The 5 Worst Trades in Minnesota Twins History
No sports franchise is safe from bad trades. Most general managers just hope to make more good trades than bad. And no general manager wants to be responsible for a trade that brings in bad talent or gives away too much. Here are my five worst trades in the history of the Minnesota Twins.
- Matt Garza Jason Bartlett and Eduardo Morlan to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for Delmon Young Brendan Harris and Jason Pridie. Outside of one great year for the Twins, Delmon Young mostly underwhelmed and made all fans cringe with his play in the outfield. Young played 3 full seasons for the Twins and part of a fourth before he was traded to the Detroit Tigers for minor league pitchers Cole Nelson and Lester Oliveros. Brendan Harris came to the Twins after a breakout season for the Devil Rays. Harris played nowhere near that level for the Twins and only lasted with the club for 2 full seasons before he was demoted to triple-A in 2011. Harris was traded along with JJ Hardy in another trade that could have made this list. Pridie spent most of his Twins career in the minor leagues and was claimed off waivers by the Mets in 2010. Garza is currently pitching for the Chicago Cubs, and up until last year had made 30 starts every season since the trade. Bartlett was the everyday shortstop for the Rays and Padres until last year when he was injured and later released. Given the Twins recent problems with pitching, Garza is a player the Twins certainly should have held on to.
- Johan Santana to the New York Mets for Carlos Gomez, Phil Humber, Deolis Guerra, and Kevin Mulvey. Anytime you trade one of your best players, you hope the players you get in return will stick in the organization. The Santana trade is a good example of a head scratcher especially considering the rumored deals the Red Sox and Yankees were willing to offer. Gomez stayed with the Twins for 2 seasons, in which he showed flashes of the 5 tool player he was touted to be. But Gomez also made enough bad plays that had Ron Gardenhire been bald after Gomez was traded we would have understood completely. Phil Humber also only played 2 seasons with the Twins, most of that time for Rochester. Humber was designated for assignment in 2009 and is now with the Houston Astros. Kevin Mulvey never made an appearance for the Twins, and was instead sent to the Diamondbacks to complete an August deal in which the Twins acquired Jon Rauch. Guerra is the only player left in the Twins Organization from the deal and has yet to make an impact on the major league team. As if this trade didn’t make you mad enough , look at the list of prospects the Twins could have snagged from either the Red Sox or Yankees: Jacoby Ellsbury or Jon Lester, Jed Lowrie, Coco Crisp, Phil Hughes and Melky Cabrera.
- Rod Carew to the Angels for Ken Landreaux Dave Engle, Paul Hartzell, and Brad Havens. The Twins were put into a difficult position in 1979 when Carew expressed his frustration with the direction ownership was taking the team. The Twins ended up trading Carew, but the package of players they got in return never panned out. Landreaux played well in 2 seasons for the Twins, and his most notable achievement was a 31 game hitting-streak in 1980, which is still a Twins record. Engle was a utility player for 5 seasons for the Twins, but never made much of an impact. Hartzell made 26 starts for the Twins in 1979, but went 6-10 with a 5.36 ERA in his only season with the team. Havens pitched 3 seasons with the Twins, his best season coming in 1982 when he made 32 starts, but Havens was gone after 1983. Carew went on to be an All-Star 6 times with the Angels and got his 3,000th hit against who else but the Twins in 1985. Also interesting to note is the Yankees were offering a package of prospects including Chris Chambliss and Dave Righetti.
- Wilson Ramos and Joe Testa to the Washington Nationals for Matt Capps. This is is a perfect example of a team trying to win now. The Twins were leading the AL Central but had lost All-Star closer Joe Nathan in spring training. They went with a bullpen by committee approach for most of the season before deciding to pick up Capps for the stretch run. Top prospect Wilson Ramos was deemed expendable due to the presence of Joe Mauer. Capps pitched well for the Twins down the stretch but the Twins fell to the Yankees in the first round of the playoffs. Capps was brutal in 2011 and injuired most of 2012 and is now trying to win a job with the Cleveland Indians. The loss of Wilson Ramos was greatly felt in 2011 as Joe Mauer had his worst statistical season as a pro and missed most of the year due to injury. Ramos played in 113 games in 2011 and missed most of last year due to injury but still projects to be the Nationals starting catcher for years to come.
- JJ Hardy, Brendan Harris and cash to the Orioles for Jim Hoey and Brett Jacobson. In the 2009 off-season, the Twins traded Carlos Gomez to Milwaukee for shortstop JJ Hardy. Most fans were hoping that Hardy would stick around and give the Twins some stability at shortstop. What they got was one injury plagued season from Hardy and then his trade to the Orioles. The Twins deemed Hardy expendable due to the signing of Tsyuoshi Nishioka, who gave the Twins more speed at the shortstop position. The Twins instead received one of the worst 2 year performances by a player in their entire history. Nishioka struggled mightily in his only regular season for the Twins in 2010, and received 12 at bats without a hit in 2011. He was released after the 2011 season and is no longer with the organization. Jim Hoey pitched for the Twins in 2011 and had a 5.47 ERA. Hoey was out of the Twins organization after that. Jacobson pitched in a few games for New Britain and is not in the Twins organization anymore. Hardy on the other hand has experienced a career revival with the Baltimore Orioles and got a 3 year contract extension after a 2010 season in which he hit 30 home runs. The Twins have not had a regular shortstop since.
So those are the worst trades in Minnesota Twins history from my perspective. Tune in for the worst trades from each Minnesota professional sports team. The Vikings are next.