Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Willingham as trade bait
By Jason Catania
The Minnesota Twins have surprisingly hung around .500, but they have an interesting chip if and when they decide to sell.
While there was plenty of speculation over the winter that the Twins could move veteran outfielder Josh Willingham, the club decided to hang onto him. The merits of that decision could be debated, as Willingham was fresh off a career year (35 homers and 110 RBI) and is signed to a more than reasonable contract ($7 million this year and in 2014).
The 34-year-old has seen his production slip in 2013, as he's currently hitting just .211 with 10 homers and 31 RBI, and considering he's eaten into a quarter of his remaining contract, the outfielder's value is unquestionably lower than it was, say, six months ago.
Of course, another factor here is that Willingham has been dealing with a sore left knee for several weeks, as La Velle Neal of the Star Tribune writes. Willingham had a cortisone shot Saturday then sat out Sunday's game to help him rest through Monday's off day.
But that doesn't mean that a team in need of help at outfield and/or designated hitter -- not to mention a still-powerful bat at a time when offense is at a premium -- wouldn't be willing to part with a nice return for a chance to add Willingham.
At 30-36, the Twins aren't likely to jump back into the race in the AL Central -- they're 7.5 back of the Tigers -- and Willingham would likely become one of the more sought-after targets if he were to hit the trade market in July.