According to Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Josh Willingham has been claimed off waivers by at least one other team; however the team that was awarded the claim isn’t known at this point or isn’t being revealed to the public. The Minnesota Twins now have until noon on Friday to put together a trade for the slugger or pull him back off of waivers and essentially kill the deal.
It has been a whirlwind of events for Willingham, who is attempting to get his season back on track after returning from knee surgery earlier this season, but it will be the next 48 hours that determine the outfielder’s fate. It’s a difficult position for the Twins to be in because they now must determine what Willingham’s value is on the open market and if they are getting a fair return for one of their top power hitters. If the team gives up on their slugger too soon and he goes on to have a strong finish to this season and a return to dominance next season, the Twins will be looked at as giving up on Willingham too soon; however, if the team stands pat and keeps Willingham and he continues his decline from last season, the team may be left holding on to Willingham and having nothing in return for his services when his contract expires. Although the return for Willingham at this point may be slim, the Twins must also decide if getting something now is better than the possibility of receiving nothing at all.
If the Twins opt to let Willingham go, the question then turns to what they are going to do with Justin Morneau. If both Willingham and Morneau are allowed to leave or are traded, the team will be without the power in the middle of their lineup next year. Players like Oswaldo Arcia, Joe Mauer, Trevor Plouffe and possibly Miguel Sano will be left to piece together the middle of the Twins order; if you ask me, that is a scary proposition to look forward to and I do not mean that in a good way.
The ball now rests in the Twins’ court; what will they choose to do? Stay tuned; we will have our answer by noon on Friday.