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The Hesitation To Trade Willingham

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#1 John Bonnes

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 10:35 AM

I'm not totally opposed to trading away Josh Willingham, but I do think people are underestimating just how rarely the Twins have been able to find a right-handed slugger like him. If I was going to do a story on this (I still might) each of these points might make a nice paragraph, but I'll throw them out there an let you react to them.

1. When was the last time the Twins had a right-handed slugger like Willingham? I would posit that it was 1988, when they traded away Bruno for Tommy Herr. Since then, Hunter and Cuddy have been close, and both had a middle of the lineup presence and both left for much better money.
2. When the Twins have Mauer and Morneau, both left-handed hitting, I can't blame them for trying like hell to have that guy on the roster. (If Parmelee replaces Morneau, that doesn't change things.)
3. That was the whole reason for trading for Delmon Young.
4. It's even more important than it has been for the last 25 years because they now play in Target field, and right-handed pull hitters are seemingly the one hitter that can thrive there.

I understand that people want to treat Willingham as a stock and "Sell High" but it's not a great analogy. It's not like he can just be moved to a similar stock - there just aren't a lot of guys with that kind of pull power ont he market.

About the only way I can justify moving him is that the Twins need to rebuild for the next TWO years, and if that's the road we think we need to travel, than there are whole lot of other moves that need to be looked at too, like targeting a whole bunch of AA-AAA pitching prospects.

#2 mike wants wins

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 10:38 AM

If you refuse to trade big time prospects, and your largest free agent signing is 7 million per year, and you have no pitchers in the minors coming up 2-4 years from now, how do you get better if you do not trade veterans?

#3 Shane Wahl

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 10:47 AM

I agree with you this time, John! At the very least I would wait until trade deadline. This is just such a rare occurrence for the Twins (and I don't trust Plouffe to repeat).

#4 kab21

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 06:44 PM

Willingham will be 34 opening day, is injury prone and is only signed for two more years. given how unlikely it is that the Twins can compete in 2013 I think you trade Willy IF there is a solid deal out there. I would take a 2nd Alex Meyer if teams match up. someone like Delgado, cingrani or Corcino would be a good start. Minor or Hellickson would also work since it would give the Twins a solid starter for 5 years vs a very good hitter for 2.

#5 Riverbrian

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 06:59 PM

It all depends on what you get. I'd love to see Willingham in a Twins Uniform for the duration of his contract. However, If Willingham is on pace for 30 plus homers again this year at the trade deadline. Wouldn't that increase his value? If the Twins are in it... We will want that bat in our lineup... If we are not in it... We would love to see the increase in value for a trade in the future.

We have people who worry that Willingham is going to regress... I understand that worry and it sure would suck but what if he doesn't regress.

I'd trade him now if we got some nice pitching in return but if it isn't enough... Let's let him swing the bat here and see what happens maybe it gets better.

#6 kab21

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 07:05 PM

I don't think Willingham will regress. there's a decent chance that he gets injured again and has very little value at the deadline. And he's the only current Twin that is going to land another legit prospect. Trading the other spare parts on the team will net a pile of Pedro Hernandez's. that's not what the club needs long term.

#7 Brandon

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 07:11 PM

Willingham stays no doubt about it. this team doesn't have enough power as it is.

#8 AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 07:11 PM

I think with todays trade of Span for a High A prospect the Twins are in BUILD FOR THE FUTURE MODE and so i would say with Willingham's stock as high as its going to be (which isnt higher than Span's) That their is probably a greater chance now the Twins will trade him. Same goes with Morneau.

#9 Brandon

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 07:13 PM

also lets wait and see what other moves are made for our rotation this year. I was expecting a MLB ready pitcher in return for Span as he is a poor mans Bourn and will make approximately half what bourn makes the next 3 years.

#10 puckett1992

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 07:18 PM

I definitely agree. Unless the Twins are definitely in rebuilding mode or get an incredible pitching return for Willingham, then you don't deal him in this offseason. At the trade deadline if the team's out of contention or next offseason may be another story.

Willingham has been the right-handed slugger the Twins have been searching for for years. I agree with the sell-high idea, but that applies to someone like Delmon Young who, I guess, decided to dedicate himself to the game for some time in 2010 and put up good numbers and contribute. Sell high on players that you don't think have the ability or commitment to sustain the success. Liriano after 2010 is another example. Willingham was very solid in 2012 and 2011, and is somewhat of a late bloomer. As long as injuries don't hamper him in 2013, then I don't see why he can't replicate either of his last two seasons.

If a team offers good quality pitching for Willingham, then you'd have to consider the deal. Based on what Phil Mackey from 1500 reported a few weeks ago, another executive said that the Twins would be lucky to get a #3 starter for Willingham at this point. If that's truly the case, then why deal him when you need his offense in the lineup?

#11 kab21

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 07:23 PM

The Twins are going to be bad in 2013 realistically so what he does in 2013 doesn't matter for this particular team. By far their #1 need short term and long term is pitching and if the Twins can land another borderline top 50 prospect then I am all for trading Willy.

i would feel a lot more optimistic about the future with the the following set of prospects
Meyer
another good pitching prospect like Cingrani/Corcino/Delgado
Gibson
berrios
#4 pick which is currently looking like a college pitcher

#12 mudcat14

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 07:45 PM

If Willingham or a package that he headlines could bring us a Teheran, Delgado, Hellickson or Moore, or someone along those lines, I'd make that move in a New York minute. Hopefully Ryan would too. Let's face it, the guy will be 34 on opening day and is coming off by far the most productive two-year stretch of his 9-year career. He's has only downside in front of him. His reasonable contract could inspire someone on the verge of contention to overpay, but even a repeat of last seasons numbers isn't gonna make the Twins a contender. A starting pitcher who was at least adequate, even if we end up with Arcia, Hicks or Benson in LF (or a bargain basement veteran) would make a more positive impact on our record than running Willingham out there again next season.

#13 kab21

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 07:49 PM

0% chance on Moore

#14 raindog

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 07:51 PM

I'm just stating the obvious here, but it all depends on what we can get it return. The Twins shouldn't feel like they have to dump the guy. He's very valuable to the Twins for reasons John stated. However, we probably aren't going to compete next year. If we can get a B-level pitching prospect, than you take it. Building for the future is the goal.

#15 TheLeviathan

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 07:55 PM

The Twins should be shopping him hard and if they can add a Myers type prospect or better - do it. If you are worried about who plays LF - go out and sign a Scott Hairston, Ryan Ludwick, or Cody Ross to try and capture some magic again. I'd much rather have another bullet in our AA chamber than an aging outfielder. Hopefully Ryan feels the same.

#16 beckmt

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 08:13 PM

Twins should be stockpiling pitching. Any trade that brings in B and above pitchers at reasonable prices needs to be considered.

#17 jorgenswest

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 08:25 PM

Trade him and add some cash to get the highest upside prospect offered.

There is a very high likelihood of a significant decline or significant injury before the commitment ends.

#18 AllhopeisgoneMNTWINS

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 08:29 PM

Twins should be stockpiling pitching. Any trade that brings in B and above pitchers at reasonable prices needs to be considered.


Exactly. We definitely need to restock our farm system with pitching, Which is why I love todays trade.

#19 birdwatcher

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 08:31 PM

mww,

you just said the Twins have no pitchers coming up in the minors 2-4 years from now. This is simply an entirely bogus statement. Why do you keep saying this?

Advice: temper it to say the system is thin in the upper minors. This would be arguably an accurate statement.

#20 mike wants wins

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Posted 29 November 2012 - 08:58 PM

My assumption is Gibson is up this year, who do you think will be effective in 2 or 3 years? 4 was a mistake, I typed that on my phone and meant to hit three....but who else besides Gibson do you think is coming up in less than 3 years (this was obviously typed before today's trade)? Who do you feel is in high A or AA or AAA that looks like anything better than a 5th starter? Wimmers? He just had surgery. Hermsen? He cannot strike out AA hitters. No one in AAA, I assume. So, who is in the minors coming up in less than 3 years (before today's trade)?
Lighten up Francis....

#21 markos

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 07:37 AM

If we can get a B-level pitching prospect, than you take it. Building for the future is the goal.


I agree. My criteria for the return in a Willingham trade is at least 1 pitching prospect with the following characteristics:
a) Unarguably a top-10 prospect in the Twins system.
B) ETA to majors of at least 2015.
These other characteristics would be nice, but not necessary:
c) Consensus top-100 prospect in MLB (Meyer fits this)
d) High-end stuff
Basically, I would like another pitcher like Meyer for Willingham. I guess I could be talked into a middle-infielder, but I'd prefer another pitcher.

#22 Brad Swanson

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 08:15 AM

I'm not totally opposed to trading away Josh Willingham, but I do think people are underestimating just how rarely the Twins have been able to find a right-handed slugger like him. If I was going to do a story on this (I still might) each of these points might make a nice paragraph, but I'll throw them out there an let you react to them.

1. When was the last time the Twins had a right-handed slugger like Willingham? I would posit that it was 1988, when they traded away Bruno for Tommy Herr. Since then, Hunter and Cuddy have been close, and both had a middle of the lineup presence and both left for much better money.
2. When the Twins have Mauer and Morneau, both left-handed hitting, I can't blame them for trying like hell to have that guy on the roster. (If Parmelee replaces Morneau, that doesn't change things.)
3. That was the whole reason for trading for Delmon Young.
4. It's even more important than it has been for the last 25 years because they now play in Target field, and right-handed pull hitters are seemingly the one hitter that can thrive there.

I understand that people want to treat Willingham as a stock and "Sell High" but it's not a great analogy. It's not like he can just be moved to a similar stock - there just aren't a lot of guys with that kind of pull power ont he market.

About the only way I can justify moving him is that the Twins need to rebuild for the next TWO years, and if that's the road we think we need to travel, than there are whole lot of other moves that need to be looked at too, like targeting a whole bunch of AA-AAA pitching prospects.


I agree with all 4 of your points to some extent. I do think that hitters like Joe Mauer and Denard Span, who have high OBPs and good doubles power can thrive in at Target Field. I also don't believe in compounding mistakes. Trading for Delmon was a mistake, but keeping Willingham just to justify the mindset that created that move would be compounding the mistake and making it worse. Plus, all four of your points were true last year, Willingham had a monster year, and the Twins still lost 96 games. If we could preserve Willingham in a jar for a couple years so that he doesn't age and his contract doesn't run out, he might be worth keeping. Looking at the roster built around him, it doesn't seem likely that the Twins improve enough to make it worthwhile.

The deal he signed was awesome, and a huge bargain. He was a stud last year. None of that changes the team outlook for 2013 and possibly 2014. The only way to turn Willingham's deal into a regrettable one would be to waste the asset with a rotten team around him and then get nothing in return for his value. Signing Willingham was not a mistake (obviously) but letting him play out his contract without exploring what he could bring in return would be a huge mistake. I agree that he is hard to replace, but that is also not a reason to pass on a good deal.

I think the last statement you made is the reality. Trading Span makes this team worse for the next couple years and trading all the valuable pieces for young assets seems to be the way the team needs to go. It will be painful for a couple years, but could pay off huge by 2015. Patience is virtue. By 2015, there could be right handed power bats available to sign or trade for as well.

This can all change with some key additions in the off-season, so I reserve the right to change my mind. If the team feels they can contend next year, then they are justified in keeping him. Personally, I need more data and I would like to see how things play out. This is how I feel right now, based on what has already happened.

#23 ericchri

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 01:29 PM

It's basically a tossup. If they trade Willingham for prospects, they're admitting that they're not trying next year and the ticket sales plummet. If they trade him for ML-ready SP, it's probably not as good as we need it to be, and when the team doesn't improve fans revolt. If they keep him, they risk regression or injury, and little return on a perceived asset. This is why being an armchair GM is so much fun.

Personally I'm betting on the Twins not bailing on next season until after the season has started, which means they don't deal Willingham til the deadline. I think I'd prefer trading Willingham for a high upside prospect if possible, but I'm not going to be surprised or upset when it doesn't happen.

#24 Jim H

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 04:32 PM

I don't think Willingham gets traded this offseason. The thing that would of made such a trade possible, is that if Joe Benson would have continued progressing. He had moved through the system with Parmelee, putting up better numbers most of way, until 2012 crapped out on him. He is just about about the only power, right handed bat in the upper minors. He could be the logical successor to Willingham. It would be very good for the Twins if Benson, Hicks and Arcia can all settle in at AAA this coming year and put together dominating seasons, all of a sudden the Twins have all sorts of trade possibilities. Assuming, of course, that Willingham, Morneau and Parmelee are all healthy and productive.

I don't imagine all of those things will happen. Still, the Twins really need some guys to show they are ready before they move Willingham or anybody else.

#25 ashburyjohn

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 04:56 PM

Trade him and add some cash to get the highest upside prospect offered.

There is a very high likelihood of a significant decline or significant injury before the commitment ends.


Willingham ended the 2012 season on the DL, didn't he? I wonder if Terry Ryan is receiving lowball offers for him right now, and if he presses for a grade-A pitching prospect he's told "let's talk again near the end of Spring Training and we'll see how well he's recovered."



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