OAKLAND -- Less than a week after making a trade for Jaime Garcia in an apparent move to make a run at the postseason, the Twins reversed course and shipped the left-hander to the Yankees on Sunday in exchange for lefty Dietrich Enns and Minor League prospect Zack Littell.Garcia won
OAKLAND -- Less than a week after making a trade for Jaime Garcia in an apparent move to make a run at the postseason, the Twins reversed course and shipped the left-hander to the Yankees on Sunday in exchange for lefty Dietrich Enns and Minor League prospect Zack Littell.
Garcia won in his only start with the Twins on Friday, four days after being acquired from the Braves, but had become expendable before that. Minnesota, which was a half-game out of first place on July 20, entered Sunday a season-high seven games off the pace in the American League Central, convincing the team's front office to go in a different direction.
The Twins fell into a slump while the two teams ahead of them in the division -- Cleveland and Kansas City -- heated up. Heading into Sunday's series finale in Oakland, Minnesota had dropped seven of its previous 10 games, while the Indians and Royals both were 9-1 over that span.
"Our people in our front office have been monitoring where we've been at, and the truth is, things have changed in the last 10 days, as far as a couple teams getting hot and we've had a little bit tough time closing some games out," manager Paul Molitor said. "It's just kind of how the business is. You try to make the best decisions that you can and I think we have to trust those things. I wish him well."
Second baseman James Dozier said that the Twins' goal remains the same, despite the trade.
"I don't think we look at it as a change in course, unless something else crazy happens," Dozier said. "Obviously Garcia's a guy we were looking forward to helping us down the stretch, but for the most part this is the exact same team that was in first place for, whatever, two or three months, so we just have to go out and play.''
Not long after news of the trade broke, the Twins closed their clubhouse and Molitor held a team meeting with his players.
"It was a matter of focusing on things that you can control, reminding them that the collection of people out there, for the most part, are the ones that were in first place for a long part of the season," Molitor said. "It's kind of in our hands where we want to take it from here. We just keep playing.
"I think these guys, they understand. I'm sure there's some disappointment when you make an addition that is as short-term as Jaime's stay was with us. The timing of these things, if you look externally and you want to point somewhere else, for me it was always a time if somebody's making a move then I better look at myself. What did I do? What didn't I do? What can I do better? If I want those things to work in our favor more frequently, look inward. Don't look outward."
Still, Molitor acknowledged it might be a bitter pill for some players to swallow considering the Twins were active buyers a week ago.
"Get over it," Minnesota's skipper said. "That's the way it works. We are where we are. We're one good run away from having this thing have a little bit different look just the way the last 10 days went against us. It hasn't changed our focus of what we're going to try to do here."
Garcia had one of the shortest stints in franchise history by any player.
"Unless we bring him back, he'll go down as one of the few undefeated pitchers in Twins history," Molitor quipped.
Minnesota might not be done making moves before the non-waiver Trade Deadline, which is Monday at 4 p.m. ET. All-Star pitcher Ervin Santana, closer Brandon Kintzler and Dozier are all rumored to be available.
"I'm not anticipating them [being traded]," Molitor said. "I know that there'll be a lot of conversations about players around the game, including some of ours that people might have interest in. That will be measured and decided upon."
The Twins haven't decided who will replace Garcia in the rotation. The plan is to activate center fielder Byron Buxton off the disabled list and have him join the club in San Diego on Tuesday. Minnesota doesn't have a need for a starting pitcher until Thursday when the team returns home to host Texas.
Michael Wagaman is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area. He covered the Twins on Sunday.