5 days ago, Kyle Gibson pitched the Twins passed the Tigers to tighten the gap to only 3 games. Since, the team has endured an ugly, gut-wrenching 5 game losing streak to fall to 6 games under .500, 6.5 games back in the central, and 5 games back in the Wild Card.
What this losing streak showed, especially the 3 game sweep in Boston, was that the Twins are probably done after being relevant for the better part of the first half. With this drop in the standings means in the need to sell off some pieces, something that the Twins have been reluctant to do over the years.
Among the names of guys that should be traded is Josh Willingham. Since returning to the lineup, Josh has played like the Josh Willingham of 2012, driving in runs in key situations and driving the ball out of the ballpark. This resurgence of Willingham has pumped some value into him. Barring a complete collapse at the plate, Willingham will be wanted by someone.
Below are a list of teams that could have interest in the Twins' slugger and why:
Baltimore Orioles: David Lough and Delmon Young have both seen time in Left Field this season. That position has been very unproductive for Baltimore, as Lough is hitting .182 and Young, while the batting average is very good, has only 3 home runs and 10 RBI in 35 games. Willingham would add a clutch bat with power at a position of desperate need for Baltimore.
Oakland Athletics: This is not a terrible likely landing spot, as the A's have stability in LF, but it wouldn't hurt for them to have another bat in the lineup as a DH, a position where everyone plays here and there for Oakland.
Texas Rangers: Texas has a chance to make a run, but I think that they could use a bat. They are set in the outfield with Choo, Martin, and Rios, but they don't have much of anything outside of their positional starters. With Fielder out for they year and Moreland on the shelf, they could use a thumper to play DH, something that they don't have. Guys like Donnie Murphy, Michael Choice, and Brad Snyder are not going to cut it, Willingham will be a nice offensive upgrade for Texas, especially in that ballpark.
Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers don't have a crisis in left field, as Carl Crawford and Scott Van Slyke are both hitting in the .260's, but the addition of Willingham would give them a power upgrade and drive in more runs for a good price for the Dodgers. He would make their lineup much more formidable.
Of course, I don't expect the Twins to get a harvest in return for Willingham, but the way I see it is that if he leaves in free agency, he goes for nothing. He has missed too much time to garner compensation as well.