Slugger Josh Willingham traded to Royals

David Brown
Big League Stew

Looking to add offense for the pennant drive, the Kansas City Royals traded for slugger Josh Willingham on Monday, sending minor-league pitcher Jason Adam to the Minnesota Twins.

Willingham, 35, was claimed off revocable waivers by the Royals — which is part of the process for any trade made after July 31— and a deal was worked out. Kansas City is on the hook for the rest of Willingham's salary for 2014 before he becomes a free agent:


Thinking positively, Willingham would be eligible for the postseason if the Royals make it for the first time since winning the World Series 1985.

With a 3-2 victory against the Oakland Athletics on Monday night, Kansas City moved into first place in the American League Central race, but the Royals were only 16th in the majors in runs scored and dead last with 71 home runs. Willingham, 35, figures to be used as a designated hitter and an outfielder. While dealing with various injuries, Willingham is batting .209 with a .343 on-base percentage and a .380 slugging with 26 homers in 749 plate appearances since the start of the 2013 season with Minnesota. For six seasons before that, Willingham was one of the more underrated sluggers in the majors, averaging .261/.362/.485 for a 125 adjusted OPS.

Raul Ibañez, batting .166 this season coming in, and .193 with the Royals in 60 plate appearances, has been getting most of the DH at-bats with the Royals. Billy Butler has been playing first base with Eric Hosmer on the DL because of a broken right hand

MLB Trade Rumors says that Adam is a decent haul, considering Willingham's impending free agency. He was rated as Kansas City's ninth-best prospect before the season. Adam, 22, has 425 strikeouts and a 4.38 ERA in 520 career innings five-plus minor league seasons. He was being used as a reliever at Class AAA in 2014 since being promoted in July.

[Editor's note: An earlier version of this post incorrecly said Willingham had been placed on irrevocable waivers.]

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David Brown is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at and follow him on Twitter!

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