No. 5: Minnesota Twins trade away a Cy Young winner for almost nothing
Result: -13.0 WAR
Analysis: After an excellent eight years with the Twins, Johan Santana was looking for a massive contract extension, and rightfully so. Unfortunately, the Twins didn’t want to meet that number, and Santana’s representatives asked that he be traded by the following Tuesday.
Put in a tough spot, the Twins traded Santana for four of the New York Mets top prospects. The problem was that Guerra, Humber, and Mulvey only played a total of 15 games while Gomez didn’t blossom until he was out of Minnesota.
The only reason this trade falls to fifth is because Santana only was able to put together three strong seasons and a 15.3 WAR before injuries derailed a hall of fame career, saving the Twins from a massive deficit.
No. 4: Minnesota Twins trade away a champion
Result: -14.7 WAR
Analysis: In 1995, the Twins believed that they had gotten the best they could out of Scott Erickson and it was his time to move on. The former rotation leader in 1991 was in the middle of putting up his third straight season with an ERA over 5.00 when he was sent to Baltimore.
In return, the Twins got back two prospects who only played in 28 games in Minnesota. That wouldn’t have been so bad if Erickson hadn’t found his form again in Baltimore and pitched in 200 games over seven more seasons, winning at least 13 games four times.
No. 3: Minnesota Twins trade away a future All-Star.
The Trade: Minnesota Twins trade P Dean Chance (1.0 WAR), P Bob Miller (0.2), 3B Graig Nettles (17.5) and OF Ted Uhlaender (0.4) to the Cleveland Indians for P Luis Tiant (1.2) and P Stan Williams (2.3).
Result: -15.6 WAR
Analysis: This trade was a big shake-up for the Twins and brought back up two pretty decent players in Luis Tiant and Stan Williams, both of whom helped the team on their run to the 1970 American League West title.
Unfortunately, the problem here is what they gave up, as Chance Uhlaender, and Miller all had some positives left. The real gem though was Nettles. Nettles would turn into a six-time All-Star in New York, but before that he put up incredible numbers in Cleveland (his 17.5 WAR over three years was better than Anthony Rendon‘s mark from 2018-2020).
No. 2: Minnesota Twins finish out the Santana trade
Result: -16.5 WAR
Analysis: In 2010, the Twins traded away J.J. Hardy a year after acquiring him for Go-Go Gomez, bringing back two relievers. They made this move to clear room for Tsuyoshi Nishioka, one of the worst signings in team history and the Twins payed for it dearly.
Nishioka flamed out and was gone two years later, while Hardy one three Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger, and made an All-Star team in Baltimore, making this trade hurt worse. As for the two pitchers the Twins got in return? One never made the majors and the other was out of the league by the end of the next season. Uff da!
No. 1: Minnesota Twins trade for a No. 1 Pick
The Trade: Minnesota Twins trade P Eddie Morlan (minors), SS Jason Bartlett (10.4 WAR), and P Matt Garza (8.5 WAR) to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for INF Brendan Harris (-0.6 WAR), OF Jason Pridie (-0.2 WAR), and OF Delmon Young. (1.0 WAR)
Result: -19.7 WAR
Analysis: You knew this trade was coming at some point. With the Twins trying to move towards contending in the future, they traded two solid pieces for three very good prospects, including former No. 1 pick Delmon Young.
In Tampa Bay, Bartlett became an All-Star, Garza won ALCS MVP, and the Rays made a World Series in 2008. Meanwhile, Harris and Pridie weren’t worth anything and Young disappointed as the trade centerpiece, despite having a couple decent seasons. All this adds up to being the worst trade in Twins history.