General manager Bill Smith explained that he’d discussed some names of prospects with the Indians, but ultimately decided the Twins would rather have $20,000 than a player.
First of all, I really hope none of the players Minnesota passed up for $20,000 ever find out about it, because that would be pretty demoralizing. And beyond that, the thought of one MLB team with a $50 million payroll sending another MLB team with a $115 million payroll a check for $20,000 seems fairly silly.
Basically the Twins just gave Thome to the Indians, or perhaps more accurately let Thome go to a quasi-contender for nothing.
Thome has hit just .258 with two homers and a .725 OPS in 16 games since the trade and the Indians quickly ceased being in contention following his arrival, but Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes that he’s probably been worth $20,000 in additional ticket (or beer or “Thome” jersey”) sales.
Perhaps the Twins figured the $20,000 could at least pay for some of those “wind-up walker” dolls.