Here’s a transcript from Willingham’s interview from this morning
Oakland A’s OF Josh Willingham joined The Rise Guys on 95.7 The GAME this morning to discuss his pending unrestricted free agency.
The Rise Guys are Whitey Gleason, Mark Kreidler, and Dan Dibley. They can be heard weekday mornings, 6:00-10:00am on 95.7 The GAME, The Bay Area’s ONLY FM Sports Station.
On a possible return to Oakland:
I would think it’s a possibility you know, we’re hopefully entertaining several authors here pretty soon, I can’t give you a percentage or anything, it’s definitely something we’ll take into consideration for sure.
If you did leave Oakland would you consider a stay in the Bay Area, would you potentially be interested in the Giants?
If that’s an offer that comes on the table, for sure, it’s one of those things you don’t know who is going to offer, you don’t know how many offers you’re going to get, and you got to just play it by year as they come, obviously there are places that are closer to home, places we have enjoyed playing before and Oakland is one of those places, so we’ll just have to see what is out there in a couple of weeks maybe.
Is it frustrating from your position to not be sure what the [A’s] organization’s future direction is?
Well it is, and that’s one thing Billy has always done is been honest with me and been open with players in general and he told me at the end of the season what the organization was thinking as a whole and what their uncertainties were. As far as I’m concerned, I just kind of worry about what’s best for me and my family and go from there, but Billy has been great, he’s been really honest with me and I still don’t know if they know exactly what’s going to happen.
Do you expect tomorrow [Thursday, November 3rd] to be a big day for you because it’s the first day you can talk to other teams?
I really have no idea what to expect. I don’t know how that stuff works if a lot of the times it happens early or if it happens later, I have no idea what to expect. I think the best case scenario when you become a free agent is you just have multiple places and opportunities to choose from and do what’s best for yourself and your family. I don’t know if that’s going to be ten teams that are interested in me or 15 or 5 or whatever so I’m really going into this with not a whole lot of knowledge because I’ve never done it before. Where I think this is the time you have to trust your agent and just kind of let him handle it and keep you informed.
What was it like playing in Oakland this year Josh?
I thought I had a great experience. I really loved my teammates, my coaches… all the fans were great to me and the response that I got from them was something that I got a lot of satisfaction out of… the fans out there, the ones that are really loyal and come to the games and support… you are great, and again, my teammates were awesome. I loved the area. We lived in San Ramon and my wife and I and my kids really loved that area and visiting San Francisco and the Bay Area and stuff was definitely a positive experience for sure.
How much of that goes into your decision making as far as the happiness of your wife and the area you live and the response from the fans, are those the things that could possibly sway you to maybe stay in Oakland?
Well those are things that you consider because if you go somewhere else you don’t know what you’re going to get from that aspect and that’s one thing I know I’m going to get from the A’s and the living situation there and as a family we know what we are going to get, so for sure that would be considered.
On whether he might sign with a team closer to your home in Alabama because the travel back and forth to Oakland difficult for your family:
Absolutely that’s something to consider. We will definitely consider that and I think having two little kids, having one 5 years old and one 20 months old and we have one on the way, I think that’s something you have to consider as a family and that will be another aspect of consideration that we’ll have to do and evaluate.
Some players don’t like the mental aspect, the mental adjustment of DH-ing, you did more DH-ing than you had in any previous season in your career, and how did you handle the mental aspect of being a designated hitter this season?
Well I think that’s something you kind of have to learn as you go. I had never done it except maybe one or two times a year when we played interleague when I was in the National League, so I think ideally I wouldn’t have DH-ed that much but I was a little banged up and had a little Achilles problem there for a while and I think getting those DH’s one or two times a week helped me get through the season and stay healthy, but as far as DH-ing, when I first started DH-ing a little bit I really didn’t know what to do with myself so you kind of have to develop a routine and something you kind of stick with and for me it was being able to stay moving. I couldn’t just hit and then sit in the dugout for twenty or thirty minutes before I hit again. I had to go into the clubhouse and stay stretched out and maybe swing a bat a little bit, just stay loose I think that was the main thing for me.
Are you intrigued with what’s going on with [your former team] the Marlins in Miami and Ozzie Guillen going in to run that team?
Yeah I am intrigued by that and I still have some friends that play on the Marlins, you know. I think that the owner there, Jeffery Loria is going to try and make a big splash on the free agent market especially moving into that new stadium so it’s something to kind of look out for. It’s going to be interesting to see what that organization does going into that new stadium and who they try and go out and get. I know they got Ozzie so it’ll be something to watch for sure.
Your last three home parks have been really pitcher’s parks, Washington, Florida, Oakland. Do you ever dream what your numbers could be if you were playing in a hitters park?
Yeah you think about stuff like that, you just really don’t get any cheap home runs in Oakland or Washington or Florida for that matter and if you play in a place like Philadelphia you can miss a ball a little bit and get one to float in the first or second row, you know you might pick up an extra four or five home runs a year. I’m not sure, but it’s always interesting and maybe before my career is over I’d like to play in a park that favors hitters a little more.