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Notable memories of the recent Twins departures

Parting is such sweet sorrow (mostly)

a woman passenger looking at the flight departures information screens with signs in the English and Spanish languages in the TerminalC Photo by: Images Group via Getty Images

Now that the dust has settled on the 2021 MLB trade deadline, there will be much analysis about how the Minnesota Twins made out. Were the returns for Cruz & Berrios stout enough? Should they have pushed harder to unload Buxton & Donaldson? Why are Simmons & Pineda still here?! All great conversations and ripe for thoughts in either direction.

In this post, however, I want to provide a bit of a different perspective on the outgoing Twins. Instead of analyzing future prospects or competitive windows, I’d like to simply look back on their time—long or short as it may have been—in Minnesota and give my memories (sincere, humorous, or anything in between)...

Nelson Cruz

  • What I’ll Miss: His extraordinary leadership—both on an off the field—gained in such a short time here. Nellie was a favorite slugger of mine even before coming to Twins Territory, so I was thrilled at his arrival. My main concern: could he continue his elite power production? Well, all he did was have perhaps the two best statistical seasons of his career (‘19 and ‘20) and be understatedly solid even this year. I never thought a short-term veteran player could match the impact that Jim Thome made on this organization in ‘10 & ‘11, but Boomstick did so (and likely eclipsed it).
  • What I Won’t Miss: Literally nothing.
MLB: JUN 21 Twins at Royals
King Bomba. What a blast (heh heh) that ‘19 campaign was!
Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hansel Robles

  • What I’ll Miss: His hilariously overdramatic entrance music featuring the Undertaker theme and a white horse (his nickname is El Caballo Blanco, apparently).
  • What I Won’t Miss: His bouts of wildness that always seemed to put runners aboard in key late-game situations.

J.A. Happ

  • What I’ll Miss: Seeing him take a no-no into the 8th inning at Target Field early in the season, giving him a standing ovation, and thinking “hey, this was a pretty good addition to the starting staff”.
  • What I Won’t Miss: Basically everything after that. Short of Matt Shoemaker He Who Shall Not Be Named, Happ was essentially noncompetitive in so many other starts.

Jose Berrios

  • What I’ll Miss: Since 2017, when asked “who is your favorite Twin?”, my answer would alternate between Jorge Polanco & Berrios. He was the rare drafted & developed pitching success story of the Minnesota Twins in the post-2010 era. There were numerous times I planned my weekend ballpark outings around when he might toe the rubber.
  • What I Won’t Miss: Starts where he’d be cruising through 5-6 innings and then melt down and let the opposition put up a crooked number in a hurry. That more than anything may have been his greatest obstacle to becoming an A-1 ace.
Chicago White Sox v Minnesota Twins
Nothing better than a night game in the alternate red jerseys with La Makina on the hill
Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

The Twins have the Rays & Blue Jays on the Target Field docket later this season, so perhaps those series will give fans a chance to show appreciate for Cruz & Berrios one final time. No matter what “the haul” turns out to be, it always stings to lose fan-favorites that have provided great baseball memories through the years.