By: Dan Cole | KFAN.com
No. 5: July 12, 2002 – Brian Buchanon to San Diego for Jason Bartlett
Buchanon was a mediocre talent over parts of three seasons for the Twins, with his batting average usually looming somewhere around the .250 mark. He showed a minimal amount of power at the plate and was an afterthought in a Twins outfield that featured Torii Hunter, Jacque Jones, Dustin Mohr and Bobby Kielty.
In 2002, Buchanon batted .252 in 44 games in Minnesota before Terry Ryan dealt him to San Diego for the 22-year-old Bartlett, who was still bouncing around the minor leagues at the time.
He made his major league debut in 2004, but played just eight games for the Twins that season. It wouldn’t be until 2006 that Bartlett’s presence would truly be felt as a big leaguer.
That season, he hit .309 in 99 games, driving in 32 runs and stealing 10 bases. He was also a highly reliable shortstop in the field and helped the Twins to their fourth division title in five seasons that year. That was his best season in Minnesota.
He was traded to Tampa Bay in November of 2007 in a deal that brought Delmon Young and Brendan Harris to the Twin Cities.
No. 4: July 31, 2004 – Doug Mientkiewicz to Boston opens door for Justin Morneau
Dougie held a special place in the hearts of Twins fans. His rugged, pine tar, batting glove-less style cast him as a loveable blue collar first baseman.
He had helped bring the Twins back from the dead earlier on in the decade, playing a leading role in the 2002 and 2003 division championships.
He had hit above .300 in both 2001 and 2003, but was having his worst season as a Twin in 2004. In 78 games in Minnesota that year, Mientkiewicz was hitting just .246 with 25 RBIs.
Waiting in the wings was the 23-year-old Morneau, who had been tearing things up in the minors since 1999 and seemed more and more ready for a permanent spot in the big leagues. He hit just .226 in 40 games for the Twins in 2003, but that didn’t worry Terry Ryan.
Dougie was traded to Boston in a four-team deal on deadline day in 2004 and Morneau was unleashed. He then started 74 games in 2004 and blasted 19 home runs as a young first baseman. We all know what he’s done since, hitting 20-plus home runs five times, winning an AL MVP award and a Home Run Derby crown to go along with four All-Star Game appearances.
No. 3: July 31, 2009 – Tyler Ladendorf to Oakland for Orlando Cabrera
Cabrera was brought in on deadline day in 2009 and was only with the Twins for that half of a season, but his impact is almost immeasurable.
Aside from his numbers (.289 average, 42 runs scored, 36 RBIs), Cabrera was an energizing and leading individual that helped rally and bring the clubhouse together down the stretch that season. He inspired and taught young guys like Carlos Gomez and Alexi Casilla.
The Twins were 35-26 after Cabrera’s arrival, en route to a division title that came after a one-game playoff to end the season – the legendary Game 163.
Cabrera hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning of that game to put the Twins in front 4-3, helping cement his place in Twins lore.
He bounced around to the Reds, Indians and Giants for the next two seasons before retiring at age 36.
No. 2: August 7, 2009 – Yohan Pino to Cleveland for Carl Pavano
Pino, who still has yet to make it up to the big leagues at age 29, was swapped out for Pavano, who has won 108 games at the major league level.
In 2009, the Twins rotation was floundering late in the season and needed a stable veteran presence to help solidify things. Pavano did that – for the following two seasons, as well.
He won 33 games for the Twins over the course of three years and sported one of the sharpest mustaches the clubhouse has ever seen. His best season came in 2010 when he posted a 17-11 record to go along with a 3.75 ERA in 221 innings pitched. Aside from 2004 in Florida, it was the best season of his impressive career.
Pavano helped the Twins to two division titles, but the 37-year-old right-hander hasn’t pitched at a high level since 2011.
No. 1: July 16, 2003 – Bobby Kielty to Toronto for Shannon Stewart
This is, in my opinion, the smoothest trade deadline transaction the Twins have made over the past 13 years.
In need of a strong leadoff man in 2003, the Twins brought in one that would pay strong dividends for the next few seasons. Stewart had been a stud in Toronto since 1998, piling up four-straight 100-run seasons and 88 combined stolen bases between ’98 and ’99. He was a known speedster who could hit for average, but it was a concern that perhaps his best days were behind him.
Not the case.
After being traded to Minnesota in 2003, Stewart hit .322 in 65 games that season, cranking 22 doubles and driving in 38 runs to help the Twins to their second-straight division title. The Twins were 46-23 after Stewart’s arrival and he finished 4th in AL MVP voting that season – remarkable for a leadoff hitter.
Stewart’s production didn’t end there, as he hit .304 in 2004 followed by another strong year in 2005. He hit some injury trouble during those seasons, and saw reduced playing time as a result.
He left the Twins following the 2006 season and retired from baseball in 2008 at age 34.