Minnesota Twins: Ranking the Top 10 Trades in Franchise History

Joe Nathan of the Minnesota Twins (Photo by Wayne Kryduba/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
Joe Nathan of the Minnesota Twins (Photo by Wayne Kryduba/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Twins
Nick Punto of the Minnesota Twins (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

No. 10: Minnesota Twins bring in a fan favorite.

The Trade: Minnesota Twins trade P Doug Corbett (1.6 WAR) and 2B Rob Wilfong (2.2 WAR) to the California Angels for OF Tom Brunansky (16.1 WAR), P Mike Walters (0.1 WAR), and $400,000.

Year: 1982

Result: +12.2 WAR

Analysis: Another trade from 1982 saw the Twins ship out an All-Star reliever (they got another one back in Davis) and a decent second baseman, bringing back an All-Star outfielder who would become a Minnesota fan favorite.

Corbett and Wilfong were solid players for the Angels, and despite Walters only playing 46 games in Minnesota, Brunansky made the trade an easy win for Minnesota. A key part of the Twins teams in the 80s, Brunansky was another key piece of the 1987 team before he was ripped away a year later.

No. 9: Minnesota Twins trade a disgruntled star

The Trade: Minnesota Twins Traded 2B Chuck Knoblauch (7.5 WAR) to the New York Yankees for OF Brian Buchanan (0.3 WAR),  SS Cristian Guzman (7.6 WAR), P Eric Milton (14.7 WAR), P Danny Mota (-0.1 WAR), and cash.

Year: 1998

Result: +15.0 WAR

Analysis: Before the 1998 season, the Twins were put in one of the most difficult spots a franchise can be placed in. Their star player, Chuck Knoblauch couldn’t take the losing any more and requested to be traded.

This meant that the Twins had to ship out their best player without a lot of leverage, but man did they do a bang up job. Granted, no one could have predicted Knoblauch would get the yips and fall apart in New York, but the Twins got a good haul regardless.

Cristian Guzman and Eric Milton turned into All-Stars and key players, and Buchanan was flipped shortly after. Because of this, the Twins made out like gangbusters in this deal, doubling the amount of WAR the Yankees received in the deal.

No. 8: Minnesota Twins send away The Frying Dutchman

The Trade: Minnesota Twins trade P Bert Blyleven (11.1 WAR) and INF Danny Thompson (-0.6 WAR) to the Texas Rangers for 3B Mike Cubbage (6.9 WAR), P Jim Gideon (none), P Bill Singer (0.4 WAR), and SS Roy Smalley (18.7 WAR) and $250,000.

Year: 1976

Result: +15.5 WAR

Analysis: The Twins acknowledged in 1976 that things weren’t working after six seasons mired in mediocrity. This led to the decision to begin to make some changes, starting with trading away the pitcher who had been a mainstay in the Twins rotation since 1970.

Trading away an excellent pitcher and future Hall of Famer hurt  the organization. It wasn’t an easy deal, but it was a huge move for the Twins that brought back a half season of a former All-Star (Singer), a starting caliber third baseman (Cubbage), and Roy Smalley.

Smalley became an All-Star and a key member of the Twins teams in the late 70s and early 80s, as well as a valuable reserve piece of the 1987 World Series team when he eventually came back in the mid-80s, helping make this deal a win.

No. 7: Minnesota Twins land another All-Star

The Trade: Minnesota Twins trade P Wayne Granger (-0.7 WAR) to the St. Louis Cardinals for P John Cumberland (0.0 WAR) and OF Larry Hisle (17.2 WAR).

Year: 1972

Result: +17.9 WAR

Analysis: The Twins made a trade sending out a decent closer in Granger that brought back a pitcher who would never play a game with the Twins and an outfielder who struggled so badly that he was sent back to the minors in 1972.

That outfielder turned his career around in Minnesota, becoming a very reliable player before earning an All-Star nomination in 1977. He moved on from the Twins that offseason, but not before establishing an excellent 17.2 WAR in a Twins uniform, giving the Twins a large margin of victory on this trade.

No. 6 Minnesota Twins add a couple of key contributors

The Trade: Minnesota Twins trade P Eric Milton (1.4 WAR) to the Philadelphia Phillies for a player to be named later (P Bobby Korecky (0.2)), 2B Nick Punto (10.3), and P Carlos Silva (9.0).

Year: 2003

Result: +18.1 WAR

Analysis: The most recent trade on this list, the Minnesota Twins decided to move Eric Milton for the maximum amount, knowing he was considering free agency at the end of the 2004 season. Though they didn’t bring any stars back, they still got a very good return.

Korecky only played one season for the Twins, but Silva and Punto turned into extremely valuable pieces for the team. Each player put up at least 9.0 WAR in a Twins uniform, while Milton left after one season, making the Twins even bigger winners in this deal.