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braves-talking-to-angels-about-willits | December | 2007 Articles

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Braves Talking to Angels About Willits

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Dave O'Brien of the AJC said that the Braves have talked to the Los Angeles Angels about outfielder Reggie Willits.
They have talked to Anaheim about Willits. Don’t know if they’re still talking to them seriously, but it wouldn’t surprise me since Wren said they’ve talked to several teams in the last couple of days and that a couple of CFs who weren’t previously thought to be available have become available.
It makes sense that Willits would be available. The Angels signed Torii Hunter to play center and are pretty much stuck with GMJ's contract. That leaves Hunter, then a rotation of Matthews, Vlad, and Anderson for the two corner spots and DH. With all that, they'd have a heck of a time trying to find enough at bats for Willits next year. Willits is another speedy slap hitter, right along the lines of Gregor Blanco and Josh Anderson. However, unlike Blanco, he is a pretty good base-stealer and unlike Anderson he has very good plate discipline. He still has no power though, so he isn't too different. Willits hit .293/.391/.344 this past season with 27 steals so he could easily be penciled in as the leadoff man, moving Kelly Johnson down in the order to a more fitting spot. He's still under team control so after one year, the Braves could easily flip him off to make room for Jordan Schafer or keep him on as a utility outfielder. I still think that someone like Willits will have more serious suitors. The Braves aren't expecting much from this year's center fielder in terms of production or longevity since Schafer is waiting, but a team like the Marlins or Twins who are looking for long-term options in center would probably be willing to offer more. I'm not all too confident that Wren will bring in a legitimate starting center fielder with the fairly small need.
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