Minnesota Twins: Ranking the 10 Worst Trades in Franchise History
By Otto Johnson
No. 10: Minnesota Twins give up Teufel for nothing
The Trade: Minnesota Twins trade 1B Pat Crosby (minors) and 2B Tim Teufel (7.4 WAR) to the New York Mets for OF Billy Beane (-0.8 WAR), P Joe Klink (-0.3 WAR), and P Bill Latham (-0.3 WAR).
Result: -8.8 WAR
Analysis: Prior to the 1986 season, the Twins had finished fifth in their division and were looking to get the most out of their right-handed second baseman, who they thought would be replaceable due to Steve Lombardozzi and his mini 28 game breakout the year before.
In addition, the Twins wanted to start a better defender than Tuefel, so he was shipped off to the Mets for a couple of top prospects. This trade worked well for the Mets, as Teufel plugged a hole at second and the team won the World Series that year as the 1986 Miracle Mets.
The Twins were right about Lombardozzi, as he was good defender and helped the Twins win the World Series in 1987, but the players they received went on to be very unproductive. Latham and Klink combined for just 19 games in Minnesota while Beane was a huge disappointment in his 102 games.
No. 9: Minnesota Twins give up on a centerfielder early
The Trade: Minnesota Twins trade OF Aaron Hicks (9.1 WAR) to the New York Yankees for C John Ryan Murphy (-0.5 WAR).
Result: -9.6 WAR
Analysis: In 2015, the Minnesota Twins had several really solid young outfielders in Byron Buxton, Robbie Grossman, Max Kepler, Eddie Rosario, Miguel Sano (remember when the Twins tried to put him in right field?) and Aaron Hicks.
Because Byron Buxton was going to be the center fielder of the future, Rosario and Sano were corner outfielders, and Grossman and Kepler were depth guys, Hicks was the odd man out. The Twins thought it wise to trade him away for Murphy, the supposed Twins catcher of the future.
This trade has been a disaster that will continue to get worse, as Hicks has blossomed into a very good center fielder in New York, often killing the Twins at times (watch the video below), while Murphy flamed out immediately in Minnesota and now is in Pittsburgh. This one still hurts.
No. 8: Minnesota Twins get robbed by the Yankees
The Trade: Minnesota Twins trade P Roger Erickson (1.1 WAR) and C Butch Wynegar (10.7 WAR) to the New York Yankees for P Pete Filson (3.5 WAR), INF Larry Milbourne (-0.5 WAR), P John Pacella (-1.8 WAR) and cash.
Result: -10.6 WAR
Analysis: Another deal, another good plan, another batch of disappointment. The Twins traded Butch Wynegar because they had another couple of catchers in Tim Laudner and Dave Engle who they believed would become better (which in all fairness, they did make a couple All-Star teams).
That being said, the return for Wynegar was similar to the return for Tim Teufel: disappointing. Pacella and Milbourne both provided negative value, and while Filson was a decent reliever, his worth wasn’t half what Wynegar provided after his career bounced back in New York.
No. 7: Minnesota Twins lose an icon
The Trade: Minnesota Twins trade 2B Rod Carew (17.4 WAR) to the California Angels for C Dave Engle (3.9 WAR), P Paul Hartzell (0.4 WAR), P Brad Havens (0.3 WAR), and OF Ken Landreaux (1.8 WAR).
Result: -11.0 WAR
Analysis: After alienating the Twins top player of the 1970s, the team was forced to find a way to trade Rod Carew. Because of this, the Twins were put in a hard spot with almost no leverage, and that led to them losing a Hall of Famer for virtually nothing.
To be fair, Dave Engle was a solid player, and Hartzell, Havens, and Landreaux all provided positive wins above replacement, meaning the Twins got four positive players. Unfortunately, no player involved was worth even a quarter of Rod Carew.
Carew put together a 17.4 WAR and made six All-Star teams with the Angels, making the Twins look even worse for alienating Carew. Alas, this trade was nothing compared to the other gaffes coming on this list.
No. 6: Minnesota Twins give up on a center fielder early….again
The Trade: Minnesota Twins trade OF Carlos Gomez (12.9 WAR) to the Milwaukee Brewers for SS J.J. Hardy (1.3 WAR).
Result: -11.6 WAR
Analysis: After just three years of watching Carlos Gomez disappoint as the centerpiece of the Twins’ trade of Johan Santana (we’ll get to that one later), the team shipped him off to the Brewers for shortstop J.J. Hardy.
Hardy was a former All-Star just a year removed from a 24 homer season, and the Twins thought they were getting a good deal. Instead, Gomez turned into a two-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner who received MVP votes.
This trade would stand out as a good deal had the team held on to Hardy, but the Twins moved him to the Orioles where he would become an All-Star again (we’ll talk more about that deal later too). Overall, the Twins lost BIG in this deal.