Minnesota Twins: Ranking the Top 10 Trades in Franchise History
By Otto Johnson
With the top Minnesota Twins trades of each decade all wrapped up, we put them all together and rank the top ten trades in franchise history.
After having looked at the Minnesota Twins top trades in each year stretching from the 1960s all the way up until the 2010s, with some decades (2000s) being better than others (1990s). To figure out which of these trades was the best, we used the same formula each time.
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. Again, this is just for the players involved in the specific trade, nothing after. Let’s find out which trade was the best, starting with our honorable mentions.
*The WAR numbers are for the team they joined next.*
Minnesota Twins Trade Honorable Mentions
The Trade: Minnesota Twins traded a player to be named later (P Rich Yett (1.4 WAR)), SS Jay Bell (-0.7 WAR), P Curt Wardle (-0.6 WAR), and OF Jim Weaver (none) to the Cleveland Indians for P Bert Blyleven (10.5 WAR).
Result: +10.4 WAR
Analysis: In 1985, with the Twins out of contention, the team made a deal to bring back a a player who will become a franchise favorite and try and build a contender after several years of disappointment. Back when Cleveland was in the AL East, the Twins convinced them to send them Blyleven for prospects.
Nearly 35 years after the deal, the winners and losers are clear to see. Jim Weaver and Curt Wardle turned into busts for Cleveland, and Rich Yett was just an okay pitcher. Meanwhile, Blyleven turned into a very good member of the Twins rotation and helped them win a World Series title.
The only negative here is losing Jay Bell, a shortstop who would turn into an All-Star once he left Cleveland. That being said, Blyleven helped bring a championship, and no one in their right mind would rather have Jay Bell over the first title (or any title) in team history.
The Trade: Minnesota Twins trade SS Roy Smalley (6.0 WAR) to the New York Yankees for P Paul Boris (0.2 WAR), P Ron Davis (0.1 WAR), and SS Greg Gagne (17.9 WAR).
Result: +12.2 WAR
Analysis: The Twins, in the midst of sixteen season playoff drought, decided to shake things up and trade their All-Star shortstop for an All-Star reliever and a couple of prospects. While the trade didn’t go as originally planned, it still ended up being a huge win.
Smalley was very good in New York, putting up a 6.0 WAR over three years. In addition, Boris didn’t do much in his one season in Minnesota, and while Davis was a decent closer in a couple of his Minnesota seasons, Gagne turned into the real prize.
Greg Gagne turned into a very reliable shortstop on two World Series championship teams and ranked thirty-second all-time in our list of the fifty greatest Twins. All it cost was three seasons of Smalley, making the Twins big winners here.