Willingham Would Like To Remain With Twins

WEDNESDAY: Willingham himself confirmed his desire to remain with the Twins to Berardino today: "I do love playing in Minnesota," Willingham said. "I would love to stay here for another year or so." Willingham went on to say that he "would never" approach a front office about an extension but would "obviously" be up for it if the Twins approached him. The veteran slugger added that he respects the people in the organization from top to bottom and doesn't feel they're far from winning, adding that his wife and children "love" Minnesota (All links to Berardino's Twitter).

MONDAY: The Twins have finished 66-96 in both of Josh Willingham's seasons with the Twins, but despite the team's lack of success, agent Matt Sosnick tells Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that his client "loves" Minnesota and "would be happy to finish his career in Minnesota." However, the Twins haven't engaged in extension talks with Willingham, who hopes to play through 2017 if he is healthy, says Sosnick.

Willingham played much of the 2013 season with a knee injury that eventually required arthroscopic surgery in early July. The slugger originally injured his knee on what he described to Berardino at the time of his surgery as an "awkward slide" into second base on his lone steal attempt of the season on April 27 (he was successful). Willingham had hit his fourth homer of the year in that game, boosting his slash line to .254/.397/.542 — similar numbers to the monster .260/.366/.524 batting line he posted in 2012 with Minnesota. However, following that slide into second base, Willingham batted just .200/.332/.336 on the year.

Willingham, who turns 35 today (Happy birthday, Josh!), is entering the final season of a three-year, $21MM contract. A return to his 2012 form would likely increase the team's interest in keeping him around, but it would also make him a prime trade chip come July if the Twins are unable to turn their fortunes around. Minnesota is likely hopeful that some combination of Oswaldo Arcia, Aaron Hicks and top prospect Byron Buxton can round out its outfield for years to come (once Buxton is Major League ready), so Willingham's best bet to remain with the club could come as a DH/part-time outfielder.

Should Willingham hit the free agent market next winter, he'll join a group of corner outfielders that includes Michael Cuddyer, Norichika Aoki, Brett Gardner, Torii Hunter and Melky Cabrera, among others.

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6 Comments on "Willingham Would Like To Remain With Twins"

1 year 6 months ago

Not really. His 2012 year was good but the 2013 campaign was atrocious for him.

1 year 6 months ago

As someone else said, he’s a DH only at this point. I’m on the fence with this one. It really depends on how the rest of some of the other players pan out.

Right now it’s Kubel and Willingham for possible DH (OF too, unfortunately). Maybe Parmelee, maybe Plouffe, but those last two are terrible options for the DH. I think Arcia is too young to pull out of the field (should be in RF). Colabello is an option if he figures out how to hit in the big leagues.

I’d really like Hammer to have a good first half and trade him, but if he was signed for 1/8 or 1 + option for 16 total then I don’t know if I’d complain too much. It all depends on his first half and on Kubel/Parm/Plouffe and Colabello. There doesn’t seem to be anyone coming up in the next year or two who can’t play the field at all. DH is one of the “easier” spots to fill though, so that has to factor in as well.

1 year 6 months ago

I’m pretty sure Colabello got sold to a Korean team.

1 year 6 months ago

Never mind. He rejected that deal.

1 year 6 months ago

teams value high obp way more than a few extra hr. And it is a much better mindset when you are on a good team. A player should be able to trust his teammates’ skills. If he sees a good pitch, sure, but is very bad move to swing at a very bad pitch.

1 year 6 months ago

I like Willingham. He’s a good fit on the Twins and he gave it everything he had in 2012, when there was nothing to play for. I have a baseball signed by him on my desk, right in front of me, as I type this.

But, as much as he likes it in Minnesota, the best possible situation for all parties is for him to come back healthy, have a monster first half, and get traded to a contender.