I would expect for him to start the season in the minors.
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