Twins get Royals' ninth-best prospect in exchange for Josh Willingham
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The unloading of Minnesota Twins veterans continued on Monday with the team announcing shortly before first pitch in Houston that Josh Willingham has been traded to the Kansas City Royals for right-handed pitching prospect Jason Adam.
The Twins needed to make a move in order to clear a roster spot for Joe Mauer, who is returning from an oblique strain, and considering Willingham's status as a two-month rent-a-masher, this seems to be a pretty nice trade.
The 23-year-old Adam was a fifth round draft pick by the Royals in 2010, and Baseball America rated him as Kansas City's ninth best prospect heading into this season. For what it's worth, ESPN's Keith Law had the Royals' farm system seventh in his preseason rankings.
Adam has struggled in the higher levels of the minor leagues (a 5.13 ERA in 242 1/3 innings at Double-A), but his peripheral numbers (8.0 strikeouts and 3.1 walks per nine innings, only 21 home runs allowed and a 3.70 FIP) should be somewhat encouraging for the Twins. Adam's fastball was clocked around 93 mph in last year's Arizona Fall League.
In nearly three full seasons with the Twins, Willingham hit .232/.353/.446 with 61 home runs, 192 RBIs and a 121 OPS+. He was also worth 4.3 Wins Above Replacement, according to Fangraphs, which values him at just over $20 million - right around the total value of his $21 million, three-year contract. At his peak in 2012, Willingham was one of the best power hitters in baseball, but age and injuries crept in over the past two seasons.
Terry Ryan has "no second thoughts about the acquisition of Josh (Willingham) three years ago."— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) August 11, 2014
Nor should he. Willingham served his purpose, especially in 2012, and the Twins spun him for a young arm. This is good process.
Here's a video of Jason Adam throwing a bullpen session. As uploaded by... Jason Adam. Apparently.