Florida’s trash, Washington’s treasure!

The last few days for me have been quite bittersweet as I watched former Marlins outfielder, Josh Willingham, make baseball history. How rare is it to hit two Grand Slams in one game? Josh is just the third player to do it in the National League and 13th in the Majors. Perfect games are more common!

Josh was sent packing to baseball purgatory, Washington, last season by the Marlins. He is what you’d call a “late bloomer” who also happens to be injury prone. His best year came in 2006 when he hit 26 home runs with a .277 batting average. The next two years he spent much time on the Disabled List.

What’s really sad is despite being healthy, Willingham spent most of the early season riding the bench on the worst team in baseball. In April and June he had just 35 at-bats both months. Finally able to get some playing time in July, Willingham has hit 7 home runs, driven in 23 runners, and hit .329 in over 80 at-bats.

It’s really disappointing to know the Marlins gave up on “The Hammer” but kept former super prospect, Jeremy Hermida on the team for another year. Hermida, a wasted #1 draft for Florida is in his 5th Major League season and is on pace for his third 15 HR/100+ K year.

It’s good to see one of the genuinely good guys grab some attention.

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7 comments

  1. Growing up in New York, the only team I watched was the Yankees. As of recently, my early adult years have been spent right outside Washington DC. What a change in lifestyle (and professional sports!). Despite the Nationals poor performance since their 2005 re-inception, I have become quite appreciative of the organization. Yeah they have had their issues, but what team doesn’t?

    Thankfully all of the players are very fan friendly. Between autograph sessions before games and events outside the ballpark, it is a pleasure meeting these grown men around the same age as I. With the way things have been going, it’s the fan interaction that keeps people coming back for more.

    Getting to my main point regarding Josh and this post. Of the many times I have seen Mr Willingham talk with fans and sign autographs before games, I was lucky enough to get a ball signed this past Sunday. Seven innings later Josh hit a solo home run to tie the game against the Padres. Like you said, Josh is a “genuinely good guy”. If good fan karma is any indication of his performance on the field, I hope the Nationals can keep him around for a few more years.

    PS – great site Wax Heaven

  2. Some recent trade rumors suggest DC might ship Willingham back to the Marlins before the trade deadline is up, so you might not have to lament the day he was traded from the Fish too much longer.

  3. Willingham is an average player, having a spectacularly great season that’s more than likely the result of luck rather than some massive skill increase. There’s no doubting Willingham has improved, but I wouldn’t expect him to continue his torrid pace.

    Overall, it’s really starting to show that Hermida suffered immeasurably from being rushed through the system. It really sucks for the kid because everything you look for, he’s got. Unfortunately, he still constantly looks overwhelmed and has found himself being a slap hitter to avoid being a strike-out machine.

    Willingham’s 30 years old, and Hermida’s barely 25. Will Hermida eventually put it together to be an all-star caliber player? If he can regain some of his confidence, I’m betting yes.

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