Royals Sign Josh Willingham, Do the Mariners Respond?
It seems the Kansas City Royal’s 11-1 hot streak is just the tip of the iceberg. According to reports on twitter, the Royals have gone out and added depth to their outfield with Minnesota Twins left fielder Josh Willingham.
From Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish:
"#Royals will pick up rest of Willingham’s salary. They claimed him off revocable trade waivers, per source.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) August 11, 2014"
Willingham was often considered a potential trade candidate for the Seattle Mariners prior to the July 31 trade deadline.
His .210 average and 12 home runs and 34 RBI aren’t necessarily indicative of an ‘impact bat’, but his .345 OBP could be valuable at the bottom of their lineup, setting the table when the order turns over.
However, Willingham isn’t exactly a great defender, and his OBP doesn’t always translate into success. This season he is worth -0.4 defensive WAR, so he may end up being more trouble than he is worth.
But this trade still begs the question: do the Mariners need to make some moves on the waiver wire before the end of August? Are they in a position to make a legitimate run at the playoffs with the lineup and rotation and bullpen they currently possess?
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In short, the answer is no. They aren’t quite deep enough to be a feared and legitimate contender. But at the same time, one of their better outfielders– Michael Saunders— and their top prospect– Taijuan Walker— are still off the Major League roster due to injury and developing consistency, respectively.
When James Paxton rejoined the rotation, it was as if the M’s made a trade for a lefty starter at the deadline.
When Saunders comes back, if he remains healthy, he could be that addition to the outfield both defensively and offensively that tightens things up in the field and up and down the order.
In all honesty, I don’t expect the Mariners to make a countering move. For one, there really aren’t too many guys out there the Mariners could A) get value out of and B) get off the waiver wire with how far the Ms are down on the list.
Keep your eyes trained to see if the Mariners make any countering moves. But even if they don’t, they can still fight into September for that 2nd Wild-Card spot in the American League.