July 30, 2007
Minnesota Twins trade Luis Castillo to the New York Mets for Dustin Martin and Drew Butera
At the time of this trade, the Twins were in a frustrating third place. In spite of having plenty of talent the team wasn't meeting expectations (sound familiar?) and so, in a bit of a surprise maneuver, Terry Ryan "sold" at the deadline by dealing their leadoff hitter. Players were upset, the fanbase was confused, but ultimately Ryan thought that these two players were better than any compensation they might get from Castillo in free agency if they received any at all. He wasn't a part of the team's future.
After the trade, the Twins still weren't able to shake off the gallows of third place and finished the season with a sub-.500 record for the first time since 2000. Castillo's replacements (Alexi Casilla, Nick Punto and Luis Rodriguez) were all terrible, each finishing with a sub-.600 OPS.
Meanwhile, Castillo hit .296 with a .371 on-base percentage the rest of the season. After which the Mets signed him to one of the stupidest contracts in recent memory, which still doesn't expire until after next season...when Castillo will be 36.
Butera we're already familiar with, and was hailed as a defense-first catcher from the start. Martin was an uninspiring outfielder, but he's become a respectable piece and is now batting .259/.335/.425 as a 26-year old in Rochester.
Here's part of what I had to say at the time:
I've never really been of a "ONE-OF-US, ONE-OF-US" kind of mentality, but it's still hard to part with a guy who played like Castillo. He didn't have any power but he did have his attributes, and he definitely wanted to stay with the Twins. You know how when you break up with a girl and you think you'll be cool with it, and then she starts to cry and suddenly there's a chink in your armor?
"The hardest part for me is I think this team is still fighting -- we're still in the race," Castillo said. "I've seen this team come back 10 games before, and now we're 6 1/2 games. I think this team can turn around; we can get better. It was a surprise. I've been waiting for him to make a decision, and he made it."
Dammit, Luis. YOU MADE ME LOVE YOU.
August 15, 2007
Minnesota Twins trade Ramon Ortiz to the Colorado Rockies for Matt Macri
This merited such a lack of attention that I didn't write anything about it at the time. Ortiz had started the season hot for the Twins, finishing April with a 3-1 record in five starts, accompanying a 2.57 ERA in 35 innings. Over his next five starts he was 0-3 with a 10.97 ERA in 21.1 innings. He was then removed from the rotation to the bullpen, logging 34.2 innings in 18 appearances while still not being effective.
I remember waiting and hoping for him to be dealt. It was almost as if the Twins were keeping him on the roster not just for mop-up duty, but to hang onto any shred of trade value that he might have. The waiting game paid off (it's all relative) in the form of Macri.
At the time Macri was a 25-year old minor league infielder, who hadn't seen much time above double-A. Once at triple-A he initially struggled, unable to keep up with some decent numbers that he'd been able to post in lower levels. While he made an impressive stint in 18 games with the Twins in 2008, batting .324/.361/.441 in 36 plate appearances, he's still in Rochester now. This year he's hitting .273/.336/.429.
August 25, 2008
Minnesota Twins trade Mark Hamburger to the Texas Rangers for Eddie Guardado
The talks had gone on for a while, and even after they put a claim on him in August they didn't think the Rangers would budge. But it happened as the Rangers fell further out of contention in the West.
After a terrible year with the Reds, Guardado had experienced a bit of a renaissance with Texas. He had a solid ERA and kept the ball in the yard. Upon his move back to Minnesota, the reunion wasn't quite as sweet as a nervous fanbase had hoped. Looking for some stability is what brought Everyday Eddie back into the fold, but in spite of a better walk-to-strikeout ratio than he'd posted with the Rangers he just couldn't keep baserunners from scoring.
Guardado went back to the Rangers at age 38 to finish his career last season. He retired with some enduring numbers in Minnesota: 648 games, 704.2 innings, 116 saves. His peak was '01 to '03, when he recorded 98 of those saves while posting a 3.11 ERA.
Hamburger was a St. Paul native, who was 21 and floating around the rookie leagues. He's now in his age-23 season in high-A ball for the Rangers. He's still striking people out.
July 31, 2009
Minnesota Twins trade Tyler Ladendorf to the Oakland Athletics for Orlando Cabrera
Remember when Billy Beane thought he was going to get Danny Valencia for O-Cab? Man, that was hilarious.
Cabrera immediately energized the entire team, starting hot and coming up with big hits in big spots. He continued this trend to the end of the season, posting positive WPA numbers and hitting a very respectable .289/.313/.430. It was even more respectable considering who the Twins had been playing at shortstop previously. He forged a bond with guys like Carlos Gomez and Alexi Casilla as well, and he became a clubhouse mascot and leader almost overnight. I can't say enough good things about him...we just got him at the wrong end of his career.
His numbers have fallen off a cliff this season with the Reds, as in 90 games he's batting just .249/.291/.334. But in 59 games with the Twins he was a legend, and the team was 35-26 after his arrival. Watching replays of his home run in game 163 still gives me shivers.
Ladendorf was a poor-hitting infielder. He's appeared in four games this season for Oakland's triple-A affiliate, but has spent most of his time in high-A ball at age 22.
August 7, 2009
Minnesota Twins trade Yohan Pino to the Cleveland Indians for Carl Pavano
This was Twinkie Town's initial reaction. A lot of people believed Bill Smith gave up too much for Pavano. Obviously, those people now know they were wrong. The Twins rotation was careening and needed some stability, and Pavano provided that. He dominated the Tigers and, even if he wasn't an ace, he made the rotation better.
Plus, we now know how important he's been to the Twins this season. But what about Pino?
Pino had always been a decent strikeout pitcher who controlled the number of baserunners he allowed. To be fair he was extraordinarily effective at triple-A last season for both Rochester and the Cleveland affiliate. This season, though, hasn't been so kind. At 26 Pino's upside is limited, and his numbers don't match those of Anthony Slama (for comparitive purposes). In 18 starts for Columbus he's 8-5, but also has a 5.54 ERA and has the highest walk rates of his career. The strikeouts aren't quite as impressive, either.
August 28, 2009
Minnesota Twins trade Kevin Mulvey to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Jon Rauch
The third and final deadline trade for the Twins last season came in the form of a man who looked like he'd rather shank you than look at you. But turns out, he's a nice guy. And he's also a work horse and a good middle reliever.
Unlike Guardado the season before, Rauch came in and immediately bolstered the bullpen. He managed 17 games between the end of August and the end of the regular season, striking out 14 in 15.2 innings with an impressive 1.72 ERA. Just like Cabrera and Pavano, the presence he provided to this team was just as important as the numbers he provided.
Mulvey was the second piece of the Johan Santana booty to leave the organization (the first being Philip Humber, who was removed from the 40-man to make room for Rauch). He made two appearances with the Twins and six with Arizona before the end of the season, and has made two more appearances this year. The numbers at the Major League level aren't impressive, but his minor league peripherals imply that he can be of value to somebody's bullpen if not the back end of a rotation, even if only on a part-time basis.