Willingham “probably” wont be back with A’s

The Oakland A’s are “probably” going to lose their best offensive player this offseason.

But this is nothing new for the A’s.

What is new is the player’s agent calling out the team. Outfielder Josh Willingham’s agent, Matt Sosnick told the Oakland Tribune’s Joe Stiglich “My best guess is he will probably sign a three-year deal, and probably not with Oakland. I just don’t think that’s the position the A’s are in right now.”

Ouch.

Willingham, the A’s most dangerous hitter, clubbed 29 home runs, drove in 98 runs in his first season with the team.

It’s puzzling why an agent would give a quote like that, ruling out a team before the free agency period begins on Thursday. The goal of an agent is to find as many possible suitors for his clients. Alienating one just doesn’t seem like smart business, even if he believes that team wont make a serious bid.

Maybe he’s hoping his quote will motivate the A’s to prove him wrong. The A’s would be wise to loosen their wallet and bring Willingham back. After the left fielder, the A’s leader in home runs is Kurt Suzuki with 14. Hideki Matsui, also a free agent, was second on the A’s with 72 RBI.

The A’s have a talented outfield prospect, Michael Choice, close to being ready to make an impact on the Major League ball club, but if they A’s have any interest in contending in 2012, they will “probably” need Willingham anchoring their lineup.