Imagine spending your entire career being one of the best players on one of the worst teams in baseball. Then Imagine finally getting traded from that team once they started winning games, only to go to the now worst team in baseball. Then imagine not even sniffing a starting spot once you get to your new club. That is life for Josh Willingham these days.
The versatile left fielder/first baseman was a staple in the Marlins line up from 2006-2008, averaging 20.6 HR a year with a line of .265/.361/.471. However after three years of producing for a basement baseball team the Marlins thanked him by shipping him to Washington. The situation didn't seem too awful for Willingham at the time however, there was a corner outfield spot open and he was a solid corner outfielder.
Things took a turn for the worst for Willingham however when then general manager/ogre/idiot Jim Bowden made a good move acquiring all-star Adam Dunn, but couldn't free up any roster space through trades to make Willingham a valuable asset to the team. As a result Willingham is now the fifth outfielder and third first-baseman on the club.
Understandably Josh Willingham found this hard to swallow as he sat through two games watching his old team destroy his new team in the season opener. As a result Willingham went to talk to acting general manager Mike Rizzo to discuss the problem. According to MLB.com the two sides came to ‘an understanding.'
What is Rizzo to say to Willingham in such a situation?
"I am sorry you were brought in here by our former manager/ogre/idiot and that there was no purpose for you being here whatsoever...but you are a very good player...it's not you...it's us."
The truth is the Nationals are doing the right thing, not by benching a talented Willingham but by playing Dunn, Dukes and Milledge. These three players may very well be the most important in the Nats line up. Dunn is the present, and Milledge and Dukes are the future.
Sadly for Willingham it seems the best thing he can do now is sit, and wait for a contender to have an injury and need a guy who can hit a few bombs while playing on the corners.