HOUSTON -- The Twins traded outfielder Josh Willingham to the Royals for Minor League right-hander Jason Adam on Monday. The trade was completed just a little more than an hour before the team played the Astros at Minute Maid Park. Willingham is a pending free agent.
Adam, a 6-foot-4, 225-pounder, will be reverted to a starter, Twins general manager Terry Ryan said.
"He's a young kid with a good arm," Ryan said of Adam, who is 5-9 with a 4.67 ERA over 27 games (18 starts) at two Minor League levels this season. "He has good pitches."
Prospect acquired by Twins
- Jason Adam, RHP: The Royals didn't have to venture far to scout Adam, who went to high school in a suburb of Kansas City. They drafted him in the fifth round in 2010 and he moved steadily through their Minor League system, reaching Triple-A Omaha last month. Having spent his career as a starter, Adam moved to the bullpen with the Storm Chasers as the Royals prepared him for the possibility of coming to the big leagues as a reliever for their playoff push. Some scouts have previously thought his fastball-slider combination would play up well in relief, but his stuff and durable build give him a chance to be a starter in the Major Leagues. This season, between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Omaha, he posted a 4.67 ERA and struck out 100 batters and walked 34 in 113 2/3 innings.
-- Teddy Cahill
The 23-year-old Adam, whom MLB.com ranked as the Royals' No. 16 prospect, will be sent to Double-A New Britain. In 113 2/3 innings this year, he has 100 strikeouts and 34 walks.
"He has good stuff, but his numbers aren't eye-popping," said Ryan.
Willingham, 35, was hitting .210 with 12 home runs and 34 RBIs. In his first year with Minnesota in 2012, Willingham had 35 home runs and 110 RBIs.
This is the first time Willingham has been traded during the season. He was originally in Minnesota's starting lineup Monday, batting fifth and playing left field.
"It's a good move for me," said Willingham, who was in his third year with the Twins. "I get a chance to win and make the playoffs. Minnesota is a great baseball city. It was a pleasure to play for [manager Ron] Gardenhire and the staff.
"It's been fun, but the baseball part was not as good. The baseball part did not work out. We didn't win. You have mixed emotions. Now I get a chance to help another ballclub win and go to the playoffs.
Minnesota entered Monday 52-64, last in the American League Central, 11 1/2 games behind first-place Detroit. Kansas City was second, just a half-game behind the Tigers.
The Royals will be at Target Field on Friday to start a four-game series.
Ryan appreciated what Willingham has brought to the franchise.
"He had a fantastic first year," said Ryan. "This year, it seems like he was trying to catch up."
Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.