Minnesota Twins: Ranking the 2010s Top Trades in each Year
By Otto Johnson
We finish taking a look at the Minnesota Twins top trades with the 2010s, a decade full of ups and downs.
With the Minnesota Twins top trades for the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s all wrapped up, we complete our look at top trades of each season with the 2010s, a decade that started and finished well, but had lots of bad in between.
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, we’ll finish off these rankings.
2010 Minnesota Twins
The Trade: Minnesota Twins trade a player to be named later (P Loek van Mil (minors)) to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for P Brian Fuentes.
The Twins made two really bad trades in 2010, shipping of Wilson Ramos for Matt Capps and J.J. Hardy for two disappointing pitchers (Capps turned out to be decent, but wasn’t worth Ramos). The only positive deal they made was for reliever Brian Fuentes.
Fuentes was a four time All-Star and was brought in to a team that desperately needed relief help. Fuentes came in and pitched nine and two-thirds shutout innings before adding two and two thirds shutout innings in the playoffs.
All it took to get the deal done was a prospect who would never make the majors. It may not seem like much, but when you compare it to the other two disastrous trades, this one seems like a real win for the Twins.
Result: +0.6 WAR after the trade, added a decent reliever down the stretch.
2011 Minnesota Twins
The Trade: Minnesota Twins trade OF Delmon Young to the Detroit Tigers for a player to be named later (P Lester Oliveros) and P Cole Nelson (minors).
In 2011, the Twins went from 94 wins to 63 wins, and the incredibly disappointing season led to changes being made (including the firing of General Manager Bill Ryan) and multiple key 2000s pieces leaving the franchise (Looking at you Matt Guerrier, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, and Joe Nathan).
The Twins also made two trades, sending out Delmon Young and Kevin Slowey. Both trades brought back players that didn’t make an impact on the Major League Roster, but Young somehow finished with a -0.6 WAR in Detroit, making the Twins winners on a technicality. So this is a win?
Result: +0.6 WAR after the trade.
2012 Minnesota Twins
The Trade: Minnesota Twins trade P Francisco Liriano to the Chicago White Sox for INF Eduardo Escobar and P Pedro Hernandez.
In 2012, the Twins decided to blow up the roster sending out Fransisco Liriano, Denard Span, and Ben Revere for mostly prospects. The Span deal resulted in a big bust. The Ben Revere trade brought back Trevor May, but he never became the elite starter he was supposed to be.
The Liriano trade on the other hand brought in Eduardo Escobar, who became a fan favorite and productive infielder over the dark period when the Twins were losing 90 games every season and brought it a 5.9 WAR.
Result: +5.9 WAR after the trade, added a fan favorite.
2013 Minnesota Twins
The Trade: Minnesota Twins trade P Duke Welker to the Pittsburgh Pirates for P Kris Johnson.
In 2013 , the Twins didn’t have a lot of tradable assets, so the team resorted to minor moves, like this one. Welker never played a game in Minnesota, while Johnson pitched in three, making him a slightly better return and putting the Twins on top.
Result: +0.3 WAR after the trade.
2014 Minnesota Twins
The Trade: Minnesota Twins trade P Miguel Sulbaran (minors) to the New York Yankees for INF Eduardo Nunez.
In 2014, the Twins continued to dump talented veterans to get younger, moving guys like Josh Willingham and Kendrys Morales. The one move that went well, was sending a minor league pitcher to the Yankees for Eduardo Nunez.
Nunez spent three seasons in Minnesota and became an All-Star before being shipped off to San Fransisco. Nunez brought in an extra 1.9 WAR at the cost of a pitch who never would make the majors, making this a win.
Result: +1.9 WAR after the trade, added an All-Star infielder.
2015 Minnesota Twins
The Trade: Minnesota Twins trade P Alexis Tapia (minors) and P Chih-Wei Hu to the Tampa Bay Rays for P Kevin Jepsen.
In 2015, the Twins put together their best season in five years as the team tried to push for the playoffs. Though they were unsuccessful, there was some optimism for the first time in a while. This move reflects that optimism.
The trade for Kevin Jepsen sent out two prospects that haven’t amounted to much, and the only other trade of importance in 2015 was the Aaron Hicks trade (yikes.) Similar to 2013, this trade is the best by not being the worst.
Result: -0.1 WAR after the trade.
2016 Minnesota Twins
The Trade: Minnesota Twins trade INF Eduardo Nunez to the San Francisco Giants for P Adalberto Mejia.
The hits keep on coming. In 2016, the Twins made several trades just to get rid of players (Hi Ricky Nolasco!) en route to a 103-loss season. The Twins’ only good trade was swapping Nunez for a pitching prospect in Mejia who was actually pretty decent.
Mejia was a decent starter for the Twins, striking out 113 batters in 138 innings, no small feat. Because of this trade ending up even in terms of WAR, the Twins come out on top
Result: +0.0 WAR after the trade.
2017 Minnesota Twins
The Trade: Minnesota Twins trade P Jaime Garcia to the New York Yankees for P Dietrich Enns and P Zack Littell.
Jaime Garcia played in all of one game in Minnesota before the team felt it was falling out of contention, so Garcia was traded away less than a week after he was originally traded. Remember how wild 2017 was?
Garcia struggled with the Yankees for the rest of the season, while the Twins got a key piece of their 2019 division-winning bullpen. In a decade where the Twins couldn’t find good deals anywhere, Falvey and Levine found a solid, under the radar move.
Result: +0.5 WAR after the trade, very good reliever added.
2018 Minnesota Twins
The Trade: Minnesota Twins trade INF Jermaine Palacios (minors) to the Tampa Bay Rays for P Jake Odorizzi.
We’ve officially reached the best trade of the decade. The Twins’ move to trade for Jake Odorizzi has worked out incredibly well, as Odorizzi has been an All-Star and a rock of the Twins rotation over the past two seasons.
All it took was an infield prospect who has struggled mightily ever since he left the Twins system, while Odorizzi has blossomed. This is one of only two trades that has resulted in WAR better 4.5 in the entire decade, making it a great deal.
Result: +4.7 WAR, added an All-Star starter.
2019 Minnesota Twins
The Trade: Minnesota Twins trade 3B Lewin Diaz (minors) to the Miami Marlins for P Chris Vallimont (minors) and P Sergio Romo.
After just one year, it’s easy to tell the best trade the Twins made in 2019. Bringing in Sergio Romo brought the team together and helped lead them to their first 100 win season in over 50 years. And while Lewin Diaz may turn into a good major leaguer, the Twins will be big winners here until he does.
Result: +0.4 WAR after the trade, added a clubhouse leader.
Top 5 Minnesota Twins Trades of the Decade
- Minnesota Twins trade P Francisco Liriano to the Chicago White Sox for INF Eduardo Escobar and P Pedro Hernandez. Moving Liriano to a contender brought back a lovable piece in Escobar, who became a fan favorite and played really good baseball for the Twins.
- Minnesota Twins trade INF Jermaine Palacios (minors) to the Tampa Bay Rays for P Jake Odorizzi. The Twins turned a prospect into an All-Star starter and rock of the Twins rotation. That’s a pretty good deal.
- Minnesota Twins trade P Miguel Sulbaran (minors) to the New York Yankees for INF Eduardo Nunez. The Twins stole a valuable infielder from the Yankees for an okay prospect, then turned that infielder into an All-Star. Not a bad deal.
- Minnesota Twins trade a player to be named later (P Loek van Mil (minors)) to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for P Brian Fuentes. The Twins give up a prospect who wouldn’t make the majors for a good relief arm down the stretch. That’s an absolute win in a bad decade for trades.
- Minnesota Twins trade P Jaime Garcia to the New York Yankees for P Dietrich Enns and P Zack Littell. Giving up a pitcher they had just acquired brought back a really solid reliever in Littell. This trade could move up the list if Littell keeps performing.