Could The Phillies Be In The Market For Willingham?

The Minnesota Twins are openly shopping their left fielder, Josh Willingham. The Twins are loaded with outfield prospects with the pack led by Joe Benson, an impressive five-tool player, who should be seeing some time in the majors come September call-ups (if not earlier).

Willingham’s trade stock became much more valuable to the Twins after Trevor Plouffe, an outfielder who successfully traveled through Minnesota’s farm, batted under .200 in Willingham’s absence earlier this year.

The Twins are going to be looking for prospects who have a tremendous upside for the 33-year-old journeyman. He has showed promise on the three clubs he has played with and has tested the free agent market only twice in his major league tenure.

His defense isn’t anything to call home about, but he will make number eight on SportsCenter’s top 10 at least once a year.

From the Phillies perspective, going after the Hammer is not for defensive purposes. Juan Pierre may have lost a step, but he can still get under balls Willingham would not even be able to dive for. So why trade a number of prospects for him?

On July 28th 2009, the left fielder, playing for Washington at the time, stepped into the righty’s batter box in Miller Park and stared up at Jeff Suppan pitching from the windup since the bases were loaded. Suppan sent a sinker intending to fall out of the zone, but instead the ball fluttered over the middle of the plate where it met the Hammer’s bat and was launched over the left field wall.

He stepped up to the plate again in the sixth inning staring down Mark DiFelice, a relief pitcher he had never faced in his career, the bases juiced once again. He fell into an early 0-2 count after being bested by a cutter and fooled by a slider. Willingham guessed the next pitch would be a slider and fortune favored the righty as he extended his arms and watched his second grand slam in as many innings sail over the outstretched arm of Ryan Braun standing helplessly in front of the wall.

The Phillies need Willingham because he can hit, for power and for average. He is currently batting .286 with 11 homeruns through 52 games this season. To date, the only starting outfielder with a better average than him is Juan Pierre, but he buries Pierre in the homerun category. Willingham would have the second most home runs on Philly’s roster, second only to Hunter Pence.

Pierre has been playing great, but at some point the Phillies need to consistently score five runs a game and Willingham can bring that stability. He has 31 runs batted in and could take some weight off the shoulders of Pence, Wigginton, and Victorino in the middle of Charlie Manuel’s lineup.

Trading for Willingham will take at least two well known prospects, but at this point in the season if the Phils plan on contending for the playoffs they need a consistent bat in the lineup. Willingham has consistent power numbers, averaging 22 homeruns a season, and can be the answer to Philadelphia’s problem getting runs to cross the plate.

15 thoughts on “Could The Phillies Be In The Market For Willingham?

  1. Yeah, why not, because we don’t have enough, old, overpaid, part time, journeymen, strike out machines, already, right!? Amaro should just quit now, & take Manuel with him. We’ll soon have an Alumni team, on the field. I honestly can’t stomach this team, right now! WE NEED YOUNGER, MORE TALENTED PLAYERS! NOT MORE AARP MEMBERS, FOR THE SENIOR CENTER!!!!

  2. I don’t see giving up the limited Prospects the Phils have for a 33 Year Old journeymen..
    If the the Phils and GM Amaro were smart, they would come to realize that a 2012 Championship Run is not going to happen and that even making the Playoffs is in serious jeopardy they should use this Trade-Deadline coming up next month as a way to Rebuild-Reload this team with younger talent and to figure out how to re-sign both Hamles/Pence as they are about to reach their primes and have many good productive seasons ahead of them..

    As GM, Paulman would do the following by the Trade ak Deadlinee

    #1) Recall OF Domonic Brown and play him in LF everyday.. Phils need to find out if the guy can play at the MLB level or not and the only way is to stick him out there and let him play… (Brown would replace Mayberry Jr on the Roster)
    #2) I would trade CF C Victorino for he actually has Trade Value and Teams would be willing to give up some prospects for him as he’s in his prime right now and will command a large contract as he enters Free-Agency after this season is up.. Teams like the Giants,Tigers, could be in the market for a CF with Playoff Experience as those teams hunt for the Playoffs… (I would then Shift Pierre to CF for the rest of this Season and stick Brown in LF)
    #3) I would Trade LHP Cliff Lee to a AL Team that is in the Playoff hunt that is in need of Starting Pitching.. (Red Sox,Tigers,Cleveland,Toronto come to mind) and get at least 2 Top Prospects and then use the Savings from Lee’s Contract to lock up Cole Hamels to a long-term.
    #4) I would trade RHP J Blanton to someone desperate for a Starter who is in the Playoff chase .. maybe the Tigers and this would require the Phils to have to eat some of his ridiculous $9 Million Salary.. (maybe package Blanton/Mayberry Jr to the Tigers for a couple of Mid-Level Prospects)
    #5) I would attempt to trade Jim Thome to an AL Team who needs a left-handed bat as a DH who is in a playoff chase… The Indians lost DH R Haefner, the Tigers lost Victor Martinez.. (Maybe Package Thome with a Lee or Blanton) but Thome does not belong in the NL for he can’t play a postion in the field and to get 5 at-Bats a Week with him is not doing him or the Team any good (which I stated back in the off-Season when they signed him)

    This would be my plan of adding 5-6-7 Prospects including some young
    OF/IF prospects and start-rebuilding this Team for the next 4-5 Years of Competitive/Winning Baseball.. I would extend and resign both Hamels and Pence, and let the younger players (D Brown,F Galvis and H Luna) stay up with the Phils and get some experience and as many At-Bats for the remainder of 2012 to determine if they fit into future plans…

    The PHils have had a great run since 2007 but it’s time to start turning over this roster and look towards the future.. The NL East has gotten much stronger and deeper as a Division and the PHils rivals are loaded with younger,hungrier and more talented Teams and the time to catch up and re-tool is now for to be honest, This Phils Team is very unlikley to make any serious run for this Season between their Injuries, Poor Bullpen and lack of Team Power that they presently have and that’s just being realistic about the shape of the Franchise for 2012.. Time to turn the page and re-tool, the Flyers and Eagles have done so and it’s just the nature of Sports..

  3. Nice wheeling, and dealing Paul!!! I would trade Halladay instead of Lee though….Everything else I like how your thinking!!!

  4. I would also try to retrieve some of the prospects lost in the Houston Trade like Jarrod Coszar,( I would think about trading Lee for these prospects) and John Singleton, and from the A’s Reggie Taylor. This is the time we think about trading Ryan Howard, and Chase Utley too, and bring in the youth of the farm system. Getting something for Victorino, and Halladay, and Blanton, my bring us some prospects. The Phillies are going to have to find the gonaads to let some of the mainstay superstars go. Ones we can’t afford to let go are Hamels, and Pence.

  5. Paul agree 100% and add to that trading Rollins for a mid-level prospect to rid ourselves of more salary, pave the way for Galvis at SS and the hopeful off season aquisition of M. Bourn (FA) to get a true lead-off hitter.

  6. GM Cliff, IMO Utley and Howard are untradable due to contract size and medical history. We can get younger and more talented at LF, 3B and CF by some crafty GM work though.

  7. I like your thinking Paul, but you can’t get a stick of gum for Thome, Lee has a limited NTC, & Blanton blows & might get you a pack of gum. Also, if you trade both Lee & Blanton, at the deadline. Halladay won’t be back either, until after the break. So that would leave us with Hamels, Kendrick & Worley at 70%. May won’t be ready until next year, & we nobody to call up to start. If anything, Lee might not go until the off-season. I would trade Blanton, Victorino, & Polanco. Rollins too, but he is a 5-10 guy, in which he has the right to refuse any trade. They are going to have to completely rebuild, because of Amaro’s stupidity & incompetence. We have limited trade chips, an astronomical payroll, with no wiggle room, zero high-end position prospect, & an ancient, injury prone, little skilled lineup. Amaro has done NOTHING, to implement younger, more skilled players, to keep this lineup replenished, & hungry. It’s going to be a long couple of years, unless we are able to turn our garbage, into gold, in some good trades, Utley retires & we get an extra $15M+ of salary, we resign Hamels & Pence, & we get lucky with May, Aumont, & Defratus, keep getting good outings from Diekman, & Stutes, & Bastardo. Can regain prior good form. That’s ALOT of ????

  8. Everz – Nobody is untradable. There plenty of teams that want to win a pennant/championship that would take a chance on a still young star like Howard. I see your point in reference to Utley, but someone would be willing to take a chance, hoping he gets back to his productive form, and pray they can get 2 years out of him. Not impossible or unreasonable.

  9. Dcar,
    I understand that by making these movees, that I am most likley throwing in the towel for 2012 Season as far as the Playoff go ..But in order to be competitive for 2013 and for the next 3-4-5 Seasons, I think this needs to be done so I am willing to bite the bullett the 2nd half of this Season to get the Roster back on track for future years and get a good look at some of the Younger players …
    Rollins would be another difficult player to trade unless a team in the hunt incurs an injury at that Position.. I don’t believe there is Team who will agree to pay $11 Million per Season over the next 2 Season for Rollins, So the Phils would probably have to eat 1/2 his Salary to move him and I just don’t see that happeneing.. I would never have resigned him in the 1st place,but what’s done has already be done… It sure would have been nice too see Galvis play SS and use that $11 Million per Season on 1-2 Other Upgrades..
    The San Francisco Giants have playoff type of team and could really use a SS, Rollins is from Oakland,ca across the Bay and could be an option, but the Giants are not loking to add big contracts at this time..
    As far as deciding on what Top Pitcher to keep (Doc or Lee) I am keeping Doc for locking up Hamels give Phils a Righty/Lefty Duo at the Top of the Rotation, plus with Lee being Left-handed and younger than Doc that he would probably return more prospect wise than Doc would ,,,

  10. Paul, again, Rollins is a 10-5 guy, & can void every trade. Eating salary, has nothing to do with it. I agree though, it needs to be blown up, ASAP!!!! THEY AIN’T GOING ANYWHERE, WITH THIS BUNCH OF ALUMNI, BEER LEAGUERS!!!!

  11. why not call up Dom brown and see what happens?? He can be no worse than what they have now. What they have out there now is pathetic, AA ball..

  12. AGREED, R_R. Although I think he sucks, It can’t be any worse than the Mayberry, Pierre duo. See what you got. What a bunch of slop we have!

  13. Fully agree with bringing Brown up. Let the kid play 80 games in the 5 spot with no pressure and let’s see what he’s got. I don’t see this season turning around anytime soon, so time for something new and to look towards the future.

  14. bugs, they might as well. This slop on the field, is unwatchable. Trade Lee & Victorino now, to Toronto, for 3b Brett Lawrie, CF Colby Rasmus, C Travis d’ Arnaud, P Kyle Drabek/ P Jason Frasor. Platoon Mayberry & Brown in left, resign Hamels, bring up DeFratus & Aumont. If Rollins agrees to a trade, get the best package you can. Get what you can for Blanton. Make Thome & Utley retire. Start the rebuild from there. BTW, ship QUALLS TO SIBERIA!

  15. Can’t understand the Qualls thing. That is Bastardo’s job that he earned last year. I would much rather have him in the 8th than as the 7th or the situational lefty.

    I agree that they should look to rebuild now. Even if they they compete this year, this is not a solid team going forward. Bring up all the kids to play.

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