Arcia needs to be the future DH at this point and Willingham is aging clutter. The guy had trouble staying on the field in his prime, the older he gets the less prudent it is to invest in him.
Our best hope is a moderate bounce back and trade fodder.
I'm also in the camp to entertain offers for him anytime through the season, and if nothing of that sort happens then wish him well at the end of the season. It's no longer a good fit.
*should be obvious this was a, likely bad, attempt at humor, but just in case....
I think there is plenty of room in the budget for him. If he can hit 25+ HRs a season he is valuable. He can slide over to DH and then to a bench roll when younger players can push him there. I wouldn't be too concerned about cost as I do not think he will cost too much next season. And the extentions and rolls he fills on the team can change from season to season. 2015 and 2016 he could DH and 2017 he can be a bench bat reserve. 0r 2016 he can make the move during the season after a super 2 status is surpassed for the young player coming up. as that is a salary we should be more concerned about as there will be lots of younger players making more money at that time. I think the best idea is to be flexible and open minded.
It all depends on the Hammer. If he hits like 2012... He should be considered for extension but... If the team is out of it... That type of performance will increase his trade value and that should be considered if we are out of it.
If he hits like 2013... There is no discussion... Let him go.
with willingham injuries seemed to hamper his effectiveness at the plate in 2013. if he wants to play for us as a dh against lefthanders and ph off the bench for less money who would be better unless the wall he seemed to hit in 2013 was the final wall of his career. he should not be considered for left field. with buxton in center, hicks in right with his powerful arm (or vice versa to protect buxtons long term health), and any of our speedy young guys in left we should have the best defensive outfield in baseball for years (which should be the "twins way" again by the way). arcia should be the dh against righthanders. willingham should never be forced to see the outfield again.
Willingham does need to have reasonable expectations.
According to the article, Hammer bats much better when he's playing in the field as opposed DH-ing, so that's another concern.
The Twins need offense--and only getting CF numbers from a corner OF really hurts. The Twins are already facing the power droughth potential at 1B with Mauer (reference Morneau's pre-injury numbers and use those as the needed standard of performance at 1B). Repeating that for a corner OF dilutes the positive effect of (the hoped for) big numbers from 3B when Sano is promoted. Being "league-average" should not be a goal--the Twins need to be better than league average. Hicks has to show "it" ASAP! Then he could be traded to solve problems elsewhere.
Pretty much what Kwak said. I also believe that it far too early to assign DH duties to Arcia. He moves pretty well and has a good arm. I thought his defense was a couple increments worse than dreadful last year and he needs to really work on his defense, but he is young and the bat projects for him to be pretty good.
Hick, OTOH, needs to be better with the bat to slide over to a corner. As Kwak was pointing out, if you want to diagram a team you need above average contributions from more spots than one or two and outfield corner could certainly by manned by someone with more pop than (I think) Hicks can provide. I like outfield defense as much or more as the next guy, but corner OFs need to hit and penciling in Rosario and Hicks just doesn't provide the pop needed unless everybody else is a star or superstar.
I think Aaron Hicks has a chance to be a very good centerfielder, as good or better than Denard Span, but the next man up is going to be something special unless he gets hurt.
If Willingham is healthy and resorts to career norms, he would hit somewhere in the vicinity of .256/.359/28Dbls/25Hrs. Not bad numbers. And while we have all heard reports that he hits better in the field than as a DH, I would argue two points. 1) He hasn't been a full time DH before, and just like starting in the OF, there is a mental part to the approach I believe you have to accept. 2) He has Molitor around now to help him with said adjustment.
I also believe that Willingham, healthy and productive, would probably be at least a decent trade option at some point this season. But as I have previously stated, if productive and accepting of his new role, and some of the Twins young hitters a year or so away, D Hicks and Vargas as points of reference, I wouldn't be opposed to keeping Willingham for another season for a fair contract to help bridge the gap, providing there is no real trade value offered up for his services by another club.
A few interesting notes about A Hicks and a transition to a corner OF spot. He has the range to cover LF, and the arm for RF, provided he allows for enough offense. Now, this is all speculation, but based on his career milb numbers, skewed somewhat for short season vs full season and actual power improvement in 2012, his numbers carried over to MLB would mark him as a .275/.380 hitter eventually with 30Dbls/8Trpl/10HRs and 26SB per 500 ABs. Now, you can argue that this is milb vs MLB, BUT, the numbers for any kind of career do self adjust per level and age. And if his growth were to remain constant, this is approximately what you would have; an excellent defensive OF with speed, a little power and XB potential who maintains an OB% roughly a 100 points higher than his BA.
No, this is no absolute. But it is interesting to note. Additionally, despite his rough and disappointing 2013 season, his HR rate per AB was actually higher. Perhaps an indication of additional budding power? Since the day he was drafted, Hicks has been compared to T Hunter in everything from defense, body type, athleticism and potential. Might he, like Hunter, lose a little of the SB speed but develop more power? If so, I like him as a corner OF option.
Also, I want to echo statements made that it is ridiculous to pigeon hole Arcia as a DH so early. He won't even turn 23 until after the season starts. He has a decent arm with enough athleticism that he began his career as a CF. He was not only a rookie getting his feet wet at the ML level last year offensively, but defensively as well, bouncing between RF as well as LF. Give him a chance to gain some experience and additional coaching before earmarking him as a full time DH.