The Kansas City Royals are not a power hitting team. Their 71 home runs entering tonight’s game are the lowest in the major leagues, trailing the St. Louis Cardinals by seven. As such, the Royals have generally needed to rely upon their ability to make contact and get a couple of hits in order to drive in a run. When the Royals bats have been going well, as they have over the past few weeks, that style of offense can be truly fun to watch. Yet, having a true power hitter could help mitigate the struggles of the offense when that pressure based offense is unable to generate runs.
In the hopes of finding such a player, the Royals and the Minnesota Twins made their fourth trade in history, as Kansas City acquired outfielder/DH Josh Willingham. In exchange, the Twins received minor league pitcher Jason Adam.
#Royals have acquired OF Josh Willingham from the Twins for minor league RHP Jason Adam.
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) August 11, 2014
Although Willingham may not be the same player as he was back in 2012, when he hit 35 home runs and won a Silver Slugger award, he could still be a useful piece for the Royals. In only 68 games this season, Willingham has hit at a mere .210/.345/.410 rate. However, in his 224 at bats, Willingham hit 12 home runs. With Alex Gordon playing every day in left, Willingham will likely slot in as the usual designated hitter, at least until Eric Hosmer is back.
Heading back to Minnesota is Jason Adam. Adam was ranked as the Royals 11th best prospect at the start of the season by minorleagueball.com, and was thought to be a future back of the rotation starter. His performance this season, split between Northwest Arkansas and Omaha, has not done much to dispel that notion. Between the two levels, Adam has produced a 5-9 record with a 4.67 ERA. Adam has performed much better with Omaha since being transitioned to the bullpen, posting a 2.35 ERA in his 15 innings for the Storm Chasers.
The Royals have displayed a knack for being able to generate relief pitching, making the departure of Jason Adam a more than reasonable cost for a power bat like Josh Willingham. He gives the Royals the type of power potential that Mike Moustakas also possesses. Should Willingham and Moustakas both get hot at the same time, the Royals lineup has suddenly gotten far more formidable.
Even though Dayton Moore sat out at the July 31st trade deadline, he has made a solid move to improve the Royals lineup. If Josh Willingham can recapture the form he displayed two years ago, he may be that final piece the Royals needed.