Minnesota Twins outfielder Josh Willingham is attracting interest, with the New York Yankees stepping up as the latest team looking at the 35 year old. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman notes that the Yankees may prefer Willingham over other potential acquisitions, partly thanks to his contract situation.
Willingham had a disappointing 2013 season and missed time earlier this year with a wrist injury, but has produced a .215/.357/.420 line in 227 plate appearances since returning to the Twins’ lineup. He has 10 home runs in just 56 games on the year, offering some power production that the Yankees have largely been missing for much of the season.
Heyman does mention both Marlon Byrd and Alex Rios are alternative options that New York is considering, but Willingham does appear to stand apart. Byrd is owed $8 Million next season. Rios has a team option for $14 Million, with a $2 Million buyout. Willingham will be a free agent at season’s end. His cost to acquire will likely be less than the other two.
Much of the focus in recent weeks has been on New York’s need and pursuit of pitching help. Four of the team’s five starting pitchers from the Opening Day rotation are on the disabled list. C.C. Sabathia has already been ruled out for the remainder of the season and there’s a real chance that Masahiro Tanaka will join him. The team’s offense has disappointed as well, however. New York has already made one move, bringing in Chase Headley to help improve the production at third base, but picking up another bat does not seem out of the question.