The Royals' Twitter account broke the news:
#Royals have acquired OF Josh Willingham from the Twins for minor league RHP Jason Adam.— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) August 11, 2014
It is a win-win trade for both parties. Kansas City gets an expiring contract and a bat to help contend after a flurry of consecutive wins, while—more importantly—Minnesota gets some serious help in the farm system's bullpen.
Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press noted that Twins general manager Terry Ryan has a plan in place for Adam:
Jason Adam will return to starting at Double-A New Britain, Terry Ryan said.— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) August 11, 2014
Baseball America noted that Adam was a coveted member of the farm in Kansas City:
Adam was KC's No. 9 prospect, not No. 8, entering the season.— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) August 11, 2014
That said, not all of the reviews are positive in nature, such as one courtesy of JJ Cooper of Baseball America:
See Jason Adam on the right night and he looks like a no. 3 starter. Other nights he looks like he shouldn't be in AA.— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) August 11, 2014
Adam seems to have an off night like any developing prospect, although nobody can deny there is a certain allure to a 23-year-old arm who has worked his way up through the ranks after being a fifth-round selection in 2010.
MiLB.com has the official stat lines of Adam's journey to this point:
|2014 [+]||2 teams||Minors||113.2||5-9||4.67||1.39|
For his part, Adam says his time in the minors has allowed him to refine his game.
"A lot of the mental side of pitching as far as how to read batters, throwing the right pitches in the right situations, taking all that into account and then just refining my pitches," Adam said, per Dick Kaegel of MLB.com. "I'm constantly doing that, obviously."
Adam has more work to do, but the pieces of a rotational starter or even a reliever are certainly in place should he continue on his current trajectory.
For a team that resides in the cellar of the AL Central and wants to get younger in order to build for the future, Adam is a huge get in exchange for what would have been nothing of merit had Willingham left via free agency.
In time, Adam might just make this transaction look like a major steal.