Fuld, of course, began the year on the A's roster, but he was caught in a numbers crunch and designated for assignment when Craig Gentry returned from the disabled list in April. He went on to bat .274 with a home run and 17 RBIs in 53 games for the Twins, including .358 in July, and reached base at an impressive .370 rate.
Gentry went back on the DL on Monday with a broken right hand, the same day the A's sent Coco Crisp to be reevaluated by doctors for ongoing neck issues, leaving a major void in center field.
The A's could very well have gotten more for Milone, but they were able to deal from a position of strength while taking care of one of their more pressing issues of the moment.
"It was driven by our immediate need for a center fielder," said general manager Billy Beane. "It seemed pretty foolish to take the chance the next three weeks when we weren't so sure about a position so critical, and we didn't want to lose Sammy at the beginning of the year and couldn't take the risk at a position so critical, having questions about it going forward."
Milone is reunited with catcher Kurt Suzuki in Minnesota, though he's expected to start his tenure in the Twins organization with Triple-A Rochester.
The 27-year-old southpaw went 6-3 with a 3.55 ERA and .245 opponents' average in 16 starts for the A's this year, including 6-0 with a 2.62 ERA over his final 11 starts, before learning he was the odd man out of the rotation when the club acquired Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Cubs on July 5.
That prompted his trade request, which was only fulfilled Thursday because of the A's ability to land another starter in ace Jon Lester as part of a shocking blockbuster deal with the Red Sox that sent Yoenis Cespedes to Boston. The trade also reunited Jonny Gomes with the A's.
This isn't the first trade of Milone's career. He was one of four players acquired by the A's from the Nationals in the Gio Gonzalez deal in winter 2011. He was 31-22 with a 3.84 ERA in 75 games, including 73 starts, in three seasons in Oakland.
With Fuld in tow, the A's have already optioned outfielder Billy Burns to Triple-A Sacramento. They also designated infielder Jake Elmore for assignment in the wake of the day's trades and will have to make one more 25-man roster move before all three players acquired report to Oakland.
"Nobody wanted to lose this guy back in April," Beane said of Fuld. "A guy who fits in with his personality, fits in perfectly in the clubhouse. Knowing Sam like we did know him, playing a great defensive outfield, it's something we weren't going to pass on. We were actually lucky a guy like him was available to us, because it would have been very easy for Minnesota to hold on to him."
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.