When the Rangers signed Joe Nathan last week, I took the easy route when discussing the future of the closer role in Minnesota. I just went through the free agent list and talked about how likely it might be for Minnesota to sign any of them. That was just an introduction to the conversation.
Because let's be honest: how likely is it that the Twins sign a big name closer? It's not likely at all. For any number of reasons, not the least of which being that the one proven, high-upside closer went to Kansas City as a setup man. We all know, though, that paying for a proven closer isn't the best use of anyone's resources - much less a team like the Twins which has many holes to fill. Not only that, but club history is against it. Can you remember who the last free agent closer for Minnesota was?
Joe Nathan (2004-2009, 2011): Trade
Matt Capps (2010-2011): Trade
Jon Rauch (2009-2010): Trade
Eddie Guardado (2001-2003): Draft
LaTroy Hawkins (2000-2001): Draft
Mike Trombley (1999): Draft
Rick Aguilera (1997-1999): Free Agent
Aguilera, who the Twins traded for at the 1989 trade deadline, was dealt in July of 1995 before his 10-and-5 rights kicked in. They re-signed him in December of that season, but used him as a starter in '96 before sending him back to the closer's role.
When I asked this question on Twitter and Facebook last night, a lot of you had the answer pretty quickly. But here's one that will really make you dig deep: who was the last free agent closer for the Twins before Aguilera?