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The W.A.R. room

Why the Twins need to trade Josh Willingham

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First let me say that I think Willingham has been great thisseason. Besides the big power numbers he is also posting a .389 OBP, tied for 8thin the American league with Miguel Cabrera. Also he is tied for 8thin the league in HR again with Miguel Cabrera. In fact if you dive deeper intothe numbers Willingham is in the top 10 as well in ISO (Isolated power), BB%(Base on ball percentage) SLG%, wOBA (Weighted on Base Average) wRC (weighted runscreated) and wRAA (weighted runs above average). Willingham also has a W.A.R.(Wins Above Replacement) of 3.6, which is higher than players with names likeDavid Ortiz, Jose Bautista, Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, and Prince Fielder. Whenyou add it all up Willingham is in the top 10 offensive players in the AL.
Now you might look at those numbers and think the Twins needWillingham we would be hurting even more without him. And you would be right, asfar as Win Probability Added there is no one better in the AL then JoshWillingham. He is also a right handed power bat which is becoming more valuablethese days. All that being said these are the reasons the Twins need to trade Willingham.
It’s time to realizethat we are in rebuilding mode, we don’t have much in the form of a pitchingstaff, the offense has been ok but not great, and we are showing nothing thatsuggests the twins can climb into contention. The eye needs to move to thefuture and the best way to build that is to restock the farm system. While Spanand Liriano could bring back some decent prospects, a big right handed powerbat is probably our best bet to land a big prospect. And the best time to tradeWillingham is either by the July 31st trade deadline or in theoffseason. Keep in mind Willingham is 33 years old this is probably his topyear. If the Twins wait until 2014 in the last year of his contract and he onlyhas about 10 HR at the deadline his trade value in very little when youconsider he is below average defensively. Right now when he is getting on base,hitting for power in a pitchers park, and the fact that he has a very friendly contractfor a player of his current offensive ability, now is when is value isgreatest.
One may argue that this is a guy the twins need to buildaround, and if Willingham was 23 instead of 33 I would agree with you. Most likelywhen the Twins are competitive again Willingham will not be on the team or hisnumbers will be way down. While I love the signing of him and what he has donefor the team the best thing he can do know is bring back future value to theteam.

If you have questions about the stats I used at thebeginning of the blog look at fangraphs.com they have a glossary to explain them.
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