The Kansas City Royals have acquired outfielder Josh Willingham from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for minor league right-hander Jason Adam, the team officially announced last night.
Kansas City did claim Willingham off of revocable waivers, St. Paul Pioneer Press' Mike Berardino reported on Twitter. Berardino reported later that Willingham is owed $1.836 million throughout the rest of the season. He will be a free agent at the end of the year; Willingham is in the final year of his three-year, $21 million contract he signed prior to the 2012 season to join the Twins.
The Royals could not have chosen a better time to make a move for a veteran player. They are winners of eight straight and 16 of their last 19. Their torrid run has brought them into first place in the American League Central, as they lead the Detroit Tigers by a half game. Kansas City has not been in first this late into the season since 2003 and has not been in first place this year since June 19th.
Willingham will add veteran leadership to the Royals clubhouse, while also adding some power in the outfield. In 11 seasons with the Marlins, Nationals, Athletics, and Twins, Willingham has hit .253/.359/.467 with 193 home runs and 626 runs batted in. In 278 plate appearances on the season, Willingham has a .210/.345/.402 slash-line with 12 bombs and 34 driven in. He clearly has lost a step from his career average, but his on-base percentage remains high while he continues to add power.
Adam, a 5th round pick back in 2010, will be a nice return for Minnesota. He just turned 23 eight days ago, and he is already at Triple-A. In eight games (zero starts) with Triple-A Omaha, he is 1-1 with a 2.35 ERA and a 1.370 WHIP in 15 1/3 innings pitched. Earlier this year, with Double-A Northwest Arkansas, Adam turned in a 4-8 record with a 5.03 ERA and a 1.393 WHIP in 19 games (18 starts). Adam appears nearly ready for the big leagues, as his control with his three pitches is highly touted.
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