The Kansas City Royals addressed their need for a power-hitting right fielder by acquiring Josh Willingham from the Minnesota Twins in a post-deadline waiver deal Monday. Pre-deadline trade rumors connected Willingham to the Royals, but the teams did not close a deal.
Josh Willingham is hitting .210/.345/.402 this season with 12 home runs. His .747 OPS will be an upgrade over Nori Aoki and Raul Ibanez. Willingham hit a home run in his last at bat for the Twins against Oakland, and will now face the A’s again for KC after he joins the team.
The Royals gave up right-handed prospect Jason Adam, who was a 5th round draft pick and grew up in Overland Park. Adam, 23, was pitching in relief at AAA Omaha after converting to the pen this season. Adam was 1-1 with a 2.35 ERA at Omaha this season.
Kudos to GM Dayton Moore for addressing his team’s need for a power bat that can play right field. While Josh Willingham has struggled with injuries the last two seasons, he hit .260 with 35 home runs and an .890 OPS when healthy in 2012.
Willingham is also a good fit for the free-swinging Royals offense in that he’s a patient hitter that takes walks. Josh Willingham has a 12.0% career walk rate and an excellent 15.1% this season. The best part is that he is only owed $1.86 million for the rest of this season in the last year of his 3-yr, $21 million contract.
This news caps what has been a great week for the Royals, who have gone 7-0, closed to .5 games behind Detroit in the A.L. Central, and seized the final wild card spot with almost 2 months to go in the season.
At long last, the Royals are in a playoff race—and Dayton Moore’s move today makes us finally believe that management is doing everything they can to bring home a pennant.