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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Garza Out, Young In

As mentioned, the first domino has fallen, and it couldn't be a more clear sign that more are yet to fall.

Yes Twins fans, in what was a move that us Twins fans are not used to after old GM Terry Ryan's reign of standing pat and sticking to the plan, the Twins completed a 6-player deal with the Tampa Bay Rays today that I guess could be described as a blockbuster.


Twins trade: P, Matt Garza/SS, Jason Bartlett/P, Eduardo Morlan

Twins receive: OF, Delmon Young/SS, Brendan Harris/OF Jason Pridie


My initial reaction... I like the deal!

I like the Twins being in the headlines, I like the excitement, but let's analyze the deal a bit closer. The main component is Young for Garza. In Garza, the Twins lose a POTENTIAL stud and I emphasize potential. Garza has nasty stuff, great minor league numbers, and rocketed through the Twins minor leagues. BUT... he is a young pitcher who could blow out his arm, become the next "sure thing" like former Twins No. 1 pick Adam Johnson who lasted no more than 9 games in the majors, or simply become a solid No. 3 starter.

I like the deal because I truly think Young WILL be a stud. Former No.1 overall pick in 2003 and younger brother of Nationals' 1B Dimitri Young, Delmon Young is a 22-year old 5 tool player and future All-Star. In his first full season, where the durable Young played in all 162 games, Young batted .288 with 13 homeruns and 93 RBI's. Certainly, no All-Star numbers, but for 10 years younger and roughly 1/15 the cost, I'd say just fine numbers to replace Torii Hunter. With those numbers Young actually was the runner-up in the American League Rookie of the Year award.

Known most for his infamous 50-game suspension due to tossing his bat at an umpire during his stint in Triple-A, Young has some questions about his make-up but was an 18-year old No. 1 pick with lots of money and is believed to have grown up. Plus, Garza has had his own run-ins with Manager Ron Gardenhire. My only knock on Young is his plate discipline. Last year, Young walked only 26 times while striking out 127. Hopefully, his maturation as a hitter along with the coaching and emphasis on patient hitting from the Twins will serve Young well.

The second facet of the deal is the swapping of shortstops. The Twins surprisingly swap 28-year old starting SS, Jason Bartlett, for 27-year old SS, Brendan Harris. In Bartlett, you have a very solid defensive player with great speed and an adequate bat. In Harris, you have a bat with a little more pop and some power potential, but an average at best defensive player with average speed. This part of the deal is a clear sign to me of more trades to come. I would be shocked to see Harris as the Twins opening day shortstop, but he could be a great backup middle infielder or split some time with Nick Punto and Alexi Casilla at 2B and possibly 3B. Maybe trading Bartlett opens a spot for Jose Reyes in a Santana deal....maybe?

The 3rd and final part of the deal is the one receiving the most criticism from Twins fans. The original deal would have sent Twins pitcher Juan Rincon, which would have gotten his $4 million salary of the books and eliminated the concern over some arm troubles he has had. However, those arm concerns seemed great enough to the Rays that the Twins were forced to add minor league reliever, 21-year old Eduardo Morlan. Rincon is clearly a bigger name, but my research shows that Morlan is regarded as a stud prospect and could have been a potential replacement for Joe Nathan in the future. I don't know a lot about Morlan, but this a part of a deal that you can look back in 5 years and say Eduardo who? or... why did we ever get rid of that guy!?!?

No matter your feelings on the deal, it is a big and bold move for new GM Bill Smith and in my opinion, I can't get over the thought of a middle of the order consisting of Mauer, Young, Morneau, and Cuddyer!

La Velle E. Neal III, gives his thoughts with a glimpse of what is next to come.

Rob Neyer of ESPN asks, so who won?

I'd love to hear how you feel about the deal? Good/Bad/Ugly?

1 comment:

Dad said...

You explained it to me well John. So I feel better about the trade. But I always enjoy watching the Twins bring up their draft picks and groom them into great players. So I will miss that with Garza but Young looks like an interesting project as well. I still think they might get rid of Joe Nathan and eventually make Liriano the closer to save his arm! Dad