I agree. My criteria for the return in a Willingham trade is at least 1 pitching prospect with the following characteristics:
Originally Posted by raindog
a) Unarguably a top-10 prospect in the Twins system.
b) ETA to majors of at least 2015.
These other characteristics would be nice, but not necessary:
c) Consensus top-100 prospect in MLB (Meyer fits this)
d) High-end stuff
Basically, I would like another pitcher like Meyer for Willingham. I guess I could be talked into a middle-infielder, but I'd prefer another pitcher.
I agree with all 4 of your points to some extent. I do think that hitters like Joe Mauer and Denard Span, who have high OBPs and good doubles power can thrive in at Target Field. I also don't believe in compounding mistakes. Trading for Delmon was a mistake, but keeping Willingham just to justify the mindset that created that move would be compounding the mistake and making it worse. Plus, all four of your points were true last year, Willingham had a monster year, and the Twins still lost 96 games. If we could preserve Willingham in a jar for a couple years so that he doesn't age and his contract doesn't run out, he might be worth keeping. Looking at the roster built around him, it doesn't seem likely that the Twins improve enough to make it worthwhile.
Originally Posted by John Bonnes
The deal he signed was awesome, and a huge bargain. He was a stud last year. None of that changes the team outlook for 2013 and possibly 2014. The only way to turn Willingham's deal into a regrettable one would be to waste the asset with a rotten team around him and then get nothing in return for his value. Signing Willingham was not a mistake (obviously) but letting him play out his contract without exploring what he could bring in return would be a huge mistake. I agree that he is hard to replace, but that is also not a reason to pass on a good deal.
I think the last statement you made is the reality. Trading Span makes this team worse for the next couple years and trading all the valuable pieces for young assets seems to be the way the team needs to go. It will be painful for a couple years, but could pay off huge by 2015. Patience is virtue. By 2015, there could be right handed power bats available to sign or trade for as well.
This can all change with some key additions in the off-season, so I reserve the right to change my mind. If the team feels they can contend next year, then they are justified in keeping him. Personally, I need more data and I would like to see how things play out. This is how I feel right now, based on what has already happened.
It's basically a tossup. If they trade Willingham for prospects, they're admitting that they're not trying next year and the ticket sales plummet. If they trade him for ML-ready SP, it's probably not as good as we need it to be, and when the team doesn't improve fans revolt. If they keep him, they risk regression or injury, and little return on a perceived asset. This is why being an armchair GM is so much fun.
Personally I'm betting on the Twins not bailing on next season until after the season has started, which means they don't deal Willingham til the deadline. I think I'd prefer trading Willingham for a high upside prospect if possible, but I'm not going to be surprised or upset when it doesn't happen.
I don't think Willingham gets traded this offseason. The thing that would of made such a trade possible, is that if Joe Benson would have continued progressing. He had moved through the system with Parmelee, putting up better numbers most of way, until 2012 crapped out on him. He is just about about the only power, right handed bat in the upper minors. He could be the logical successor to Willingham. It would be very good for the Twins if Benson, Hicks and Arcia can all settle in at AAA this coming year and put together dominating seasons, all of a sudden the Twins have all sorts of trade possibilities. Assuming, of course, that Willingham, Morneau and Parmelee are all healthy and productive.
I don't imagine all of those things will happen. Still, the Twins really need some guys to show they are ready before they move Willingham or anybody else.
Willingham ended the 2012 season on the DL, didn't he? I wonder if Terry Ryan is receiving lowball offers for him right now, and if he presses for a grade-A pitching prospect he's told "let's talk again near the end of Spring Training and we'll see how well he's recovered."
Originally Posted by jorgenswest