The Baltimore Orioles were awarded the trade-waiver claim on Josh Willingham, reports Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. The Orioles are actively pursuing a deal with the Twins. The two sides have until noon on Friday to come to an agreement.
The Orioles have been looking to strengthen themselves as designated hitter this season. Despite being one of the strongest hitting teams in the AL, Baltimore designated hitters have been among the worst at their position. This season, the Orioles have a .232/.281/.379 line at DH. Even in a down year, Willingham would be a major upgrade to that production.
Baltimore is currently third in the AL East with a 70-61 record, 7.5 games out of first place. They are just 4.5 games back of the Oakland Athletics for the second Wild Card spot.
At least one unknown team has claimed Minnesota Twins outfielder Josh Willingham off trade waivers, reports the Star Tribune. If more than one team put in a claim, priority would go first to the American League squad with the worst record.
The Twins will have until noon on Friday to work out a trade with the team that claimed Willingham. If a deal is not agreed on, Minnesota can either pull him back off of waivers or allow the other team to take both him and his contract.
Willingham, 34, has been suffering through a down year in 2013 while dealing with a knee injury, hitting .215 with a .738 OPS and 12 home runs. Until this season, he has maintained an OPS above .800 every season since his rookie campaign in 2006. Last year, his first with the Twins, saw him launch a career-high 35 homers and an .890 OPS.
Willingham is still owed $7 million for 2014, as well as about $1.1 million for the remainder of 2013. His 2014 salary could rise by another million if he reaches 525 plate appearances this year, which would require him to step up to the plate another 147 times.