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UPDATE: Twins, Josh Willingham near three-year, $21 million contract

Dec 13, 2011, 11:15 PM EDT

willingham getty Getty Images

11:15 PM ET: Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that the Twins and Willingham are “very close” to a three-year, $21 million contract.

UPDATE III: Hold up. Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com and Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune are both hearing that a deal between the Twins and Willingham isn’t done. What’s more, Christensen reports that talks aren’t dead with Michael Cuddyer. This could get interesting.

UPDATE II: Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that the Twins and Willingham have agreed to a contract, pending a physical. No word on the exact terms, but Crasnick hears that it’s a multi-year contract.

UPDATE: Not only are the Indians out of the mix, Rosenthal now reports that the Twins are “near an agreement” with Willingham.

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Cleveland has been linked to Josh Willingham for weeks now, but Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported this afternoon that the Indians are no longer pursuing the free agent outfielder and now team president Mark Shapiro has made that very clear on Twitter.

Shapiro made a couple tweets urging fans to be patient despite the Indians’ lack of offseason activity and then responded to a question specifically about Willingham like this:

source:

Nothing is official yet, of course, but it seems pretty unlikely that Shapiro would be willing to make a comment like that about Willingham if there was any chance of him signing with the Indians.

And if the Indians are truly out of the mix for Willingham that leaves the Twins as heavy favorites.

  1. rhmurphy - Dec 13, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    Really? The Twins punting defense again? I thought they were a fantastic fundamental team!

  2. proudlycanadian - Dec 13, 2011 at 5:17 PM

    There is still the mystery team. Imaginary or not, there is always a mystery team. Wake me up when this drama is over.

  3. APBA Guy - Dec 13, 2011 at 5:55 PM

    Good move by Shapiro, unless they were planning on shipping Pronk out. Those young pitchers might have liked Willingham’s bat, but one look at him standing on the warning track for every batter because he can’t go backwards (see A’s, Oakland, 2011) would have them anything but relaxed and confident.

  4. bigtrav425 - Dec 13, 2011 at 7:02 PM

    As a Indians fan….THANK GOD they didnt sign him! we need a big bat not a role player bat!

    • dwrek5 - Dec 13, 2011 at 8:36 PM

      Suggestions?

    • evanwins - Dec 13, 2011 at 11:33 PM

      The guy hit 29 HR’s and had 98 RBI’s last year. By definition, that’s a big bat. The only other guy who comes close to that on the market is Fielder, and you’d have to pay ten years for what would amount to 4 years of productiveness.

  5. ckeehr - Dec 14, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    There has been no talk about the impact of the draft with this signing. From everything I can read the A’s will slide into the #2 pick and the Twins will slide into whatever pick the team that signs Cuddy has.

    Is this true? I really haven’t been able to get much information abou this but I did read that Willingham and Cuddy are two of those players. Is there some sort of protection on it?

    If not, the Twins will slide from #2 to #3 because they sign Willingham. More importantly, how does the A’s get the 2nd pick in the draft for Willingham. Plus if the Mariners or the Rockies sign Cuddy, the Twins get either the #3 or the #10 pick in the draft!! Just doesn’t really seem to make sense to me.

    I am hoping someone with more knowledge can shed some light on this for me.

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