We are approaching the 10th anniversary of the trade that won a second straight American League Central title for the Twins. On July 16, 2003, general manager Terry Ryan acquired veteran outfielder Shannon Stewart from Toronto for outfielder Bobby Kielty.
There was much complaining about this among Twins fans, for they felt as if Kielty had a chance to be a star. That didn't happen. Meantime, Stewart brought the Twins out of the doldrums by batting .322, scoring 43 runs and driving in 38 over 65 games after the All-Star Game.
Stewart had injury problems but also two more good seasons for the Twins before fading away in 2006. That trade was a large victory for Ryan and the Twins.
I was contemplating trades and their results during this series between the Twins and Philadelphia. It's way early, but when this series started, the big trade of last December -- center fielder Ben Revere for pitchers Vance Worley and Trevor May -- looked like a loser for both teams.
Prior to Thursday night's game, a Phillies beat writer told me: "Revere isn't too well-liked [as a player] by the Philly fans.''
Revere then went out and had four hits to allow the Phillies to salvage the third game, 3-2. Ben also had eight hits in the series, indicating that he might be on the climb to .290-plus, an area where he belongs.
Here in Minnesota, the expectation was that Worley would be a viable starter this season, and that May would arrive before the end of the season. Worley was pounded for the Twins, and now he's getting pounded in the International League with Rochester. May, 23, is 5-3 with a 3.95 ERA at Class AA New Britain.
We'll call that trade sadly even for the moment, and the same with last winter's larger trade: center fielder Denard Span to Washington for pitcher Alex Meyer. He's also 23 and 3-3 with a 3.69 ERA at New Britain. This is only Meyer's second professional season and there remains hope that the 6-foot-9 starter will be a top-line starter.
There are 16 other trades of some significance that the Twins have made over the past decade. Here's the way I rate them:
7-16-03: Acquired Stewart and LHP Dave Gassner for Kielty.
11-14-03:Acquired RHPs Joe Nathan, Boof Bonser and LHP Francisco Liriano from Giants for C A.J. Pierzynski.
12-3-03: Acquired RHPs Carlos Silva and Bobby Korecky and IF Nick Punto from Phillies for LHP Eric Milton.
12-2-05: Acquired 2B Luis Castillo from Marlins for RHPs Travis Bowyer and Scott Tyler.
7-31-09: Acquired SS Orlando Cabrera from Oakland for SS Tyler Ladendorf. Cabrera played well the final 2 months to greatly assist the Twins to a fifth (of six) Central titles in the decade.
8-7-09: Acquired RHP Carl Pavano from Cleveland for RHP Yohan Pinto. Pavano was a sizable asset for the Twins, including as the starting ace in 2010.
8-28-09: Acquired RHP Jon Rauch from Arizona for RHP Kevin Mulvey. Rauch helped in the final month of '09, and was OK as the closer before the ill-fated Matt Capps trade in July 2010.
3-28-11: Acquired LHP Scott Diamond from Atlanta for RHP Billy Bullock. Rather than send back Rule 5 draftee Daimond to Atlanta, the Twins dealt Bullock, a hard-throwing reliever, to the Braves. Diamond was very good in 2012, subpar so far in 2013, but Bullock hasn't threatened the big leagues.
12-9-05: Acquired IF Alexi Casilla from Angels for LHP J.C. Romero. Casilla had a few moments, but Romero was largely effective as a lefthanded reliever for another four seasons after the trade.
7-31-06: Acquired P Zach Ward from Cincinnati for RHP Kyle Lohse. Twins gave away value for nothing.
11-28-07: Acquired OFers Delmon Young and Jason Pridie and IF Brendan Harris from Rays for RHPs Matt Garza and Eduado Morlan and SS Jason Bartlett. Brutal.
2-2-08: Acquired CF Carlos Gomez and RHPs Phil Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra from Mets for LHP Johan Santana. Beyond brutal.
11-9-09: Acquired SS J.J. Hardy from Brewers for Gomez. This is a loser because Twins didn't have patience to give Hardy a chance to stay healthy and produce.
7-29-10: Acquired RHP Matt Capps from Nationals for C Wilson Ramos. This looks bad now; it will look like a disaster if and when Ramos stays healthy for a while in Washington.
12-9-10: Acquired RHPs Jim Hoey and Brett Jacobson from Orioles for Hardy and Brendan Harris.The Twins gave away Hardy to make room for Tsuyoshi Nishioka. This is an embarrassment for Twins every time Hardy knocks in a run or makes a play for Baltimore.
8-5-11: Acquired Ps Cole Nelson and Lester Oliveros from Tigers for Delmon Young. Twins got held up bringing in Young and then in giving him away for nothing.
7-28-12: Acquired LHP Pedro Hernandez and IF Eduardo Escobar from White Sox for LHP Francisco Liriano. This looked like a winner for a three, four weeks; then Hernandez went back to Rochester, Escobar went back to not hitting, and Liriano started dealing in Pittsburgh.
There are a coupe of other recent trades -- for pitcher Kevin Slowey and third baseman Danny Valencia -- that were too minor to qualify as significant. Both Slowey (Miami) and Valencia (Baltimore) are in the big leagues and contributing to a degree.
Notable trades starting with the Stewart deal a decade ago: I have the Twins at 8 Ws, 9 Ls and two to be decided, with the trend being downward in recent years.