The Kansas City Royals have acquired Josh Willingham from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for right-hander Jason Adam according to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star. Willingham was claimed by Kansas City off revocable waivers and is owed $1.836 million over the last 48 days of his contract with the Twins. He was in the final year of a three year contract with Minnesota but is now off to Kansas City purely as a rental bat for the duration of the season.
So far this season the 35-year old Willingham was hitting .210/.345/.402 while also clubbing 12 home runs through 278 plate appearances. Earlier in the season he spent some time on the disabled list but his production still has not matched up to his highly productive levels from 2006-12, where he had an OPS of .847. Then again there have been flashes of his former self this season and hopefully a change of scenery to Kansas City for the remainder of the season will kick start Willingham’s bat again.
For the Royals, the move to bring in Willingham was the result of searching for a bat to inject some pop into a Kansas City batting order that has had problems scoring runs at times this season. It is expected that Willingham will most likely see the majority of his playing time sharing the designated hitter spot with Raul Ibanez.
A possible scenario could be the right handed Willingham facing left handed pitching and the left handed Ibanez facing right handed pitching. Then again it could come down to Royals manager Ned Yost choosing the best option based off who is producing and that could play to Willingham’s favor.
Willingham is a capable outfielder as well, so there is more than just the designated hitter position. The Royals are in the middle of both the American League Central and American League Wild Card races.
The addition of Willingham was one for the upcoming stretch run towards the playoffs. He is there to help Kansas City make the playoffs for the first time since 1985.