Minnesota sports history is filled with plenty of regrettable personnel moves,but the state's teams have also made their share of shrewd deals.
Minnesota sports history is filled with plenty of regrettable personnel moves. But the state's teams have also made their share of shrewd deals. As such, we are counting down our choices -- with many assists from folks on Twitter -- for the 25 best moves made via free agency, waiver claims or trades in the past 25 years of Twin Cities sports. (Note: Trades for draft picks count, but we are not including straight-up choices made in entry drafts such as Kevin Garnett or Joe Mauer). Weight was primarily given to the impact of the player or players obtained and the level of risk/boldness involved.
22 Ryan Longwell: The Vikings went big for Longwell, signing him to a five-year, $10 million contract on the first day of free agency in 2006. If you remember what Minnesota's kicking game was like prior to Longwell, he ended up being worth every penny. Outside of Donald Igwebuike, who attempted only 16 field goals for the Vikings, Longwell has the best career field goal accuracy mark in team history at 86.0 percent. He is also notable for providing a run of excellence after the one-year terms of Aaron Elling, Morten Andersen and Paul Edinger. That trio combined to miss 20 field goals; Longwell missed 22 in six years before being cut this past offseason.
21 Paul Molitor: You might remember Molitor's stint with the Twins as a late-career farewell tour in the same Twin Cities market that nurtured his prep and college career. But you should also remember that the St. Paul native had one of the best offensive seasons in Twins history after signing as a free agent in 1996. Molitor, who turned 40 in the middle of that season, finished the year with 225 hits -- including the 3,000th of his career -- to go with 113 RBI and a .341 batting average. He was no slouch the following year, either, hitting .305 with 89 RBI.
20 Chili Davis: Perhaps a somewhat underrated free agent pickup by the Twins prior to the 1991 season, Davis only played two years in Minnesota but made a huge impact. His 29 homers fit beautifully into an already well-stocked lineup in 1991, giving the Twins a big-time threat as a primary designated hitter. His bat carried over to the postseason, too, when he hit .294 in the ALCS and clubbed two big home runs in the 1991 World Series victory over Atlanta. He cooled off somewhat in 1992 but still posted an .825 OPS. As a switch-hitter, he was a professional at the plate in every way.
|Chicago Cubs||0||Bottom 2nd Inning|
|Baltimore - K. Gausman||6:07 PM|
|Toronto - B. Morrow|
|Minnesota - S. Diamond||6:08 PM|
|Detroit - R. Porcello|
|Cleveland - Z. McAllister||6:10 PM|
|Boston - R. Dempster|
|LA Angels - J. Blanton||7:10 PM|
|Kansas City - E. Santana|
|San Jose||9:30 PM|
Poll: Who should be the next Twins starting pitcher to lose his job?