The Minnesota Twins are more than likely going to continue to move a couple of pieces before the Major League Baseball trade deadline passes, and while Josh Willingham is no longer a big name, he is likely to be dealt. Despite his underwhelming numbers this season, Willingham seems to have a host of potential suitors.
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In the National League, the Reds and Pirates could be trade partners, but both would have to put up with his below average defense in the outfield. The most likely destination is now looking like the New York Yankees.
Earlier this week, the Yankees were said to be high on Willingham. Josh Willingham has played the majority of his career in pitcher friendly parks, and while he does have solid home run numbers, a hitter friendly stadium should boost them further. Enter the joke of all baseball stadiums, Yankee Stadium.
The Bronx Bombers are a team currently looking for offense, and while Willingham has swing and miss tendencies, his power would play nicely somewhere in the middle of the Pinstripes lineup.
Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press is reporting on a piece by ex-GM Jim Bowden and had this to say:
Willingham is not going to bring back the same return he may have when he was in the midst of his breakout 2012 season for the Twins (35 home runs, 110 RBIs), but he is essentially the same player. At 35, he is an aging power bat, who can still drive the ball out of the park.
The Yankees likely are looking at Willingham as a few month rental. He is scheduled to be a free agent at the end of the season, and while names like Marlon Byrd or Alex Rios have circled, they would signify a longer term commitment.
Obviously Avelino is not a guaranteed return as nothing has been agreed to, but a prospect with some upside is about all the Twins can hope for in return for their once feared slugger. In the short-term, the departure from the lineup may be the biggest gain in Minnesota.