• 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. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by kab21 View Post
      I see that you are applying the Duensing rule with this trade speculation.

      Duensing rule - including a lot of useful but not great players with very little upside when trades don't even come close to an acceptable offer.

      Origin - BYTO - About 2 years ago Duensing (and even Casilla) found himself in pretty much every speculated trade. It was getting ridiculous.
      Didn't Swarzy get some honorable mentions of his own?
    1. Ultima Ratio's Avatar
      Ultima Ratio -
      There's no need to trade anyone if Arcia is the OF Rover, and the 3 IF just play a shift with the pitcher covering the weak side bunt. Problem solved.
    1. troyhobbs's Avatar
      troyhobbs -
      I think Morneau and Willingham have at least a few good years left in them. Any chance a deal involving Benson and Parmelee could fetch a decent arm? If so maybe they're a free agent away from being a pretty tough squad in 2014 and beyond.
    1. kab21's Avatar
      kab21 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Twins Twerp View Post
      No way we get any of these guys in a trade. You are right, we may be overlooking Hanson, but he is unattainable in my estimation. I think a straight up trade Hanson for Willingham would be great for the Twins. Cole is a top 5 prospect who went ahead of Bundy and hits upper 90's consistently. He is probably one of the best pitching prospects in the past 10-20 years. Tallion is also a front line type starter and has no chance of being traded. Henson is a stud at a premium position and he would be great get. I think Heredia and a B- to C prospect is the more realistic option. Willingham just doesn't have the value that even Span and Revere had. We get so overzealous on this site with trades. I thought the haul for Revere was great and I was even hypothesizing the trade for Meyer - Span at the trade deadline last offseason. The best time to trade Willingham will probably be July, but I think we will be disappointed in the results. MI, pitching, or keep him, that is what I would say as a GM.
      I also don't think that the Pirates would trade Hanson since they don't seem like they are ready for the 'go for it' trade but my dreams start there instead of a borderline top 10 prospect in baseball.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Looking at teams that could potentially trade for Morneau or Willingham the pickings are slim at this point. The best bets seem to be the Blue Jays who could need help in the OF or at DH,the White Sox who could need help at DH or 1B if Konerko or Dunn succumb to age finally or the Yankees who are counting on Lyle Overbay at 1b. Many teams have OF prospects at AAA this year ready to fill potential holes making things difficult for Willingham to matchup potentially.

      I only looked at teams expected to contend this year and only if they had an obvious weakness going into the season. Of course there will be injuries and good players who just fall apart throughout the year so more teams might become potential trade partners later in the season.

      I have more detailed analysis in the next 2 posts if your interested.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Willingham

      Yankees- Vernon Wells (OF) and Ichiro Suzuki (OF) are both old and pretty bad but the Yankees have Brennan Boesch as a backup and have 4 OF prospects at either AA or AAA to start the year including a top 100 prospect in Austin.

      Red Sox- Neither Shane Victorino (OF) nor Johnny Gomes (OF) are big sluggers but they aren't terrible either. Sox have two good OF prospects at AAA including stud Jackie Bradley jr.

      Orioles- Nate McLouth (OF) has been pretty bad the last 3 seasons but they have a decent 4th OF in Reimold and have a good prospect at AAA in Hoes.

      Blue Jays - Colby Rasmus (CF) is a bad hitting CF but he is only 26. It's possible the Jays could move Melky Cabrera back to CF, he has played full seasons there as recently as 2011. Adam Lind (DH) was a real nice prospect and had a couple of good seasons but he is now 29 and over the last 3 years has a .724 OPS. They have no prospects for either OF or DH.

      Angels- Peter Bourjos (OF) had a bad 2012 (.606 OPS) and is a CF but the Angels could move Trout back to CF opening LF up for Willingham. Trumbo is their backup and will hit but can he be an everyday outfielder? They also have a good prospect at AAA and two at AA.

      Detroit- Andy Dirks (OF) is a career backup getting an opportunity to start at 27. Detroit is stocked at OF in the minors though with multiple prospects at both AAA and AA including top 50 Castellanos.

      White Sox- Dayan Viciedo (OF) is only 24 and has played 1 season in MLB. It was a pretty good rookie year OPS'ing 737 but sophmore stumbles are not unheard of. The Sox have 3 prospects at AA. Adam Dunn (DH) is 33 and in 2011 had a .569 OPS. Marginal 3B/1B prospect Gillaspie is already on the roster as a backup this year.

      Reds- Chris Heisey a below average LF with a career OPS of .737. The problem here is the Reds have big time prospect Billy Hamilton at AAA this year.

      Giants- Gregor Blanco (LF) is a 29 year old with a career .681 OPS. Even with a .700 OPS at the trade deadline last year the Giants made no move. Will they this year? They also have 3 real nice prospects at AAA headlined by Brown a fringe top 100 prospect.

      Rays- Shelley Duncan (DH) is a career backup and 33 years old looking to get his first shot at the starting DH role. His career OPS is 676. The Rays have stud OF prospect Will Myers, he came over in the KC trade, ready to contribute. Perhaps they could move their fielders around when he is ready to fill the DH role.

      Rangers- For the most part the Rangers are setup real nice this year at OF and DH but Lance Berkman is 37 years old this year. At some point he is going to decline. Is this the year? Of course even if it is the Rangers have uber prospects Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt only a call away at AAA.
    1. Oxtung's Avatar
      Oxtung -
      Morneau

      Yankees- Lyle Overbay (1b) is 36 and has a .683 OPS over the last 3 seasons. The Bronx Bombers have no prospects for 1B.

      Rays- James Loney (1b) is 28 and had a .629 OPS last season. Shelley Duncan is a 33 year old career backup getting a chance to start at DH this year. The Rays don't have any prospects for 1B or DH but do have stud OF Will Myers at AAA. Maybe they could shift their fielders around to fill a hole? Even if the Rays are interested would they be willing to take on the salary of Morneau or Willingham? Would the Twins ever think of picking up part of the tab?

      Athletics- 29 year old career backup Brandon Moss (1b) is getting a shot for the A's this year. He did have a nice half season in 2012 and his career OPS is .763. Can he play well enough in a full time role? The A's have no internal replacement candidates so if things go poorly they will have to look outside the org for support. However, like the Rays could they afford Morneau?

      White Sox- Paul Konerko is 37. Adam Dunn is 33. That's all I'm saying. They do have fringe prospect Gillaspie on the roster as a backup 3B/1B already.

      Giants- Brandon Belt (1b) is a 24 year old with only 1 year of playing time. He did OPS a respectable .738 as a rookie but sophmore slumps aren't unheard of. The Giants have a fringe prospect at AA.

      Blue Jays- Adam Lind (DH) has come on hard times recently. His OPS over the last 3 seasons is .724. If he stumbles there is no help inside the Blue Jays organization.

      Rangers- Like the White Sox they have a good hitting veteran in 37 year old Lance Berkman (DH). If he can no longer produce they do have standout prospects at AAA in Profar (SS) and Mike Olt (3B).
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