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Monday, August 11, 2014

Royals Acquire Josh Willingham

Hopefully not sharing too much time with Ibanez…

The Royals have acquired Josh Willingham from the Twins, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (on Twitter). The Twins will receive right-hander Jason Adam, per Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star (Twitter link).

Willingham was claimed by Kansas City off revocable waivers, tweets Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press… 

The right-handed hitter, 35, is set to reach free agency following the season and will therefore be a pure rental for the Royals. He has posted a .210/.345/.402 slash with 12 home runs through 278 plate appearances on the season… Willingham brings some much-needed pop to a Royals lineup that has struggled to score runs at times. He is expected to see many of his plate appearances out of the designated hitter spot, per a tweet from Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star, sharing time with the lefty-swinging Raul Ibanez…

The return for Willingham is not insignificant, which is a fair achievement for Minnesota given that the pending free agent was claimed (leaving the Twins without leverage to deal with multiple trade partners). Adam, 23, was a fifth-round pick in 2010. He has scuffled somewhat in the upper minors as a starter (5.13 ERA in 242 1/3 Double-A innings), but has had some success at Triple-A this year in a relief role (2.35 ERA over 15 1/3 frames). Baseball America rated him Kansas City’s 9th-best prospect coming into the year, saying he has a solid heater and average slider but will need to develop a go-to third offering (change or curve) in order to succeed against lefties at the next level. MLB.com also rated him in the ninth slot among KC prospects entering the year, but dropped him to 16th in its mid-season update.

The District Attorney Posted: August 11, 2014 at 07:32 PM | 31 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: jason adam, josh willingham, royals, trades, transactions, twins

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   1. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: August 11, 2014 at 07:48 PM (#4768959)
345/402 is like a superstar in my world.
   2. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 11, 2014 at 08:00 PM (#4768967)
I was oh so certain in spring training that Willingham was toast, and would have to be DFAed before the year was out. Pleased that I was wrong and we were able to get something (even if that something looks to be pretty close to nothing) in return.

On the KC side, I would really hope this means the Raul Ibanez experiment is over. They just don't have room for 3 DHes on the roster.

In the interim, the Twins are going to be really short on position players (having traded three starters--Willingham, Sam Fuld, and Kendrys Morales--in a month). Last night's game saw Logan Schafer, Danny Santana, and Chris Parmelee in the outfield, with Kennys Vargas at first base batting cleanup. This final 6-week stretch could get ugly in a hurry. (On the other hand, with this transaction, there's no one left to trade....well, I could imagine a world where we get rid of Trevor Plouffe in the next two weeks, but it's not easy.)
   3. JRVJ Posted: August 11, 2014 at 09:34 PM (#4769027)
Not a super star or any such, but a nice, small addition for the Royals.
   4. vortex of dissipation Posted: August 11, 2014 at 09:35 PM (#4769028)
Well, the only time the Royals won the World Series, they had two roster spots filled by DH/PH types who didn't play in the field all season...
   5. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: August 11, 2014 at 09:59 PM (#4769045)
On the KC side, I would really hope this means the Raul Ibanez experiment is over.

Wow! Ibanez was so toasty with Angels I never imagined someone would pick him up.

I guess the Sabes have won when teams are trading for guys hitting .210 for the stretch run.
   6. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 11, 2014 at 10:04 PM (#4769051)
I'd missed the news that Hosmer was injured--now this makes perfect sense.
   7. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 11, 2014 at 10:05 PM (#4769052)
He's been slumping for a month, but still a decent overall player that can walk and provide some power. Should replace Ibanez at DH til Hosmer gets back then he can just fill in for the OF and DH when needed. Very good move.

I liked Adam when they took him, and he's a local kid, but his ceiling is pretty low. Probably a 5th starter or bullpen arm at this point, if he's lucky.
   8. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 11, 2014 at 10:14 PM (#4769060)
I liked Adam when they took him, and he's a local kid, but his ceiling is pretty low. Probably a 5th starter or bullpen arm at this point, if he's lucky.
That sounds like a #1 starter by Twin standards!
   9. boteman Posted: August 11, 2014 at 10:16 PM (#4769064)
Didn't Willingham have back troubles on and off over the years?
   10. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 11, 2014 at 10:51 PM (#4769090)
#9--Yep, he's had all sorts of injury problems. I figured he was toast.
   11. Cargo Cultist Posted: August 11, 2014 at 10:52 PM (#4769091)
They are renting a guy who is .210/.345/.402 ???

I sure hope that they know something that I don't.

   12. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 11, 2014 at 10:55 PM (#4769097)
First place!
   13. morineko Posted: August 11, 2014 at 10:56 PM (#4769099)
Not Logan Schafer, Jordan. It's a common error. Jordan is older and has way more visible tattoos than Logan. Logan is playing for the Nashville Sounds right now. Also, Logan was never a tippity-top prospect.
   14. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 11, 2014 at 11:03 PM (#4769105)
They are renting a guy who is .210/.345/.402 ???

I sure hope that they know something that I don't.

Royals DHes on the year: .249/.295/.331
Royals RFs on the year: .277/.333/.363

They don't need much.
   15. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 11, 2014 at 11:17 PM (#4769115)
They are renting a guy who is .210/.345/.402 ???


Across the league, DHs are hitting .249/.320/.429, Royals DHs far worse. What did you think they'd get, Giancarlo Stanton?
   16. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 11, 2014 at 11:36 PM (#4769128)
#13--I could never remember which was which!
   17. Cargo Cultist Posted: August 12, 2014 at 12:08 AM (#4769138)
Across the league, DHs are hitting .249/.320/.429, Royals DHs far worse. What did you think they'd get, Giancarlo Stanton?


I thought they'd be clever enough to get someone hitting above the Mendoza Line.
   18. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 12, 2014 at 12:13 AM (#4769142)
.210 is above the Mendoza Line, and .345 OBA is much more important than a .210 BA.
   19. Cargo Cultist Posted: August 12, 2014 at 12:58 AM (#4769150)
.210 is the Mendoza Line.
   20. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: August 12, 2014 at 01:00 AM (#4769151)
.200 is the Mendoza Line.
   21. PreservedFish Posted: August 12, 2014 at 01:24 AM (#4769155)
.210 is the Mendoza Line.


Weird comment.
   22. Walt Davis Posted: August 12, 2014 at 02:38 AM (#4769163)
Per Wiki:

Mendoza, an effective defensive player from Chihuahua, Mexico, played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Seattle Mariners, and Texas Rangers and usually struggled at the plate. Mendoza was known as a sub-.200 hitter whose average frequently fell into the .180 to .199 range during any particular year — four times in the five years from 1975 to 1979.

The "Mendoza Line" was created as a clubhouse joke among baseball players in 1979, when from early May onwards, Mendoza's average was always within a few points of .200 either way, finishing out the season at .198 for the year (and .201 for his career to that point). "My teammates Tom Paciorek and Bruce Bochte used it to make fun of me," Mendoza said in 2010. "Then they were giving George Brett a hard time because he had a slow start that year, so they told him, 'Hey, man, you're going to sink down below the Mendoza Line if you're not careful.' And then Brett mentioned it to Chris Berman from ESPN, and eventually it spread and became a part of the game." Berman deflects credit back to Brett in popularizing the term. "Mario Mendoza — it's all George Brett," Berman said. "We used it all the time in those 1980s SportsCenters. It was just a humorous way to describe how someone was hitting."[2]

Mendoza had two more full years in the majors, with a handful of plate appearances in 1982, ending with a career average over nine seasons (1974–1982) of .215.[3] By that point, however, the phrase was already embedded in baseball culture.


I wouldn't pay a lot of attention though ... Cargo Cultist seems to have been transported in from Aug 2004.
   23. pikepredator Posted: August 12, 2014 at 09:05 AM (#4769191)
This Dayton Moore quote from mlb.com is interesting:

"Josh is a proven bat, one of the best on-base guys with 250 plate appearances in the game right now."

he gets a lot of justified flack for poor choices. it might be encouraging for KC fans to hear him quoted about a high-OBP low-BA guy as a proven bat. Definitely a place KC needed to improve - they're solidly in last place in MLB in walks.

   24. Nasty Nate Posted: August 12, 2014 at 09:44 AM (#4769209)
But what are his stats away from Coors field?
   25. A Fatty Cow That Need Two Seats Posted: August 12, 2014 at 09:54 AM (#4769216)
'cargo' cultist or 'batting average' cultist?
   26. SoCalDemon Posted: August 12, 2014 at 10:38 AM (#4769286)
They are renting a guy who is .210/.345/.402


Willingham has a OBP heavy 110 OPS+ (111 wRC+) with a Zips projection of 117 wRC+ for the rest of the season. This seems like a pretty solid bat in isolation, and for the Royals its a massive upgrade over what they have been trotting out there; Royals DHs are batting .248/.296/.329 for an 82 OPS+ (72 sOPS+ relative to DHs).

I think sometimes people (and I include myself here) still look at stats and think a .750 OPS is league-average like it was a few years ago. A .750 OPS is now solidly above average anywhere except Denver.
   27. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 12, 2014 at 10:55 AM (#4769302)
But what are his stats away from Coors field?


Eyeballing it, slightly better than his full sample. The 3-game series there probably isn't enough to shift any analysis though.
   28. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 12, 2014 at 01:39 PM (#4769480)
I will add that, like (it seems) almost everyone on this roster, I never heard a bad word about Mr. Willingham. I'm sure the last place he wanted to spend the last three years was toiling on these last-place Twins teams, stuck in Minneapolis and plagued by injuries, but he never complained (publicly), and there was even talk earlier this year of him hoping they'd extend his contract.

Never saw him loaf it in the field or on the bases (even in blowouts, even with the injuries). Never showed a ton of emotion on the field, so I guess I'd put him in that "dedicated professional" model of ballplayer (which endeared him to our fans).

Wish him the best, and hope to see him in the playoffs!
   29. Zach Posted: August 12, 2014 at 01:42 PM (#4769489)
Not an Earth shattering move, but very welcome nonetheless. The Royals need some right handed power, they need on base guys, and they don't have a lot of money.

Adams for Willingham sounds like a fair deal. The Twins probably win in a straight WAR per dollar basis, while the Royals fill a position of need.
   30. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 12, 2014 at 02:11 PM (#4769534)
Davo - any chance he has a lingering wrist injury? His July numbers are troubling.
   31. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: August 12, 2014 at 03:17 PM (#4769603)
Davo - any chance he has a lingering wrist injury? His July numbers are troubling.

Wouldn't be surprised--he's looked pretty gimpy ever since that injury last July.

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