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Terry Ryan's top 5 trades as the Twins general manager

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After 18 seasons as the Minnesota Twins general manager and nearly 30 years with the team, Terry Ryan was fired on Monday.

Ryan has been the subject of some fans frustrations, especially with the team's unexpected struggles so far this year. Following a franchise-worst 0-9 start to the season, the Twins stumbles have continued to where they now sit 33-58 – 21 games out of first place in the American League Central.

While it's easy to remember the bad times during Ryan's tenure as the Twins GM, there were also many good times, including a stretch that saw the club when four American League Central Division titles in five seasons (2002-06) – after a disastrous decade of rebuilding in the 1990s.

To help pull the club out of their struggles in the '90s, Ryan made several big trades to make the Twins relevant once again, it's hard to limit this list to the five best.

5. They call him 'Big Papi'

Sure Ryan has taken a lot of heat recently with David Ortiz's retirement tour this season. But sometimes people forget before the Twins could give up on Ortiz, they had to believe in him.

On August 29, 1996 Ryan traded third baseman Dave Hollins to the Seattle Mariners for a player to be named later. That's right, the Mariners allowed that player to be named later to be David Ortiz.

Ortiz spent parts of six seasons with the Twins, hitting 58 homers and driving in 238 runs. His time in Minnesota was marred by various injuries and inconsistency.

Though in his last season, Ortiz played in 125 games and hit 20 home runs, he also had 75 RBIs, but he was released following the season.

Of course he signed with Boston and became "Big Papi" and everyone knows the rest of the story.

4. Moving Chuck around the 'blauch'

Minnesota Twins fans loved Chuck Knoblauch in 1991, but that love affair ended quickly as Knoblauch became more disgruntled as his time in Minnesota drug on.

On February 16, 1998, Ryan did something about it. He sent Knoblauch to the New York Yankees in exchange for a boatload of prospects that included outfielder Brian Buchanan, shortstop Christian Guzman, pitcher Eric Milton, pitcher Danny Mota and cash.

Guzman was named an All-Star in 2001, when he hit .302 and led the league with 14 triples. It was during a stretch when the speedy shortstop led the league in triples three times in four seasons.

Over six seasons Eric Milton was 57-51 with the Twins posting a 4.76 ERA. He was an All-Star in 2001 and on Sept. 11, 1999 threw the fifth no hitter in Minnesota Twins history.

3. A shot in the arm thanks to Shannon Stewart

The Twins needed a shot in the arm as they were trying to repeat as American League Central Division champions in 2003.

As the trade deadline neared, Ryan struck gold again when he sent outfielder Bobby Kielty to the Toronto Blue Jays for accomplished leadoff hitter Shannon Stewart.

Stewart delivered – hitting .322 over the final 65 games for Minnesota. He also homered six times and drove in 38 runs. It didn't end there, it was just the first of four seasons Stewart spent in a Twins uniform.

2. The San Francisco treat

Twins fans maybe don't like him now, but at one time they loved A.J. Pierzynski, and following the 2003 season Ryan made the difficult decision of moving the popular catcher in exchange for three pitchers from the San Francisco Giants.

Those pitchers turned out to be Boof Bonser, Francisco Liriano and Joe Nathan.

Bonser didn't become the pitcher many had hoped, but both Liriano and Nathan had nice careers with the Twins.

Liriano was an All-Star in 2006 after finishing the season 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA. Unfortunately, he ran across some elbow trouble and had to undergo Tommy John Surgery – missing all of 2007.

He struggled with consistency upon his return, but eventually bounced back to win 14 games and throw 191 innings in 2010.

Nathan is likely a future Twins Hall of Famer. In seven season with the Twins the right-hander broke the team's all-time saves record with 260 career saves. He also posted a 24-13 record for the Twins over that time with a 2.16 ERA.

1. Johan 'Cy' tana

But the biggest heist of all of Ryan's trades undoubtably is how he acquired future Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana. On December, 13, 1999, under the Rule 5 Draft, the Twins sent minor leaguer Jared Camp and cash to the Florida Marlins in exchange for Santana.

Santana took his lumps in the Majors as a rookie in 2000, but from 2004-to-2007 there wasn't a more dominant pitcher in the game.

Santana was 93-44 with a 3.22 ERA in eight seasons with the Twins. He was a three-time All-Star and won two Cy Young's during that stretch, while serving as the anchor on the Twins staff that won four American League Central Championships.

While Camp, bounced around the minors for several years, but never earned the call up to Major League Baseball.

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