Tuesday night, it was reported that the Minnesota Twins had reached a multi-year agreement with free agent Josh Willingham. Then it was reported that the Twins had not reached a multi-year agreement with Josh Willingham. Then it was reported that the Twins were very close to reaching a multi-year agreement with Josh Willingham.
Now it looks like it's happening, officially. From Jon Heyman:
in the mysterious willingham deal, he has agreed to #twins deal, pending physical. @jcrasnick had awhile ago
The terms of the deal haven't been confirmed, but Joe Christensen puts it at $21 million over three years. Now, let's think about this. The Twins are apparently signing Willingham for three years and $21 million. The Twins reportedly offered Michael Cuddyer three years and $24 million, which he didn't accept. Both Willingham and Cuddyer are 32 years old, born a month apart. Both Willingham and Cuddyer are right-handed and experienced in the AL. Over the last three years, Willingham has a 125 OPS+, while Cuddyer has a 117 OPS+. Neither Willingham nor Cuddyer is thought to be a gifted defensive outfielder.
Cuddyer is capable of playing more positions than Willingham, and he's obviously the more familiar player, but I think the Twins might just be getting the better deal, here. As much as it could hurt to watch a player like Cuddyer walk away, it helps when the guy replacing him is at least as good.