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Updated: February 19th, 2014 11:57am
Wetmore: 5 reasons the Twins should trade Josh Willingham

Wetmore: 5 reasons the Twins should trade Josh Willingham

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by Derek Wetmore
1500ESPN.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Two days after his 35th birthday, Josh Willingham is in Twins spring training.

The looming question remains: how long will he be with the Twins?

This season is the final year in Willingham's 3-year, $21 million deal, which was the richest in Twins history at the time he signed it.

Willingham participated in drills Wednesday, several days in advance of the required reporting date. The first full-team workout is Saturday.

The Twins have made no indication they will trade Willingham, and he said Wednesday he likes the organization and would like to stay

"I do love playing in Minnesota," Willingham said Tuesday. "From the organization, to the weather, to my friends and teammates, I think all that stuff is a plus for me.

"So yeah, I would say that is an accurate statement, I would love to stay here for another year or so."

As an outsider eyeing the team's roster, however, Willingham seems a logical candidate to move before this year's trade deadline.

Here are a few simple reasons:

1)      The Twins likely will not compete for a playoff spot this year. Therefore they should look to improve their future rosters, at the expense of the current one, within reason.

2)      His affordable, $7 million annual salary would relatively easy for a contending team to absorb.

3)      At 35, Willingham likely won't be a productive player when the Twins' promising wave of prospects reaches the big leagues. Trading him could add a player who might be productive when that time comes.

4)      The Twins have a glut of young outfielders that would be nice to get at-bats in the Majors this year or soon thereafter: Aaron Hicks, Oswaldo Arcia, Byron Buxton and guys like Chris Parmelee and Jason Kubel could factor into the mix.

5)      His power potential is nice - 35 home runs and a .524 slugging percentage in 2012 - but he gives much of that value back by being a poor defender in left field. He's better suited to be a designated hitter. With the exception of the World Champion Boston Red Sox, teams rarely add value by employing an aging, powerful designated hitter.

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
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