View Full Version : Nettles/Tiant trade - What might have been
While reviewing a list of the Twins' worst moves ever, I start with the 1969 trade of Graig Nettles to Cleveland and the 1970 release of the return (Luis Tiant). I have two questions that I would like people's opinion on:
1. From the winter of 1969 forward is there anyone who would have rather had Tiant than Nettles? Seems obvious to me, but some may differ.
2. Without hindsight....What are the likelihoods (justa guess) that Cleveland would have done either of the following deals instead- (Real deal- Nettles, Uhlaender, Bob Miller and Dean Chance for Tiant and Stan Williams)
Chance, Miller and Unlaender for Williams alone (Seems likely...maybe even without Miller?)
Chance, Miller and Uhlaender for Tiant (seems unlikely)
Anyone who remember back farther than I have thoughts on this?
01-12-2004, 04:05 PM
I think I'd take Nettles based on him being younger and having more of his career left. Tiant still had some pretty good years left in him but he was inconsistent.
01-12-2004, 09:42 PM
As I recall at the time of the trade we all thought the Indians had robbed the Twins. Of course, the Indians turned around and gave Nettles away too.
01-12-2004, 09:47 PM
That deal probably cost the Twins a good run of success post-Martin and drove them into mediocrity. They could have kept Killebrew at first full time.
01-12-2004, 10:24 PM
The most probably reason for Nettles trade looks was Rich Reese, who in 1969 had an incredible fluke season as 1B for the Twins, hitting 322 avg and 875 OPS (+141 LG) with 69 RBI in 419 AB and 132 games.
With that kind of hitter on 1b, the only spot for Killebrew was the 3B and Nettles was tradeable. In fact Nettles played 54 games in 1969 as part of a platoon LF group that included Allison, Tovar, Charlie Manuel and Ted Uhlander. They were not looking for power hitters 3B.
Meanwhile Tiant had 21-9, +184 ERA in 1968 and although he bounced in an ugly 1969, he was still considered a premium pitcher. Actually, Tiant had a nice 1970 season with the Twins until he fractured his shoulder.
The best seasons for Nettles or Tiant after the trade were far ahead of 1970. But probably if the Twins had been offered Reese by Tiant, the trade would be considered as one of the best of their history. But they fails choosing the wrong man.
Thanks for the responses. I found something interesting on the subject from the New York Times the week of the deal in which it sounds like Nettles was essentially a throw-in. Cal Griffith basically said that the Twins wanted to deal Chance for Tiant and Cleveland wouldn't do it, then Cleveland wanted to add Uhlaender to the deal and Minnesota countered that they wanted Wiliams. It really does sound like had they offered Reese or a decent prospect in place of Nettles that they could have gotten that deal done and kept Nettles at least until he was declared a free agent and bolted immedialtely for New York or elsewhere.
01-16-2004, 08:46 AM
Cal Griffith basically said that the Twins wanted to deal Chance for Tiant and Cleveland wouldn't do it,
I have a question: Why trade a 28-year right-hand starter for a 28-year right-hand starter? Does this kind of challenge trade mean anything to Twins?
01-20-2004, 11:13 AM
Even if the Indians had had Nettles (or Tiant, or both) it wouldn't have helped them in the 1970s. The question is, would the late 1970s Yankees have won without Nettles? I think he was the 1977 MVP.
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