The Baltimore Orioles claimed Twins slugger Josh Willingham off trade waivers on Wednesday evening. The Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly broke the news while we were wrapping up recording this weeks BSR Podcast (give it a listen). MASNSports.com’s Roch Kubatko reports that the Orioles are attempting to work out a trade for “The Hammer.”
Willingham is signed through the 2014 season, adding to his appeal. He wouldn’t be a rental for the Orioles, who are attempting to make the playoffs for the second consecutive season after a 14-year drought.
The Orioles didn’t express much interest in Willingham before he signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Twins prior to the 2012 season. Now, they’re trying to add him to their lineup.
The Orioles have 48 hours to complete a trade with the Twins, who can pull Willingham off waivers if talks break down.
Willingham has hit .215/.347/.391 in 88 games for Minnesota this season. He was activated by the Twins on August 9 after missing all of July and early August following arthroscopic knee surgery.
The 34 year old outfielder would likely serve as the Orioles designated hitter, though he has hit just .218/.350/.388 in 403 plate appearances in that role over his career. Orioles DH’s this season have hit .217/.277/.393 in 2013.
I’ve always been a fan of Willingham’s power and think he could be a great addition to the Orioles lineup. However, Baltimore’s biggest weakness is still starting pitching. Their starters combined 4.63 ERA is 28th in baseball. The O’s 4.75 FIP is the worst in the game.
Willingham isn’t a free agent until 2015. He is owed $1.26 million for the remainder of this season will make $7 million next season.