Minnesota Twins All-Time 25-Man Roster

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Twins have a long organizational history, but who are the best players for a roster since the team moved to Minnesota?

While the Minnesota Twins have perhaps fallen on some hard times of late, they have a long and storied history in their franchise.

The organization dates back to Washington, D.C. and the Senators. The Senators moved to Minnesota and became the Twins in 1961.

This particular list will take a look only at the players as Minnesota Twins, not taking into account time with the Washington portion of the franchise, so guys like Walter Johnson or Sam Rice won’t appear here.

However, we’re talking about a franchise that since 1961 has been in the playoffs 11 times, making it to three World Series (1965, 1987 and 1991) and winning two World Series championships (1987, 1991).

We’ll take a look at the starting eight defensively, the bench, each of the starting rotation, the closer and then the rest of the bullpen. Certain decisions were made in order to fit a real 25-man roster rather than a “best WAR of all-time” sort of list.

This is the type of list that is sure to generate some opinions, so feel free to offer them in the comments below!

Before we get started, a bit on the franchise history – did you know that the original team to carry the name Washington Nationals was not the team that moved from Montreal, but actually the team that eventually moved to Minnesota?

The Senators officially were the Nationals from just after their inception in 1901, 1905, until 1955, but the public did not recognize the nickname, and the Senators name became official again less than a decade before the team moved to Minnesota.

Significant assistance and credit to the Baseball-Reference Play Index tool for the queries needed to run this article. Check it out!

Joe Mauer, 2004-present, 50 bWAR

This one is not difficult at all to choose, to be honest. The only active player on this list, Mauer has moved off of the catching position, but the local boy was drafted out of high school in St. Paul, Minnesota, with the #1 overall selection in 2001.

An elite high school athlete, Mauer also had a full-ride scholarship to play football for Bobby Bowden at Florida State.

Mauer did move off of catcher to first base in 2014, but he had already accumulated 44.2 bWAR by then, which is triple the closest catcher to him.

Really, the Twins have one of the all-time greats in Mauer at catcher. He ranks 11th in bWAR among all catchers in history, third in career batting average and third in on-base percentage.

With Minnesota, Mauer has hit .308/.391/.446 for a 127 OPS+. He’s hit 365 doubles, 28 triples and 130 home runs. Mauer has six All-Star game selections, three batting titles, five Silver Slugger awards, three Gold Glove awards and was the 2009 AL MVP.

Harmon Killebrew, 1961-1974, 53.7 bWAR

Second in Twins history in career bWAR, Killebrew is one of a few guys who could flex to several positions. He played at least 300 games at first, third and the outfield as a Twin.

“Killer” is easily the career leader in the Twins history in home runs, with nearly 200 more home runs than the closest competitor, and he had even more for the organization as a whole, having come up with the Senators before the team moved to Minnesota.

If anyone has seen the old “Home Run Derby” television show, Killebrew was one of the guys who was always a legit challenger, as he just had an incredibly powerful right-handed swing.

Yet he wasn’t a guy who was just a free-swinger. He had almost an even number of walks to strikeouts in his career, with a 15.85 percent walk rate and 17.28 percent strikeout rate.

He was selected to 10 All-Star games as a Twin, and he won the Most Valuable Player in 1969, finishing in the top five six times as a Twin.

Over his career in Minnesota, he hit .260/.383/.518 with a 148 OPS+. He had 232 doubles, 21 triples and 475 home runs as a member of the Twins.

What is incredible is that it took four elections for Killebrew to get elected to the Hall of Fame in 1984.

Rod Carew, 1967-1978, 63.7 bWAR

Many Twins fans were irate at the Twins for trading away Carew in 1978, even though they did get four future major leaguers in return. Sure, his best seasons may have been behind him at age 33, but Twins fans had to watch their career leader in bWAR reach 3,000 hits with the (then) California Angels and finish his career there.

Carew, like Killebrew, could have qualified at multiple defensive positions, having played roughly 400 games at first base as well as over 1,000 at second base with the Twins.

The Twins originally signed Carew out of Panama, and he became one of the team’s biggest stars soon after debuting in 1967.

Carew was an elite athlete and had an incredible ability to make contact with the baseball, hitting over .350 in 5 different seasons (though one was his 1970 season, ended early by injury).

Carew led the American League seven times in batting average with the Twins. He was elected to 12 All-Star games as a Twin, winning the AL Rookie of the Year award in 1967 and the 1977 AL MVP. He finished top 10 in MVP voting five times as a Twin.

In his Minnesota Twins career, Carew hit .334/.393/.448 for a 137 OPS+. He hit 305 doubles, 90 triples, 74 home runs, and stole 271 bases. His triples total is most in Twins history by 29 over the next closest competitor.

Carew was selected in the first year he was eligible to the Hall of Fame with over 90 percent of the vote.

Gary Gaetti, 1981-1990, 27.1 bWAR

While he is the first player who isn’t either in the Hall of Fame or likely to be elected there after his career is over, Gaetti holds a pretty special place in Twins fans’ hearts.

After winning 97 and 98 games in 1969 and 1970 and losing in the ALCS each season, the Twins did not again win 90 games until after they’d won the organization’s first World Series in 1987 (1988 they won 91 games).

Gaetti was part of a group of players that came to the organization in the early 1980s that began to turn the fortunes of the franchise around bit by bit.

Gaetti was the 11th overall selection in the 1979 draft, and by 1982, he was a full-time player for the Twins at the hot corner. Gaetti wasn’t an elite hitter, but he provided solid power and a highly-regarded glove at the position.

Interestingly, Gaetti’s departure in free agency after 1990 may have been the catalyst for the Twins’ 1991 World Series run as the Twins signed Mike Pagliarulo and brought up prospect Scott Leius, and between Pagliarulo’s 910 OPS in the 1991 playoffs and Leius hitting .357/.400/.571 in the 1991 World Series, the Twins got big production from those two.

As a Twin, Gaetti was selected for two All-Star games and won 4 Gold Gloves.

In his Twins career, he hit .256/.307/.437 with an even 100 OPS+, smacking 252 doubles, 25 triples, 201 home runs, and 74 stolen bases.

Roy Smalley, 1976-1982, 1985-1987, 20.8 bWAR

The Twins leveraged their ace pitcher in 1976 for a big midseason deal that brought back four players, three mostly non-descript, but Smalley immediately took over at short for the Twins.

Interestingly, when the Twins traded Smalley in 1982, they acquired the shortstop who would be their starting shortstop for their two World Series champion teams, Greg Gagne.

The Twins’ history at shortstop isn’t exactly elite, with most of their shortstops having only a few seasons at the position before either losing effectiveness or being traded.

Smalley had a fairly clear lead in career bWAR at the position, leading the next closest Twins SS by 3 bWAR, but the guy who is behind him played twice as many seasons.

Smalley is still involved with the Twins organization, providing analysis during games for the Fox Sports affiliate. Smalley had big league bloodlines as well, with his father also having been a major league shortstop, and his uncle Gene Mauch was a long-time manager.

As a Twin, Smalley hit .262/.350/.401 with 184 doubles, 21 triples, and 110 home runs. He was selected as an All Star in 1979.

Kirby Puckett, 1984-1995, 50.9 bWAR

For a generation of Twins fans, a 5’8″, roly-poly guy from Chicago was the face of the franchise. With the 3rd pick in the 1982 draft, the Twins selected Puckett, who looked much different than he did by the time he was leading the Twins into the World Series.

Puckett came into the league as a lean, speedy center fielder. He arrived in 1984 with the Twins, and in his first two seasons with the team, he hit a total of 4 home runs, while racking up 41 doubles, 18 triples, and 35 stolen bases.

No player in baseball had more hits in the second half of the 1980s than did Puckett, and from 1985-1994, he had 110 more hits than the next closest player, and #2 and #3 were Wade Boggs and Tony Gwynn, so that’s some elite class.

Puckett saved his biggest and best play, however, for the most important moments. His catch against the glass fence in the 1991 World Series and the home run in the video above are two of the most iconic baseball moments in the last 30 years.

At the end of his career, Puckett moved to right field, and then tragically had his eye socket injured by a pitch that hit him up and in. He experienced vision issues and was never the same.

Puckett was selected to his first All Star game in 1986, and he was part of every one from then until he retired in 1995, 10 in total. He won six Gold Gloves and six Silver Sluggers.

Puckett never won an MVP, but he finished in the top 10 in voting seven times and top three three separate times, coming closest in 1992, when many who don’t believe that a pitcher should win the MVP believe Dennis Eckersley stole away Puckett’s award.

In his career, Puckett hit .318/.360/.477 for a 124 OPS+. He totaled 2,304 hits over his 12 seasons with 414 doubles, 57 triples, 207 home runs, and 134 stolen bases.

Puckett is the franchise leader in hits by over 200, doubles by nearly 50, 7th in home runs, 4th in stolen bases, and 2nd in batting average.

He was elected in 2001 to the Hall of Fame in his first year on the ballot.

Tony Oliva, 1962-1976, 43 bWAR

Oliva was the first “true” Twin, signed by the Twins in 1961 in their first year in Minnesota and debuting in 1962. He became the first star of the organization that hadn’t come over with the team from Washington.

Oliva received just a handful of plate appearances in both 1962 and 1963 before sticking as the starting right fielder in 1964, when he led the league in batting, doubles, runs, hits and total bases, winning the Rookie of the Year award.

It’s been said that you can only go down from a start so bright, and for Oliva, sadly, in health, that was true. Health concerns plagued his career, cutting short what very well could have been a Hall of Fame career.

Oliva was the catalyst of the 1965 Twins team that battled the Dodgers for the first World Series after the move to Minnesota. He had considerable power, excellent contact, good speed and an arm that was impressive in right field, three times tallying double-digit assists.

Oliva played 11 full seasons in the majors out of his 14 years due to his first couple of seasons getting broken in and then injury, and he made the All Star game in eight of those 11 seasons.

Oliva also won a Gold Glove in 1966, and he finished top 10 in MVP voting five times in his career, twice finishing second in the voting, in 1965 and in 1970. Both times, his own teammate cost him the award, as his own teammate won the award in ’65, and Harmon Killebrew split many votes among national voters in ’71, allowing Boog Powell to win the award.

Oliva finished his Twins career with a .304/.353/.476 line for a 131 OPS+. He had 329 doubles, 48 triples, 220 home runs and 86 stolen bases.

Bob Allison, 1961-1970, 30.5 bWAR

Having won the Rookie of the Year award in 1959, Allison was somewhat established when the team moved to Minnesota. He instantly became a powerful pairing with Harmon Killebrew in the middle of the Twins lineup.

Allison began a trend that eventually has become a worry among some Twins fans of a curse on any elite outfielders that come through the team as Allison broke down significantly after he turned 30, missing over half of the 1966 season and hitting a total of 63 home runs from 1966-1970 due to injury after hitting at least 23 every season from 1961-1965.

Allison is the type of hitter that likely would have benefited from the DH rule as his injuries left him unable to field the outfield, but he could still swing a powerful bat when he was able to stand being in the field.

Over 307 combined plate appearances in 1969 and 1970, Allison hit nine home runs with an isolated slugging percentage of .170. While not the .200+ numbers he was used to in his best days, Allison could have likely been a very productive power source as a DH for a few more years.

DH’ing could have aided Allison in clearing some career numbers like 1,500 hits (he finished with 1,281), 300 home runs (he finished at 256), and 1,000 RBI (he finished with 796).

As it stood, Allison’s time as a Twin was a line of .254/.361/.479 with a 131 OPS+. He hit 167 doubles, 41 triples, 211 home runs, and stole 60 bases, something many forget was a part of his game before injuries sapped his athleticism.

Allison made the All-Star game twice in his career and received MVP votes twice as well.

Bench

Earl Battey, C, 1961-1967, 14.3 bWAR – Originally signed by the Chicago White Sox, Battey came to Minnesota from Washington, and he had some big seasons for the Twins.

Battey hit .278/.356/.409 with 76 home runs in seven seasons. He was selected to four All-Star teams, won two Gold Gloves, and finished in the top-10 in MVP voting twice as a Twin.

On top of all that, in the 1960s he was an African-American playing the most visible position on the field, and doing it well.

Kent Hrbek, 1B, 1981-1994, 38.4 bWAR – The big bat at first base for both of the Twins’ World Series runs, Hrbek retired in 1994 after injury issues began to sap his ability to complete seasons.

His career line of .282/.367/.481 with a 128 OPS+ is quite impressive, but playing at the position that Killebrew spent his time at hurts chances of really impressing in career lists.

Chuck Knoblauch, 2B, 1991-1997, 37.9 bWAR – Knoblauch was the Twins’ first round selection in 1988, and his arrival in 1991 was the catalyst for the team’s turnaround into World Series champs.

He made four All-Star Games as a Twin, won two Silver Sluggers, won a Gold Glove and he was the 1991 Rookie of the Year. He was outspoken about his desire to be traded to a contender before going to the Yankees in 1998, leading to some unfortunate incidents when he returned to Minnesota with the Bronx Bombers.

However, many Twins fans should be grateful to Knoblauch for requesting that trade, as the return the Twins got for Knoblauch (outfielder Brian Buchanan, shortstop Cristian Guzman, starter Eric Milton and reliever Danny Mota) ended up being significant pieces in the Twins’ early 2000s run in the AL Central.

Knoblauch hit .304/.391/.416 in his time with the Twins and is the franchise leader in stolen bases, but being at the same position as Carew puts him on the bench for this squad.

Corey Koskie, 3B, 1998-2004, 22.2 bWAR – The final and toughest choice of the bench ended up being Koskie. While another outfielder or shortstop could have been a good choice as well for the bench, I figured the “weakest” starter in the lineup could use a solid back up.

Koskie was no slouch in his time with the Twins by any means. The Canadian fit right in to Minnesota culture, before unfortunate issues with concussions ended his career early.

Koskie played parts of seven seasons with the Twins, and he hit .280/.373/.463 with 101 home runs and 66 stolen bases in his time manning the Twins’ hot corner.

Zoilo Versalles, SS, 1961-1967, 15.2 bWAR – There were many excellent players on the 1965 Twins team, but Versalles was the one who was selected the MVP.

Versalles had only made a collection of at bats with Washington in 1959 and 1960 before the team moved and he became the full-time starter. He was elite for a few seasons, but after his MVP season, his bat went in the tank and simply never recovered, and he was never a full-season starter again after leaving the Twins.

While he had a very solid 1965, and his defense that year rated at an elite level, modern sabermetrics would likely have shown him to be less than an ideal choice that season.

In his Twins career, he hit .250/.296/.383 with 190 doubles, 58 triples, 87 home runs and 85 home runs while playing very good defense.

Torii Hunter, OF, 1997-2007, 2015, 26.2 bWAR – Following the path laid out before him by Kirby Puckett, Hunter came up as an elite defensive center fielder and eventually moved to right field as his skills in the field declined.

Hunter left Minnesota after arguably the best offensive season of his career, before going to the Angels (a seemingly frequent destination for Twins players to go after they’ve established themselves as elite).

As a Twin, he hit .268/.321/.462 with 281 doubles, 26 triples, 214 home runs and 128 stolen bases.

Cesar Tovar, Util, 1965-1972, 25.8 bWAR – The absolute definition of a utility man, Tovar became the second major league player to play all nine positions in a game when he accomplished the feat in 1968.

While that game remained his only appearance at pitcher, catcher, and first base, Tovar played at least 200 games in his career at each outfield position and both second and third base.

Along the way, Tovar was also a very solid offensive contributor as well. Tovar hit .281/.337/.377 with 193 doubles, 45 triples, 38 home runs and 186 stolen bases. While he never made an All-Star Game, Tovar did receive an MVP vote in five seasons of his career.

Bert Blyleven, RH, 1970-1976, 1985-1988, 49.3 bWAR

While Oliva may have been the first home-grown Twins hitting star, the team waited about a decade for the first pitcher of the same level in Blyleven.

Rik Aalbert Blyleven was the third round selection of the Twins out of high school in California, having originally been born in the Netherlands, hence his nickname, The Frying Dutchman.

Blyleven is known as having arguably the best right-handed curve ball of all time. He took over the all-time strikeout lead for a short time, and for many of us growing up in the 1990s, we knew the strikeout leaderboard to read Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton and then Bert Blyleven as the top three.

Blyleven pitched for five organizations in his career, but he made two passes through Minnesota, first to begin his career, and then near the end before heading (where else?) to the Angels for his final few seasons.

He’s the pitching WAR leader for the Twins, leading the organization in complete games, shutouts and strikeouts, while finishing second in wins and innings pitched.

Overall, Blyleven went 149-138 with the Twins with a 3.28 ERA, which was good for a 119 ERA+. He also sported a 1.19 WHIP, 141 complete games, 29 shutouts, and a 2,035/674 K/BB over his 2,566 2/3 innings.

The crazy thing is that while he was statistically one of the best pitchers of his generation, due to pitching on pretty poor teams throughout his career, he was often missed as a great pitcher.

Blyleven made only two All-Star Games, and he never finished higher than third place for the Cy Young, though he did receive votes in four different seasons.

The biggest sign of how misunderstood his career was could be found in his Hall of Fame voting, where it took 13 years on the ballot before Blyleven made it in 2011.

Brad Radke, RH, 1995-2006, 45.6 bWAR

This name may surprise many, but I will tell you that when I talk with people in scouting and who work within the game, Brad Radke was a widely respected and admired player around the league.

Radke was the eighth round selection by the Twins in the 1991 draft, and while he was drafted during a magical season for the organization, by the time he made the team in 1995, he entered a team on the skids.

Nonetheless, Radke made the opening day start or the home opener start for every season of his career except his rookie year, when he didn’t open the season with the Twins.

He was the epitome of the staff ace, a leader on a staff that goes out and throws every turn in the rotation for 6+ innings (averaging almost 6 2/3 innings per appearance over his entire career).

Yes, he wasn’t an elite starter, but he was consistent and solid every time out, and that lack of elite performance has led to him being overlooked for how good he truly was.

Radke is second only to Blyleven in Twins WAR, and even when you add in the Washington portion of the organization’s history, he’s still top 5 in WAR by a pitcher.

His career line was 148-139 with a 4.22 ERA, good for a 113 ERA+. He also posted a 1.26 WHIP and a 1,467/445 K/BB ratio over 2,451 innings. He made the 1998 All-Star Game and finished third in the 1997 Cy Young voting.

Johan Santana, LH, 2000-2007, 35.5 bWAR

While Radke was more consistency over greatness, Santana was the opposite. He was only a full-time Twins starter for four seasons of his career, but those seasons were so elite that he’s easily on this list.

Santana will always be known as one of the great Rule 5 picks of all time, but he wasn’t even picked by the Twins in the Rule 5. The Marlins selected him away from the Houston Astros, and the Twins acquired him via trade for Jared Camp.

The Twins really used Santana as a swingman in their bullpen for four seasons from 2000 to 2003 before he took over a rotation spot in mid-2003 for good.

Santana’s three year run from 2005-2007 is one of the best since the turn of the millennium. He led the AL in strikeouts all three seasons, and the majors for two of those seasons. He even won the elusive pitching triple crown (wins, ERA, strikeouts) in 2006.

With Minnesota, Santana had a 93-44 record with a 3.22 ERA, good for a 141 ERA+. He also posted a 1.09 WHIP and a 1,381/364 K/BB over 1,308 2/3 innings.

Santana very probably should have won three consecutive Cy Young awards, finishing third in 2005 to winner Bartolo Colon, who if he hadn’t turned into “Big Sexy” in later years may never have been forgivable for this travesty.

Santana made three All-Star games with the Twins, starting all three of them. He received votes in 5 straight Cy Young awards, winning two of them. He even finished top 10 in MVP voting twice with the Twins and won the Gold Glove in 2007.

Jim Kaat, LH, 1961-1973, 31.7 bWAR

Having just gotten his feet wet with Washington before the team moved, Kaat was essentially a rookie with the Twins in 1961, yet he threw 200 2/3 innings, something he’d do as a Twin 10 times, including a 300+ inning season.

Before Greg Maddux came around, Kaat was considered the greatest fielding pitcher to have played the game, and there are some who still have the debate between the two.

Kaat was never really an elite pitcher as far as the game was concerned, but he consistently took his turn in the rotation for the Twins, giving them solid production throughout his tenure.

For the Twins, he went 189-152 with a 3.28 ERA for a 112 ERA+. He also posted a 1.22 WHIP, 133 complete games, 23 shutouts, and a 1,824/694 K/BB ratio over 2,959 1/3 innings.

Kaat ranks as the organization’s leader in games started, wins, innings, and second in strikeouts.

Kaat made three All-Star appearances, starting two of the games, and he won every pitching Gold Glove from 1962 until 1977, so from 1962-1973 that was with the Twins.

Kaat never received the requisite number of votes for the Hall of Fame in his years on the ballot, never dipping below 14 percent of the vote, but never getting 30 percent of the vote either.

Frank Viola, LH, 1982-1989, 27.2 bWAR

“Sweet Music” was part of the Twins crew of players from 1982-1984 that came up and transformed the culture and fortunes of the organization, along with Puckett, Gaetti, Hrbek, Greg Gagne, and Tom Brunansky.

He was the 2nd round selection of the Twins in the 1981 draft out of St. John’s University in New York, and he was up in the major leagues a year later.

Viola became the ace of the Twins staff in the late 1980s, throwing at least 245 innings from 1984 until the Twins traded him to the New York Mets.

His 24 wins in 1988 were the second-most in Twins history for a single season, behind only Jim Kaat’s 1966 season when he won 25.

Viola endeared himself to Twins fans forever with his performance in the 1987 World Series. Selected as the MVP of the series, he made three starts, winning two of them, as the Twins defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.

Viola flamed out quickly after leaving the Twins, having finally gotten the notice he was due while with the Twins having found his way to a major media market in New York. That was noticed in his one All-Star selection with the Twins and two with New York.

With the Twins he posted a 112-93 record with a 3.86 ERA, which led to a 111 ERA+. He also posted a 1.30 WHIP and 1,214/521 K/BB ratio over 1,772 2/3 innings.

Along with the All-Star game selection, Viola received votes for the Cy Young three times with the Twins, including 1988, when he was a near-unanimous winner after going 24-7 with a 2.64 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and posting a 193/54 K/BB over 255 1/3 innings.

Interestingly, much like Chuck Knoblauch, while Viola was missed in his departure, his trade likely led to the next great team as the team received one of their better starting pitchers on their 1991 team in Kevin Tapani, along with the closer on that 1991 team and multiple members of the bullpen for that team in the trade that sent Viola to the Mets.

Joe Nathan, RH, 2004-2011, 18.4 bWAR

Originally a shortstop, Nathan had converted to pitching before the Twins acquired him in one of the major trades that set up the team’s 2000s run of success.

By the time the Twins acquired him, Nathan had converted to the bullpen, and he had one excellent season of middle relief with the Giants before coming over to the Twins.

His first season in Minnesota, he saved 44 games, and over the next seven seasons, Nathan pitched in 460 games, saving 260 of them as one of the absolute elite closers in the game. In fact, from 2004-2009, he led all of baseball with 246 saves, posting a better ERA+ than even Mariano Rivera during that time.

Nathan faced elbow surgery after the 2009 season, costing him all of the 2010 season and a large chunk of 2011 as he had an eased schedule in his year back from surgery.

The Twins allowed him to leave after the 2011 season in free agency, and he performed very well for two seasons with the Rangers, but injury issues have snuck back into his career, though he attempted a comeback last season at age 41.

Nathan in his Twins career posted a 2.16 ERA for a 204 ERA+. He also posted a 0.96 WHIP along with a 561/134 K/BB ratio over 463 1/3 innings. He is the Twins franchise leader with his 260 saves.

As a Twin, he was selected to four All-Star teams, won the 2009 AL Rolaids Relief Man award, finished in the top five for Cy Young twice, and even received a vote for MVP in two different seasons.

Bullpen

Rick Aguilera, RH, 1989-1999, 15.5 bWAR – While the name never stuck, according to Baseball-Reference, Aguilera was simply known around a number of Twins fans I knew as “The Beard.”

Aguilera was acquired as part of the trade when Frank Viola was traded to the New York Mets in 1989. A starter at the time, he finished out the season in the Twins rotation, actually throwing quite well in 11 starts.

In 1990, the Twins converted Aguilera to closer, and he was quite good in that role from that moment until the day he was traded to the Boston Red Sox in the 1995 season.

He returned to the Twins for an injured 1996 season before taking over the closer role again in 1997. Aguilera was selected to three All-Star games and even received mention in the 1991 AL MVP voting, finishing 18th.

Eddie Guardado, LH, 1993-2004, 2008, 9.5 bWAR – “Everyday Eddie” was one of the more popular players in Twins history due to his robust build, jovial personality, and that his name fit him, throwing very frequently out of the bullpen, making 60 or more appearances for eight straight seasons before leaving in free agency.

Guardado even served two seasons as the Twins closer, 2002 and 2003, when he saved 86 games between the two seasons.

He was selected to two All-Star games, and he even received votes for the 2002 AL MVP.

Al Worthington, RH, 1964-1969, 10 bWAR – My final bullpen choice was a very difficult selection. Worthington was the selection over hometown boy Glen Perkins, though if Perkins can return from his shoulder injuries for a few more positive seasons, that could change things.

Worthington was acquired by the Twins from the Cincinnati Reds in the 1964 season, and he finished his career with the Twins throwing out of the bullpen as the team’s closer.

Bullpen usage was much different in those days, as Worthington led the league in 1968 with 18 saves. In his Twins career, he made 327 appearances and posted a 2.62 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over 473 1/3 innings.

Jim Perry, RH, 1963-1972, 26.2 bWAR – There’s not a much better choice for the swing man in the bullpen for nearly any 25-man roster than Perry.

Over his 17 year career, Perry made 630 appearances, 447 of them were starts. With the Twins, he only had one season where all of his appearances were in one role – bullpen or starter – making 376 appearances, 249 of them starts.

In his Twins career, Perry threw 1,883 1/3 innings with a 3.15 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and a 1,025/541 K/BB ratio.

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