RandBall: Are Twins fans fixating too much on outfielder Willingham?

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • November 21, 2011 - 12:54 PM


Disclaimer: This is not coming from a position of inside information, merely observation and curiosity.


That said, we're wondering if Twins fans are getting a little too excited about the prospect of adding Josh Willingham -- not because he wouldn't be a reasonably good fit, but rather because he might be too expensive and/or fans are reading too much into the sequence of events that brought the outfielder's name into the picture.

To wit: About a week ago, Joe C reported from the GM meetings in Milwaukee that the Twins called the agent for Willingham and Ryan Doumit to express interest in both players. A few days later, news broke of the Twins and Doumit agreeing on a modest one-year deal. Many began to wonder: Is Willingham next?

But reading back a little further, we find that Willingham -- who will turn 33 before the season starts and is coming off a year with career highs in homers (29) and RBI (98) and has a career OPS of .836 -- is probably looking to cash in on a long-term deal. Per the Contra Costa Times a few weeks ago: "My best guess is he will probably sign a three-year deal, and probably not with Oakland," agent Matt Sosnick told this newspaper. "I just don't think that's the position the A's are in right now."

Willingham is perhaps the most coveted left fielder out there. One thing Minnesota could have going for it -- for once -- is location, per that same story: Sosnick said he expects Willingham to sign with a team closer to his home in Florence, Ala., because the travel back and forth to Oakland was difficult for Willingham's wife, Ginger, and their two young sons. "Ultimately money will talk," Sosnick said. "But I think all things being equal, they would choose to (sign with a team) in the South or Midwest."

But the bottom line: Unless his agent is overestimating the market, this would not be a Doumit-type signing. It would be multi-year and would probably be costly. Even if the bat and glove would fit, we're not sure getting hopes up is legit.

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