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  • Could Oswaldo Arcia's Ascension Mean Josh Willingham's Exit?

    Despite the Minnesota Twins' up and down start this year, it is most likely that the team will be sellers at the trade deadline. There will be plenty of talk about Justin Morneau being dealt in the coming months since his contract is up at the end of the year. Another name which will draw much speculation is Josh Willingham.

    Willingham is coming off his best season and there might be more than one team looking to add a powerful corner bat for the stretch run. In a story published this weekend, the Boston Globe talked about the possibility of a Willingham trade.

    According to one National League GM, "He's a powerful right-handed bat that any contender could stick right in the middle of their lineup and get outstanding production." He went on to say, "You'd have to give something up, but he'd be worth the expenditure. He can really hit."

    ESPN's Rumor Central mentioned the Pirates as a possible trade fit. They need an upgrade in their outfield and they have some players in the minor leagues that could be attractive to the Twins. It also helps that Willingham has a very club friendly contract. He is in the second year of a three-year, $21 million deal which any team could afford.

    Another wrinkle to the Willingham trade rumors is the ascension of stud prospect Oswaldo Arcia. It has been a whirlwind couple of days for Arcia. He made his MLB debut on Monday, he played for Rochester on Tuesday, and he got called back up to the big leagues after that game. Darin Mastroianni's injury will mean a longer look at Arcia this time around.

    Arcia won't turn 22 until next month, becoming the youngest position player to debut with the Twins since 20-year-old Joe Mauer. He was killing the ball at Triple-A and he certainly deserved this call-up. In ten games for Rochester, he was hitting .394/.474/.727 with three home runs, two doubles and eight runs scored.

    If Arcia had kept putting up those types of numbers it would have been hard to keep him at Triple-A. The problem for the Twins is finding him a place in the line-up. Arcia is used as a corner outfielder or designated hitter. The Twins have plenty of these types of players with Willingham, Chris Parmelee, and Ryan Doumit.
    For Arcia to stick with the Twins, they likely will need to make a trade. Morneau could be dealt creating a spot (first base) for Parmelee to move to. Willingham could also be traded to open an opening in the outfield. Both of these men could be traded before July and then there would be plenty of playing time for Mr. Arcia.

    His career is moving rapidly. He started the 2012 season at the High-A level so he played only 69 games at Double-A before getting the bump to Rochester this spring. He had a total of nine Triple-A games under his belt before he made his MLB debut.

    There should be tempered expectations for Arcia in the Majors, as we have seen how much Aaron Hicks has struggled. The Twins need Arcia to be a cornerstone of the franchise as the team tries to get back to winning baseball. This will be the first taste of what is to come.

    With (well-paid) players blocking Arcia's path, he most likely will get more playing time at Triple-A. If the Twins are looking to be sellers at the trade deadline a deal including Willingham could pave the way for Arcia settling in to a long-term spot on the roster.

    Willingham has done some great things in his Twins tenure but Arcia is the wave of the future.
    This article was originally published in blog: Arcia's ascension could mean Willingham's exit started by Cody Christie
    Comments 47 Comments
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      If the Twins decide Arcia is ready, they can reduce Doumit's playing time at DH when everyone is healthy.

      Any trade of Willingham or Morneau should based on the quality of return the Twins can get from a team in need of a bat.

      The trade should not be based on the Twins need to find him a spot for a 21 year old. When Arcia is ready to contribute, Doumit will be a valuable piece on the bench. A trade is not necessary.
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      W/O Willingham this team becomes really left handed.
      I can't see the trading him unless they are blown away.
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      We can only hope. Willingham's exit means that he produces over the first half and makes himself even more marketable than ever. Arcia's ascension means that he produces at a level where the Front Office believes he's the 'real deal' for the long term. We end up with two for one--a productive rookie who's raking, and a top notch prospect in trade for the thirty-four-year-old Hammer. That's the best case scenario.
    1. Brandon's Avatar
      Brandon -
      The third wheel in the trade options is if Parmalee doesn't hit enough to stay up either. While he should, it should be noted that he may not hit enough also Willingham can get pushed to DH making Doumit a backup catcher/ back up OF/ pinch hitter/ back up 1B and Arcia starting in LF. There is no reason to rush to trade anyone as we don't have to trade anyone we can just have a stronger offense. There's also no reason to trade Morneau as we can make him a qualifying offer and get him on another 1 year deal or get another first round draft pick. I mean if we can get a top rated pitcher in a deal sure we make the trade but I don't think we will get the return needed to make a deal beneficial.
    1. mako83's Avatar
      mako83 -
      He is the cheapest 30-100 guy we could have and everybody says we should trade him. Same with Morneau qualifying offer for what he is making now get a first rounder if he doesn't take it. I still believe it also in the interest of ticket sales to.
    1. josecordoba's Avatar
      josecordoba -
      Few Thoughts on Hammer

      1. The issue though really shouldn't be his value in 2013. Extreme Best Case Scenario (And I Mean Extreme)- The Twins win 80 games. Trading Hammer maybe makes a difference of 5 games (A highly extreme scenario). Nothing really lost. I would think playing for 2014 even would be a bit of stretch (When Willingham's contact would expire). So the goal should be finding value for the next good Twins Team which might be 2015. If TR finds a Pitcher or Middle Infielder that looks attractive for these teams (They need to consider it)

      2. The Liriano trade was criticized in some corners throughout the Twins Blogosphere. Yet the reality is Escobar looks to be the Twins Utility Guy for the Next Half-Decade where as Roberto Hernadez seems to be a 4 AAAA type pitcher. This is more value then going forward then Liriano would have offered.
    1. Jeff P's Avatar
      Jeff P -
      There has been a lot of discussion about Hicks and team control, what about Arcia? In other words, if he does stay up without going back down to the minors, would he have spent enough time at Rochester this year so that the Twins get an extra year of team control?
    1. DK's Avatar
      DK -
      I am big Willingham fan and would like to see the Twins keep him. They need his right handed bat in the lineup. If the Twins wanted to put their best lineup on the field, they should go with this lineup: 2b Escobar, C Mauer, Lf Willingham, 1b Morneau, DH Parmalee/Doumit, Rf Arcia, 3b Plouffe, Cf Hicks, SS Florimon. If Florimon faulters then Escobar to SS and Dozier back in the lineup. The pitching staff is another question.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      If you get an offer of a guy that is a good prospect, you take it. They are not competing this year, and probably not next.
    1. Steve Penz's Avatar
      Steve Penz -
      [QUOTE=josecordoba;101393]Few Thoughts on Hammer

      1. The issue though really shouldn't be his value in 2013. Extreme Best Case Scenario (And I Mean Extreme)- The Twins win 80 games. Trading Hammer maybe makes a difference of 5 games (A highly extreme scenario). Nothing really lost. I would think playing for 2014 even would be a bit of stretch (When Willingham's contact would expire). So the goal should be finding value for the next good Twins Team which might be 2015. If TR finds a Pitcher or Middle Infielder that looks attractive for these teams (They need to consider it)

      I like this and that there is a lot of focus on the value to be gained from Willingham and Mourneau. Arcia, Parmarlee and/or whoever would fill open spots provide no assurances but these are gambles the Twins need to make. Recently there is talk of how Span is performing vs the value of May/Worley. The twins gained a possibly serviceable player and possible front runner for a guy who might not be around when the team will next be relevant. If they are able to make these types of moves for Willingham and Mourneau I think it will be awesome and I will be comfortable with the risk that is does not work out vs resigning the older guys.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      While the upside for the future is good, what do they do about the present? Just give up? I think they are in a tough spot, a spot they created.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeff P View Post
      There has been a lot of discussion about Hicks and team control, what about Arcia? In other words, if he does stay up without going back down to the minors, would he have spent enough time at Rochester this year so that the Twins get an extra year of team control?
      He needs another week or so of AAA time to delay FA another year.

      Any Willingham trade should be based on the return that the Twins get back. I don't think you will get a productive rookie and a good prospect unless you take a low upside solid rookie (worley for example) and a flawed prospect (May). that's not bad but I would be looking for more of a Meyer type return (a risky potential front line starter). They at least need to get something decent since they can still trade him during the offseason or next trade deadline.
    1. cc80man's Avatar
      cc80man -
      If Pirates are indeed in the talk that is great, with Willinghams team friendly contract, you have to ask for one of their 3 good pitching prospects; Cole, Taillon or Holmes. Resign Morneau 3 year 24 Million and now all of a sudden your rotation potential next year is Myers, May, Gibson, Taillon and Diamond or Worley. You could even throw in Worley/Diamond/Hendricks to make sure you get Taillon AA or Cole AAA.
    1. Steve Penz's Avatar
      Steve Penz -
      [QUOTE=SRP;101420]
      Quote Originally Posted by josecordoba View Post
      Few Thoughts on Hammer

      1. The issue though really shouldn't be his value in 2013. Extreme Best Case Scenario (And I Mean Extreme)- The Twins win 80 games. Trading Hammer maybe makes a difference of 5 games (A highly extreme scenario). Nothing really lost. I would think playing for 2014 even would be a bit of stretch (When Willingham's contact would expire). So the goal should be finding value for the next good Twins Team which might be 2015. If TR finds a Pitcher or Middle Infielder that looks attractive for these teams (They need to consider it)

      I like this and that there is a lot of focus on the value to be gained from Willingham and Mourneau. Arcia, Parmarlee and/or whoever would fill open spots provide no assurances but these are gambles the Twins need to make. Recently there is talk of how Span is performing vs the value of May/Worley. The twins gained a possibly serviceable player and possible front runner for a guy who might not be around when the team will next be relevant. If they are able to make these types of moves for Willingham and Mourneau I think it will be awesome and I will be comfortable with the risk that is does not work out vs resigning the older guys.
      I have just realized that I have mixed up the details of the Span trade and the Revere trade. Sorry about that. I will now go to penalty box and feel shame.
    1. SweetOne69's Avatar
      SweetOne69 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeff P View Post
      There has been a lot of discussion about Hicks and team control, what about Arcia? In other words, if he does stay up without going back down to the minors, would he have spent enough time at Rochester this year so that the Twins get an extra year of team control?
      I believe that he is about a week short. Now he would have to be sent down for 3 weeks to get that week back. A player has to be sent down for 21 days for that time to NOT count against his clock.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Quote Originally Posted by cc80man View Post
      If Pirates are indeed in the talk that is great, with Willinghams team friendly contract, you have to ask for one of their 3 good pitching prospects; Cole, Taillon or Holmes. Resign Morneau 3 year 24 Million and now all of a sudden your rotation potential next year is Myers, May, Gibson, Taillon and Diamond or Worley. You could even throw in Worley/Diamond/Hendricks to make sure you get Taillon AA or Cole AAA.
      One of these are not like the other...
      Cole
      Taillon
      Holmes
      Cole and likely Taillon are probably not even close to attainable for Willingham. Holmes would only be acceptable as a 2nd (or 3rd) piece. The guy I would target on the Pirates is Alen hanson. I doubt the Pirates would do that but he's the only guy that really interests me (attainable guys). Heredia perhaps but there would have to be a few other really good prospects to go with him. Heredia sounds like the former prospect Deolis Guerra at this point.
    1. SweetOne69's Avatar
      SweetOne69 -
      Assuming Parmelee can hold his own, I believe that Morneau will be traded first. Willingham is one of the few right handed power bats that the Twins have, so I would hold on to him as long as possible.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I agree, Cole and Tallion are probably not attainable, but what if you did this?

      Willingham, Worley, Wimmers (or something like this). yes, that makes 2013 even WORSE, but 2014 looks a lot better....
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      Parmelee sucks pretty soon he will have no value at all, should have traded him last winter.
    1. cc80man's Avatar
      cc80man -
      If you want a 30HR hitter, 100 RBI hitter who has a cheap contract you have to give up something. The Pirates have a semi deep #2, #3 minor league pitching. We got Phillies #1 prospect for Revere, we got Nationals #1 for Span, if you don't think you can get Pirates #1 or #2 for a 30 HR hitter with team friendly contract you are crazy, especially if other teams get involved.
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