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Report: Mets like Willingham for left field

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The Mets are expected to bid on free agent big fish like Matt Holliday and Jason Bay to play left field, but according to Bill Ladson of, they have joined the Giants, Mariners and Bravesamong teams interested in Nationals outfielder Josh Willingham.

Willingham, 30, batted .260/.367/.496 with 24 home runs, 61 RBI and a career-high .863 OPS in 2009.While he possesses the thump the Mets covet, he ranks well below average on defense, according to UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating).The Nats resisted parting with him before the trade deadline, but under team control for two more seasons, he represents one of the team’s best potential trade chips.

The Nationals would almost certainly want pitching in return, meaning that major-league ready pitchers like Jon Niese and Bobby Parnell would have to be discussed. Perhaps the best part of it all for general manager Omar Minaya, Willingham is a former catcher. Zing.

In other Mets news, the team is reportedly interested in Rod Barajas, while Jon Heyman of thinks Bengie Molina may want a three-year contract.

Update: Jon Heyman of now believes the Mets may be waiting out Molina, as they have more money to work with than the Rangers and Royals.