December 14, 2011

Report: Twins close to three-year, $21 million deal with Josh Willingham

Nothing official yet, but Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the Twins are "very close" to signing Josh Willingham to a three-year, $21 million contract to replace Michael Cuddyer. Once things are finalized I'll have a full write-up here, but in the meantime you can read my article from earlier this week examining whether the Twins would be better off re-signing Cuddyer or signing Willingham.

  • Katz

    Solid

  • David

    Ditto. Comparable player; less money; two draft picks (three including the one for Kubel, who’s also now off the board)…what’s not to like?

  • Andy4Twins

    Here is what Keith Law (ESPN) says – not so solid.

    I’d love to tell you Willingham’s drop in average and OBP was just a function of moving to a brutal ballpark for hitters, but his home/road splits for 2011 don’t support that story. In fact, he was much better at home (.874 OPS) than on the road (.750 OPS). Instead we’re looking more at an oft-injured hitter who didn’t like the tougher pitching of the American League and is probably entering his decline phase.

    Willingham has always been a patient hitter but swung through more fastballs in the zone this year and did little damage against off-speed stuff, a dangerous combination for a hitter entering his age-33 season. He is a well-below-average defender in left and is only going to get worse there as he ages. I’d take a flier on him as a bench bat and emergency starter in left or at DH, but not for more than a year, given all the warning signs in his 2011 season.

  • TMW

    Keith Law also said on his twitter feed last night that this is right move to make over Cuddyer.

    Willingham is going to be a lot more 3-outcome than Cuddyer, but this is a good price along with draft picks.

  • cuddyHTR

    Also –
    Willingham OPS+ last 3 seasons = 127 / 129 / 121
    Willingham 162 game average = .262 / .361 / .475 27 HRS / 88 RBI / 121 OPS+

    Cuddyer OPS+ last 3 seasons = 124 / 107 / 121
    Cuddyer 162 game average = .272 / .343 / .451 20 HRS / 70 RBI / 111 OPS+

  • Dirleton

    It is clear that the Twins have returned to their traditional cheap/scrap heap mode (thanks for the new stadium — suckers!).

  • B-Rabs

    “It is clear that the Twins have returned to their traditional cheap/scrap heap mode…”

    What? What did you want them to do exactly?

  • BR

    If the Twins were going cheap, they’d have simply pocketed this $$$ and thrown some combo of Plouffe/ Revere/Benson out there. They ARE trying to fill holes economically, but that’s ok. You don’t always have to buy the most expensive guys to improve your club (look at what Tampa did with their bullpen and 1B last year).

  • jfs

    wishing the best of luck to michael cuddyer, who has been a favorite for many years and has epitomized the best of the twins franchise. i hope he signs with a contender and wins a ring in the post-season. we love ya, mike, and congratulations to you and the mrs. on your new babies.

  • mike wants wins

    Willingham isn’t going to win them a WS, but Willingham and two draft picks is a better strategy than Cuddeyer alone, imo. Any move that makes me think that they are acting more like the Rays is a good move in my eyes.

  • Bradford

    Willingham was also a Type A free agent. Does the new CBA mean that we will drop from #2 to #3 overall in the June Draft with Oakland getting the draft pick immediately in front of us?

  • http://aarongleeman.com aarongleeman

    Willingham was also a Type A free agent. Does the new CBA mean that we will drop from #2 to #3 overall in the June Draft with Oakland getting the draft pick immediately in front of us?

    No.

  • Sean

    Great signing. 33 year-old outfielders are warning signs in themselves. How many productive outfielders that age are there? A small handful — Berkman, Beltran, Cuddy, Willingham. Willingham might not be a superstar but he’s rock solid and Cuddy was pretty injury-prone himself. His future performance is hardly guaranteed.

    Also, a big thanks to AG for checking in on the comment board and clarifying the CBA implications for us. It’s starting to seem like he wrote it…

  • Eric

    Twins 2012 opening day line-up
    CF Span
    LF Revere
    C Mauer
    1B Morneau
    RF Doumit
    DH Willingham
    3B Valencia
    SS Carroll
    2B Casilla

  • Terry Doyle

    Willingham was also a Type A free agent. Does the new CBA mean that we will drop from #2 to #3 overall in the June Draft with Oakland getting the draft pick immediately in front of us?

    No. They will get a supplementary pick and #2 in the second round. We will move to #3 in the second round.

  • Steve J

    we’re looking more at an oft-injured hitter who didn’t like the tougher pitching of the American League and is probably entering his decline phase.

    Well…. Cuddyer’s not any spring chicken ‘neether….And willingham seems to be more consistant year to year.

    Willingham isn’t going to win them a WS,

    I don’t think adding Pujols and Reyes would have gotten this team to the WS….

  • Pedro Munoz

    I am actually kind of sad because I do like Cuddy, but this is a no brainer. The Twins made Cuddy a better offer than what Willingham is getting. Cuddy leaving is on Cuddy, not the front office. I will be curious to see what he actually gets because now that the Twins are out of the mix there is one less team to bid up his services.

    Jamey Carroll will bat second, because he is a middle infielder and because unlike Revere, he does not have a horrible OBP.

  • EmeraldAxe

    Also to Eric, Morneau’s playing time should very much be in question. Let’s hope he rebounds, but it doesn’t seem likely to me.

  • JustinCB

    “Willingham was also a Type A free agent. Does the new CBA mean that we will drop from #2 to #3 overall in the June Draft with Oakland getting the draft pick immediately in front of us?

    No.”

    I think top 10 prospects are now protected, instead of 15? Did I make that up? I thought I heard that somewhere.

  • http://93caravan.blogspot.com Ben H.

    All 15 teams that finish in the lower half of the standings (in 2011) have protected first round picks in the following year’s draft (2012).

  • http://twinkietown.com steve hoffman (SHS)

    WIllingham will be good for about 1 out of the 3 years.

    what a hell of a deal for him.

    I’d like him a lot more on a 2 year deal.

    Cuddyer > Willingham in a vacuum non draft pick related context.

  • thegeneral13

    Steve, what makes you say he’ll be good in “about 1 out of the 3 years?” His back-to-back-to-back 120+ OPS+ seasons? His career 121 OPS+? The fact that he’s never posted an OPS+ below 115 or a WAR below 2.1 in a full season? Or by “about,” do you simply mean somewhere between 0 and 3? In that case you’d be correct, but otherwise….

  • http://jszym2write@yahoo.com jfs

    regarding the sean burroughs signing—–i like it. low risk and fairly good potential. good defender and with some work could, once again, be a good bat. could possibly light a fire under danny v.’s behind.

    besides, i admire the guy for turning his life around. hope he contributes at the major league level this year.