The Oakland A's offered arbitration to free agent outfielders Josh Willingham and David DeJesus, the club announced today. Willingham and DeJesus have until Dec. 7 to accept or decline the offer. Should they decline the offer and sign with another team, the A’s would receive compensation in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.
Willingham led the A's and established new career-highs with 29 home runs and 98 RBI last year. The RBI were the most by an Athletic since Frank Thomas had 114 in 2006 and the home runs were the second best total over the last five years (Jack Cust, 33 in 2008). He also led the team with a career-high 150 strikeouts, while tying for the team lead in runs scored (69) and walks (56). The 32-year-old right-handed hitter batted .246 in 136 games in his first season with Oakland. Willingham was acquired from the Washington Nationals for Henry Rodriguez and Corey Brown Dec. 16, 2010. He is a .262 career hitter with 132 home runs and 434 RBI in 799 games over eight seasons with Florida (2004-08), Washington (2009-10) and Oakland (2011).
DeJesus batted .240 with 10 home runs and 46 RBI in 131 games with the A’s last year. He reached double figures in home runs for the third time in his career, but his batting average was a career low as he entered the season with a .289 career mark. DeJesus improved over the final two months of the season, batting a combined .276 with five home runs and 16 RBI in 37 games in August and September after hitting .225 with five home runs and 30 RBI in 94 games over the first four months of the season. The 31-year-old left-handed hitter was acquired from Kansas City for Vin Mazzaro and Justin Marks Nov. 10, 2010. He is a .284 career hitter with 71 home runs and 436 RBI in 1007 career games over nine seasons with Kansas City (2003-10) and Oakland (2011).