Building an all-time Twins lineup with players who were never teammates
By Otto Johnson
The cold January air is here, and the Minnesota Twins offseason seems frozen too, as the team continues to wait rather than be active in free agency. With that inaction, it’s good to look back and reminisce on some of the best players we’ve seen in Minnesota Twins uniforms.
We broken down some of the best players in Franchise History, and while that may be something we revisit in 2023, we’re taking a different approach here, picking an All-Time great team of Twins with the one catch being that none of them can have played together.
Building an all-time team of Minnesota Twins players that never played together.
This proved to be a major challenge, as a lot of the Twins’ best players played with each other. Most of the greatest Minnesota Twins of all-time (Kirby Puckett, Harmon Killebrew, Tony Oliva, and Joe Mauer) don’t make appearances because they just played with too many players to make things work.
There are some very interesting choices on this list, but regardless, we made it work and fit in a lineup full of many different options from many different years. With some interesting players to break down, let’s get going.
SP Camilo Pascual (1954-1966)
First off, we start with Camilo Pascual, the five-time All-Star who came over with the Washington Senators. He’s one of the best starting pitchers in team history, and fits perfectly considering he was traded right before the arrival of the next player on our list. On top of this, players like Bert Blyleven, Johan Santana, Frank Viola, and Jim Kaat’s careers overlapped with too many others.
1B Rod Carew (1967-1978)
Though Rod Carew played primarily second while he was here, he spent most of his career at first, so he fits well. On top of this, it was important for one of the Twins’ best players of all-time to be here, and with Carew only playing with elite pitchers and Tony Oliva, he fit well next to Pascual. It’s pretty great to have one of the best hitters in history in this lineup too.
3B John Castino (1979-1984)
Next on the list is John Castino, the 1979 Rookie of the Year who slashed .278/.329/.398 over his career in Minnesota. Though his career was cut short by injury, Castino still was a bright spot during a period when the Twins were terrible, and he beats out players like Killebrew, Gary Gaetti, and Corey Koskie because of when his tenure was placed.
C Mark Salas (1985-1987)
Catcher was one of the toughest positions to land, because Joe Mauer, Earl Battey, Butch Wynegar, Brian Harper, Mitch Garver, and A.J. Pierzynski’s careers seemed to overlap with everyone. On the bright side, Salas slashed .279/.320/.440 and finished in the Top 10 of Rookie of the Year voting, so he’s definitely a solid choice.
RP German Gonzalez (1988-1989)
The worst player in this lineup, relief pitcher was the toughest position. Rick Aguilera, Jeff Reardon, Glen Perkins, Joe Nathan, and others all had careers that lasted far too long. Gonzalez’s career coincided with the gap I had to work with, so here he is!
OF Shane Mack (1990-1994)
Next on the list is Shane Mack, the most underrated player on this list and a key player in the Minnesota Twins’ 1991 World Series title. Mack slashed .309/.375/.479 with 67 homers, 315 RBI, and 71 stolen bases over a few year span. He never got the respect that he deserves, but he’s starting to earn a little bit more now.
OF Matt Lawton (1995-7/29/2001)
Matt Lawton falls into the same category as Mack, as he was an extremely underrated player in his time here, slashing .277/.379/.428. His stat line would be stellar in today’s day and age, but when the team was struggling, it overshadowed his skills until he was traded to New York in 2001.
OF Michael Cuddyer (9/23/2001-2011)
About two months after Lawton was dealt, the Twins called up Michael Cuddyer, and Cuddy became one of the most beloved players of the 2000s. In addition, his impressive bat helped make him one of the key players on several division winners.
2B Brian Dozier (2012-2018)
After Cuddyer was traded, Brian Dozier came up the following year and, coupled with the end of Mauer’s career, served as one of the only memorable and bright spots of that time period. His incredible power and defense were impressive, even if the team didn’t surround him with more talent.
DH Nelson Cruz (2019-2021)
Next up we have Nelson Cruz, who even though his tenure in Minnesota just ended, it was extremely memorable and worth adding on. His power and leadership were fantastic, and his time on the Bomba Squad was quite memorable.
SS Carlos Correa (2022)
The last player on the list was a very easy choice. Correa was only in Minnesota one season, so he doesn’t have any other teammates on his list. In addition, he’s arguably the most talented shortstop to ever play in Minnesota, so despite the end of his tenure here, he’s a great inclusion.