We continue taking a look at the Minnesota Twins top trades moving into 2000s, the Twins’ winningest decade.
After already having taken a look at the franchise’s top trades in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, we move forward into the 2000s. With a tough decade in the rearview mirror, the Minnesota Twins started off the 2000s with a dud in 2000. After that, the team putting together their first 80 win season since 1992 and the franchise turned around.
For a trade to make this list, the Twins need to come out ahead in terms of WAR. Once we’ve gone over the top deal for every year, we will rank them to find out the top trade the Twins ever made. With that in mind, let’s get these rankings started.
2000 Minnesota Twins
The Trade: Minnesota Twins trade P Hector Carrasco to the Boston Red Sox for OF Lew Ford.
In the year 2000, the Twins were still trying to put together a contender. Unfortunately, they were struggling to bring in talent, making small trades and missing on draft picks. That changed with the trade for Johan Santana in 1999.
In 2000, the Twins swung a similar trade, sending a below-average reliever to the Boston Red Sox for an outfield prospect named Lew Ford. Ford never was an All-Star for the Twins, but he was a reliable outfielder who produced an 8.3 WAR over five seasons.
Result: +8.4 WAR after the trade, added a good outfielder.
2001 Minnesota Twins
A rare one for one trade, the Twins were back in the playoff hunt for the first time since the early 1990s, and they needed some pitching help. Luckily, they had multiple really talent outfielders and not enough playing time for them.
Thus, the Twins traded Lawton away after he put on 14 pounds and struggled a bit. Lawton didn’t last long in New York before being shipped away again. Rick Reed, on the other hand, helped the Twins win the Division in 2002 and put up a 3.6 WAR over his three seasons in Minnesota.
Result: +3.3 WAR after the trade, added a reliable starter.
2002 Minnesota Twins
In the midst of a successful 2002 season, the Twins decided to clear out the outfield logjam again, this time sending out former first round pick Brian Buchanan and bringing in a 22-year-old shortstop product from the Padres.
Buchanan was decent in his time over the next three years before his career ended, but Bartlett turned into the Twins’ primary shortstop and eventually was flipped in a trade to the Rays that we’ll talk about later. This deal offered the Twins an excellent 8.7 WAR bonus, making it the best move of the season.
Result: +8.7 WAR after the trade, added a very good shortstop.
2003 Minnesota Twins
Arguably the most infamous trade in Minnesota Twins history, this deal occurred during an excellent year for Twins trades. The Twins sent out Pierzynski, Eric Milton, and Bobby Kielty, and got back Shannon Stewart, Nick Punto, Bobby Korecky, Carlos Silva, Bonser, Liriano, and Nathan, resulting in a +51.5 WAR boost (roughly the value of Kirby Puckett).
This trade specifically payed the biggest dividends, bringing in two top prospect in Bonser and Liriano, and failed starter in Nathan. Bonser ended up disappointing, but Liriano became an All-Star and Nathan has become one of the best closers of all time.
At the same time, Pierzynski clashed with coaches in San Fransisco, resulting in being released the following offseason. That helped the Twins come out with a whopping 27.1 WAR advantage and a addition to the core to lead the team going forward.
Result: +27.1 WAR after the trade, added two key pieces to a division competitor.
2004 Minnesota Twins
After an incredible year of trades in 2003, the Twins stepped back and only made two trades, jettisoning top 5 pick and draft bust B.J. Garbe, as well as Doug Mientkiewicz. Neither trade brought back very much, but the Garbe trade brought back 19 games of a former World Series MVP, making it the only choice.
Result: +0.2 WAR after the trade.
2005 Minnesota Twins
Similar to 2004, the Twins only made two trades, shipping out Scott Tyler and Travis Bowyer for Luis Castillo and moving Romero for Casilla. Both trades resulted in positive swings for the Twins but this one came out with a bigger one.
Casilla put up a decent 3.6 WAR in Minnesota as a reliable reserve infielder for the Twins, while Romero imploded to the tune of a -1.0 WAR with the Angels, helping the Twins come out as big winners of such a small trade.
Result: +4.6 WAR after the trade, added a reliable bench infielder.
2006 Minnesota Twins
In 2006, the Twins won 96 games and put together their best regular season since 1970. Because the team was so well put together, they didn’t want to rock the boat too much. Unfortunately, that meant making bad trades (including trading Kyle Lohse).
The only decent trade the Twins made was sending Harben to the Cubs for former All-Star Phil Nevin. Nevin only played 16 games for the Twins, but the trade didn’t have as negative of an impact as the other ones, so it wins by default.
Result: -0.1 WAR after the trade.
2007 Minnesota Twins
After dropping from 96 wins to 79 wins, the trades shook up from the front office and roster. This meant trading away talent. After the 2007 season, Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett, and Johan Santana were traded away, with not very much in return.
This means that the Twins trading of Levale Speigner for Darnell McDonald makes the list. McDonald was bad, but Speigner was way worse. Meaning the Twins came out ahead here.
Result: +1.5 WAR
2008 Minnesota Twins
Despite the team bouncing back into contention, the Twins only made two trades in 2008. The first trade sent away Johan Santana for Carlos Gomez and nothing, and the second trade was this one.
This trade unfortunately wasn’t a great one either, as Guardado was nice to have back as he was a fan favorite, but in seven innings he allowed a stunning six runs, so the trade, similar to the Santana move was disappointing.
Result: -0.2 WAR after the trade.
2009 Minnesota Twins
In 2009, the Twins had one of their most exciting division chases in recent memory, ending with the excellent game 163 at the end of the year. That doesn’t happen without excellent trades to acquire players like Pavano, Orlando Cabrera, and Jon Rauch.
The Pavano trade was especially a good one, as the intimidating righty won 33 games with the Twins and all it cost Minnesota was a young pitcher who never would play with Cleveland. We’ll chalk that up as a win.
Result: +5.8 WAR after the trade, added a very good starter.
Top 5 Minnesota Twins Trades of the Decade
- Minnesota Twins trade C A.J. Pierzynski and cash to the San Francisco Giants for P Boof Bonser, P Francisco Liriano, and P Joe Nathan. Giving up a season of Pierzynski for an all-time great closer is an incredible deal. Add on an All-Star and you have a huge win for the Twins.
- Minnesota Twins trade P Eric Milton to the Philadelphia Phillies for a player to be named later (P Bobby Korecky), 2B Nick Punto, and P Carlos Silva. The second best trade of the decade also took place in 2003, as the Twins added two valuable players in Punto and Silva for Milton, who was coming off an injury. It boosted the Twins WAR by 19.5 wins.
- Minnesota Twins trade OF Brian Buchanan to the San Diego Padres for SS Jason Bartlett. In this deal, the Twins gave up a young outfielder for a young shortstop. The outfielder fizzled in San Diego, while Bartlett became a stud in Minnesota.
- Minnesota Twins trade P Hector Carrasco to the Boston Red Sox for OF Lew Ford. Another very underrated deal, the Twins added a reliable outfielder for a pitcher who was struggling and who continued to do so after leaving the Twins.
- Minnesota Twins trade a player to be named later (P Yohan Pino) to the Cleveland Indians for P Carl Pavano. The Twins got a pitcher who would win 17 games for them in 2010, and it all took to get him was a long shot pitcher who didn’t pan out. Good trade.