Although it may qualify as minor news, it is certainly carries with it long-term implications for the Minnesota Twins. After outfielder Josh Willingham was placed on revocable waivers earlier this week and was subsequently claimed, the team had until noon on Friday to trade Willingham to the team who was awarded the claim. That team that was awarded the claim was the Baltimore Orioles who have been very active in their pursuit to improve their designated hitter position before the stretch run for the playoffs. Fortunately, Willingham is remaining in Minnesota for the remainder of the year.
I stated in a previous article that Willingham may no longer be able to play outfield for the Twins, but he still could serve as a valuable designated hitter in their lineup next season and I still am a believer in that notion. I was a supporter of the idea bringing back Willingham for next season with the hopes that he rebounds next season and returns to his slugging form of last season; the Twins, it appears share the same notion.
Since the waiver deadline passed without a transaction, the Twins will not be able to trade Willingham until after the season ends; but part of me wonders if the Twins really intended to trade Wilingham or if they were simply trying to coerce some team into a deal that would be heavily lopsided in the Twins’ favor. In which case, the Twins would get out of the deal and run like bandits at their new found treasure; however, although the team certainly tried to make this dream scenario happen, nothing ever materialized.
According to Roch Kubatko, a beat writer for MASN Sports in Baltimore, the Twins were “asking way too much,” in return for Willingham. The Twins asked the Orioles for multiple pitching prospects in exchange for Willingham, according to Kubatko. Prized lefty Eduardo Rodriguez was among the players that the Twins were asking for. Rodriguez, 20, currently ranks as the No. 86 prospect in baseball according to MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo. It would have been great if the Twins would have landed Rodriguez in a deal for Willingham, but the likelihood of it occurring was not very good; thus, I have a tough time believing that the Twins intended to trade Willingham for if they were, they would have had a more realistic asking price during trade discussions.
Whatever the case, Willingham remains a Twin and for the team’s sake and Willingham’s sake, hopefully he can return to form and help this team perform better in 2014 or—at a minimum—increase his trade value for next season’s trading deadline.