Terry Ryan’s Trade Record Part I


Yesterday I speculated that we might see Terry Ryan make a trade or two this January.

The Tenth Inning Stretch put together a list of all of Ryan’s transactions (including trades, free agent signings, waived players, etc.) from his first stint as GM. You can check it out here.

I’ll narrow my focus to trades, and there are a lot of them. Starting with David McCarty, here are all of Ryan’s trades from 1995-1998, along with a little praise and/or constructive criticism on my part. Check back tomorrow for Part II of the list, which will tackle 1999 onward.

6/8/95: David McCarty to Reds for Jon Coutright

McCarty, the third overall pick in the 1991 draft, played for 8 more MLB seasons, but he never topped 300 PAs. The Twins didn’t lose much here, even though Coutright failed to keep his ERA under 6.00 at AA or AAA afterward.

VERDICT: Nothing lost, nothing gained.

7/6/95: Rick Aguilera to Red Sox for J.J. Johnson and Frankie Rodriguez

Aguilera wasn’t gone for long. He re-signed with the Twins in 1996, stayed for four more seasons, and saved 70 more games. Rodriguez notched a 5.20 ERA in 509.1 innings with the Twins. Johnson never made it to the Majors.

VERDICT: Not a very good return for a veteran closer.

7/31/95: Mark Guthrie and Kevin Tapani to the Dodgers for Chris Latham, Ron Coomer, Greg Hansell, and Jose Parra

Guthrie went on to have a long career as a journeyman reliever with the Dodgers, Cubs, Mets, Devil Rays, A’s, Red Sox, and Blue Jays. Tapani, arguably one of the Twins’ best starters ever, stayed in baseball for six more seasons. He won 19 games in 1998 despite a 4.85 ERA. Coomer became one of the most reliable players on the terrible Twins teams of the late 90’s, then he moved on to a career in broadcasting. Hansell had a 5.69 ERA in one season with the Twins as a reliever. Parra’s 6.04 ERA was even worse. Latham earned three cups of coffee in ’97-’99, but he left no lasting impression.

VERDICT: Not a very good return for two veteran pitchers.

12/17/96: Pat Mahomes to the Red Sox for Brian Looney

Mahomes went on to have one good year: 1999 with the Mets. Looney never made it back to the Majors with the Twins.

VERDICT: Not a big loss, but absolutely no return.

8/29/96: Dave Hollins to the Mariners for David Ortiz

Hollins hit .351 down the stretch, but Seattle fell short of the playoffs anyway. He had a decent year in 1997 with Anaheim. Ortiz became one of the greatest sluggers of his generation. Unfortunately, most of his accomplishments came after he left the Twins.

VERDICT: Great trade.

12/11/96: Matt Walbeck to the Tigers for Brent Stentz

Walbeck was a 90’s version of Drew Butera. He could catch, but his .233/.280/.315 line at the plate was pretty sad. Stentz had a 1.93 ERA in 46.2 AAA innings in 2000, but for some reason he never made got called up to the Twins – even though their 2000 squad could have used some bullpen help.

VERDICT: Nothing lost, nothing gained.

8/14/97: Greg Colbrunn to the Braves for Marc Lewis

Colbrunn was a first baseman without much power and a free agent after the ’97 season. Lewis hit .293/.328/.462 at AAA in 1998, but he regressed the next year and never made it to the Show.

VERDICT: Nothing lost, nothing gained.

8/20/97: Roberto Kelly to the Mariners for Joe Mays and Jeromy Palki

Unlike Hollins in 1996, Kelly helped put the M’s in the playoffs in 1997. But he was past his prime by then, and he never again reached 300 PAs in a season. Mays pitched for the Twins for several seasons, and his 2001 performance was good enough to earn him the #1 slot on my list of One-Hit Wonders. Palki hung on in the organization until 2004, but he never reached the Twins.

VERDICT: Very good trade.

8/30/97: Darrin Jackson to the Brewers for Mick Fieldbinder

Jackson was a veteran backup OF at the tail end of his career. Fieldbinder had more success with the St. Paul Saints than he ever did with the Twins organization.

VERDICT: Nothing lost, nothing gained.

9/5/97: Greg Myers to the Braves for Steve Hacker

It was well after the trade deadline, and no team was willing to part with much for three weeks of Greg Myers. The Braves parted with Hacker, who actually threatened to become a good prospect with a .295/.358/.551, 29 HR performance in the upper minors in 1999. For whatever reason, Hacker was unable to repeat the performance again, and he never reached the Majors.

VERDICT: Nothing lost, nothing gained. But this almost turned into a steal.

12/12/97: Rich Becker to the Mets for Alex Ochoa

Becker could get on base (career .358 OBP), but he never played regularly after leaving the Twins. Ochoa played just 94 games in Minnesota with a .257/.288/.353 line.

VERDICT: Not a very good return for a veteran outfielder.

2/6/98: Chuck Knoblauch to the Yankees for Brian Buchanan, Cristian Guzman, Eric Milton, and Danny Mota

Knoblauch was a very productive second baseman, but he was a jerk, and he was pulling down $6 million on a team with a $24 million payroll. Guzman and Milton became core players for the early-2000s revival. Buchanan didn’t do much with the Twins, but he was eventually traded for another very good player. Mota pitched five innings in 2000.

VERDICT: Great trade.

7/31/98 Orlando Merced and Greg Swindell to the Red Sox for Joe Thomas, John Barnes, and Matt Kinney

Merced was past his prime, and the Red Sox released him a month later. Swindell helped the Sox in the bullpen, then went on to win a World Series with Arizona in 2001. Kinney made 12 starts with the Twins in 2002 and had a 4.64 ERA. Barnes had a total of 64 MLB plate appearances, and Thomas never made it to AA.

VERDICT: Not a very good return for two veterans.

8/25/98: Mike Morgan to the Cubs for Scott Downs

The 38 year old Morgan was having a pretty good year for the Twins in 1998 with a 3.49 ERA. He never pitched near that level again. Downs has enjoyed a very succesful career as a relief pitcher. Last year he had a 1.34 ERA in 53.2 innings for the Angels.

VERDICT: Good trade. Too bad the Twins didn’t keep Downs.

11/16/98: Dan Naulty to the Yankees for Allen Butler

The Yankees didn’t get fleeced in this one like they did with the Knoblauch trade. Naulty gave them 49 competent innings in 1999. Butler never made it past Ft. Myers.

VERDICT: Not a good trade, but not a devastating one.

12/14/98: Alex Ochoa to the Brewers for Darrell Nicholas

After leaving the Twins, Ochoa went on to hit .307/.392/.522 in the next two seasons with Milwaukee and Cincinnati, albeit in part time duty. Nicholas was already almost 27 when he was traded – too old to be a legitimate prospect. He never reached the Majors.

VERRDICT: Not a good trade.