Posted on: May 14, 2008 11:36 am

The good and bad of Minnesota trades.

The most mind-numbing thing about being a wonk for a mid-level market and their sports franchises is the fact that, in a sense, the local teams become minor league teams for New York and Boston and all of those other big-city asshole front-runners (hmm...bitter much??).

Anyways, on the heels of the Jared Allen deal, KG's fairy-tale season in Boston ending with a pumpkin of a playoffs (perhaps), and Santana getting off to his typical slow start 1,200 miles away, I thought I'd look back on some of the the good and the bad/ugly that the Land of 10,000 Lakes has provided to the sporting world. And, no, I'm not counting things like Johan Santana from the Marlins for Jared Camp, because nobody had heard of either of them at the time. But, damn, Jared Camp. What. A. Career. Continuing...


1989 - Frank Viola and Jack Savage for Kevin Tapani, Rick Aguilera, David West, and Tim Drummond. Viola was coming off of a Cy Young season in 1988, as well as the improbably playoff heroics of '87. So, when the 1989 season was a loss by the trade deadline, and Viola was heading for free agency, Andy MacPhail dangled his best pitcher out to the big markets and got...prospects. Sound familiar? Well, it worked in the long run, as both Tapani and Aguilera were members of the improbable playoff heroics of 1991. Aggy, until recently, was the franchise leader in saves and Tap paved the way for people like Brad Radke to be consistently unspectacular in Twins pinstripes. And David West is having a nice run with the New Orleans Hornets now...oops, wrong one.

2003 - A.J. Pierzynski for Boof Bonser, Joe Nathan, and Fransisco Liriano. To be honest, if this was AJ for Nathan straight-up, it would have been a rape (and that might end up being the only relevant parts of the trade). As it currently stands, there is still hope for this trade to still go down as a mega-rape. Nathan is the Twins all-time saves leader, Boof looks like he could be a number two starter 80 percent of the time (and a class-A prospect the rest of the time), and Frankie might still have that super nasty stuff he had in 2006 if he doesn't eat his way out of the league. More importantly (especially for the Twins' front office), the trade opened the door for the Joe Mauer era to begin. Bring on the college girls who love sideburns.

2003 - Sam Cassell and Ervin (Don't Call Me Magic) Johnson for Anthony Peeler and Joe Smith. Yes, I am giving the Timberwolves credit for making a good move. Cassell made All-NBA second team in 03-04, and led the team to the Western Conference finals. And yes, we all knew it would blow up after the first year with Sammy, because that's what happens with all of the teams Cassell is on. But we got rid of A.P., who never saw a shot on the offensive side of halfcourt that he didn't like. And Joe Smith? Well, keep reading about Joe Smith.

2008 - Johan Santana and Jared Allen. I might be jumping the gun, but I like both of these deals. First, Santana. A dominant pitcher is great, but all that really does is guarantee you win every fifth game. Is that worth $20 million a year? Probably not. Especially if he's going all Kyle Lohse in the locker room. I like Gomez -- he's raw, but he's speedy, and he's kind of got that Rickey Henderson thing going on (and, GOD, I hope he starts referring to himself in the third person..).

As far as the Allen deal goes, he's getting top-DE pay...because he's a top DE. And he got traded for three picks...which is actually less than the Jaguars gave up to move up in the draft and pick a D-End that hasn't proven one single thing in the NFL. Yes, a suspension looms for another screw-up DUI, but maybe in that $31 million, there's some room to take a cab. They run 24 hours a day, you know. The Vikings are a dominant pass-rusher away from greatness on defense, in my (an many others') opinion. But it IS the Vikings. What could possibly go wrong? SEGWAY TO....


1989 - Herschel. Duh. We don't even need to cover it. If it weren't for Herschel being a Viking, we would have never heard Jimmy Johnson rhetorically yell, "HOW 'BOUT THEM COWBOYS!" Paul Tagliabue probably still sends Christmas cards to Mike Lynn for single-handedly resurrecting one of the NFL's storied franchises. And keeping the Vikings...well, being the Vikings. Because, you know, Emmitt Smith, Darren Woodson, Isaac Holt...we didn't need those guys. Or the North Stars.

1996 - Ray Allen and Andrew Lang for Stephon Marbury. First off, I don't ever remember Lang being a Timberwolf. Wouldn't he, by default, be the best T-Wolves center ever, if for no other reason than he was modestly competent? The Wolves made this trade for two primary reasons: they needed a point guard and they wanted to keep The Kid happy. Two problems: Marbury was as point guard who didn't exactly like to pass the ball, and Garnett was a horrible judger of talent (Joe Smith, Troy Hudson, et al). So when they stopped being homies, it turned contentious, and Marbury got dealt. Twelve years later, the Wolves point guard situation is amiss, and Garnett and Allen are getting knocked out of the playoffs by LeBron. Maybe it wouldn't have worked out so well after all.

2000 - Joe Smith for Tony Parker, Carlos Boozer, and Anderson Varejao. More from McHale's Navy. Okay, this trade didn't actually happen, but that's who the Wolves could've had in the draft spots they lost because Glen Taylor was paying Joe Smith under the table. Because Joe Smith wanted too much money. And Kevin Garnett wanted Joe Smith. Yes, the same Joe Smith that wears knee pads and looks like a fossil for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cleveland Cavaliers that are going to take out the Boston Celtics in the playoffs. Featuring...Kevin Garnett.

2004 - Randy Moss for Napoleon Harris and Troy Williamson. *twitching* I called this a shitty deal when it happened. At least we got a sixth-round pick for Williamson. I think the Jaguars overpaid.

And, the cream of the crop...Tom Brunansky for Tom Herr. Fourteen games into the 1988 season, the Twins made a deal with the newly found hated World Series rival St. Louis Cardinals. Bruno was always one of my favorites because he had a great arm, adequate power out of the fifth spot in the order, and a killer mustache that just wouldn't quit, Magnum, P.I.-style.

Herr, on the other hand, was a baby and my least favorite player on the team that tried to win the World Series from my favorite team the October before. He was whiny, petulent, and I didn't like looking at him because he had the look of a child molester (ironically, without a mustache). In the end, neither team really won the trade. Bruno got traded to the Sox, never batted over .266 and spend the remainder of his days in Red Sock hell with Frankie V.

Herr played in 86 games and batted .263 with the Twins before they dealt him to Philadelphia, where he continued to be a pussyfart baby. It wasn't even that I thought the Twins got ripped in the trade, it was the first indication to me that sports was a business, and fan love for a player and his past achievements really didn't mean anything. And since then, I have been the jaded piece of shit standing before you today.

Much love to you, Tom Brunansky. Keep rocking that 'stache. 

Category: General
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