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The Five Biggest Free-Agent Busts in the History of the Minnesota Twins

These Five Players Remind Twins Fans Why They Choose to Develop Their Talent Instead of Buying It

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | We all make mistakes but when you're a professional sports team like the Minnesota Twins, those mistakes are put under a broader microscope.

While the Twins have decided to lean on their farm system more than free agency to build a team, that hasn't prevented them from making major mistakes when it comes to patching a hole on the roster.

Here's a look how some of those mistakes turned out to be the biggest free-agent busts in the history of the franchise:

5. Mike Lamb

It's always interesting when a player who wasn't entrenched at a position with his former team gets an opportunity with someone else. After all, baseball has seen a lot of success stories begin when someone gets a fresh start.

After being a super-utility player for the Houston Astros for several seasons, the Twins decided to give Lamb a shot to fill the black hole in their lineup at third base.

Lamb took the opportunity and ... fell flat on his face.

Lamb's .232 average wasn't the only problem as he hit one home run in 81 games for the Twins. That was enough and the Twins shipped him to Milwaukee for a bag of baseballs later that summer.

4. Tony Batista

Looking for a third baseman that could provide some power, the Twins unearthed Tony Batista from Japan in the winter of 2006. With high home run totals throughout his career, the Twins saw potential with his bat in the middle of their lineup.

Alas, T-Bat couldn't get back up to speed upon his return to Major League Baseball, and he lasted 51 games before being handed one of the most insulting punishments in baseball by being benched for Nick Punto.

3. Rondell White

The Twins wanted to bolster the middle of their lineup heading into the 2006 season, so they decided to get sneaky and sign White to be their designated hitter.

Instead, the Twins got several disabled-list stints from White that limited him to 137 games over two seasons with the team.

Things didn't get better when he was on the field, either, as he hit .229 in a Twins uniform and retired from baseball after the 2007 season.

2. Butch Huskey

In 2000, the Twins thought they were getting a steal by signing Huskey to be their everyday designated hitter. The one-year, $500,000 contract looked like a steal for someone who could have a breakout year at age 28.

But Huskey never got going with the Twins. He hit five home runs in 64 games with the team, and that was enough for the general manager Terry Ryan to ship him to the Colorado Rockies at the end of July.

Ironically, Huskey's bat would explode for the Rockies' playoff push the final two months and hit like they player the Twins thought they were getting when the season began.

1. Tsuyoshi Nishioka

With a slew of names attempting to hold down second base the position no avail, former general manager Bill Smith decided to go overseas to sign Nishioka prior to the 2011 season.

There was a lot of hype for the young infielder after he had a monster year with the Chiba Lotte Marines in 2010, and the Twins were so certain the success would translate to the United States that they traded away shortstop J.J. Hardy to make room.

The hype lasted one week as Nishioka broke his leg on a take-out slide from Nick Swisher, and he never recovered, batting .215 in two seasons with the team. After a failed attempt to convert him to shortstop, the Japanese import asked out of his contract after the 2012 season while Hardy thrived upon his arrival in Baltimore.

Chris Schad is a lifelong Twins follower that has spent a majority of his life cheering the Twins on through the dark '90s and success of five American League Central championships in the 2000s. His work has also been published on Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @crishad.

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