Rays trade Delmon Young to Twins for Garza in six player deal

November 28, 2007 at 9:04 pm 26 comments

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The Minnesota Twins acquired potential superstar outfileder Delmon Young from the Tampa Bay Rays today for pitcher Matt Garza. The deal was also expanded to include utility infielder Brendan Harris and OF prospect Jason Pridie going to the Twins and shortstop Jason Bartlett and minor league pitcher Eduardo Morlan to the Rays. I gotta be honest; I’m not totally getting this trade yet.

I’ve had some time to ponder and try to make sense of this trade and the only thing I can come up with is that the Rays grew tired of Delmon Young’s antics. But, even if they grew tired of his antics, I believe they could’ve gotten more from him in another trade.
Delmon Young possesses an amazing bat. He has a pure hitter’s stroke. He hits the ball to all fields and has developing power to all fields. I won’t forget the Rays home opener last season when Delmon came up in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs and down by 3 and he hit an opposite field homer off of B.J. Ryan to tie the game. Young also has the best, that’s right, THE BEST, arm in all of professional baseball. He is still under the team’s financial control for 5 more years and for under $1M the next 2 years.

The Rays must’ve grown tired of him. I had a few conversations with him off the record and without going into details I’ll tell you he has a long way to go to mature. Elijah Dukes, in my experiences, had a better approach to fans and media than Young did. He has a history of problems and lack of off field discipline (bat throwings, player arguments, manager arguments, and arguments with upper management). The Rays also grew tired of his lack of discipline at the plate (he swung and an AMAZING 51.4% of first pitches and he swung and missed on 19.8% of all pitches). I went to a dozen games last year and I would try to bet my friends that he would swing and miss at the first pitch in every at-bat. I kid you not that he must’ve missed at least 90% of the first pitches he saw in his at-bats. Teams were throwing sliders off the outside corner with the first pitch because they knew he would chase it.

One last reason they would trade young is because they think the combination of Jonny Gomes and Rocco Baldelli can handle RF. Young showed below average range in RF last year and that isn’t a testament to his lack of ability but more to his lack of hustle.
The Rays are gambling big time here. They are giving up a highly potential superstar that has Hall-of-Fame talent.

One other thing I don’t get is that the Twins actually think he can handle CF. One report has him playing LF which is better than him playing CF but he belongs in RF with his cannon. He played 29 games in center and he makes the routine plays with ease. But when it comes to ranging left, right, behind, or in front he has no idea where the ball will land. The Twins will probably have to move him to RF and move Michael Cuddyer to LF and find a new CF shortly after the season starts.

The four other players the Twins and Rays got were extra players for the Twins and the Rays got a starting shortstop. Brendan Harris was the third worst shortstop in the Majors (behind Jeter and Hanley Ramirez) at Plus/Minus (balls missed that should’ve been made and balls made that should’ve been missed) range with -19. While Jaon Bartlett had a +18 and has the 2nd best Plus/Minus total over the last 3 years with +45, trailing only Adam Everett. Harris is a utility backup at best with SS being is his worst defensive position and his bat not being able to carry 3B. He may move Alexi Casilla to short so he can play 2B.

Bartlett, like I mentioned above, has great range and a good arm. His hands could be a little softer but he will still be the best SS the Rays have put out on the field (that’s pretty sad huh). Bartlett doesn’t offer much more than gap power but he will hit in the .265-.280 range and he takes pitches, something the Rays need in their lineup. He also has good speed, stealing 23 last season and only being caught 3 times. He will fit nicely into the #9 slot in the lineup. Here is what the lineup will probably look like in 2008:

1. Iwamura – 2B
2. Crawford – LF
3. Upton – CF
4. Pena – 1B
5. Longoria – 3B
6. Gomes – RF/DH
7. Baldelli – DH/RF
8. Navarro/Riggans – C
9. Bartlett – SS

The Twins lineup will be harder to guess because I’m not sure if Harris is the answer at SS. Just to speculate, here is a guess at what the lineup could be:

1. Casilla – 2B
2. Kubel – DH
3. Mauer – C
4. Morneau – 1B
5. Cuddyer – RF
6. Young – LF
7. Harris – SS
8. Punto – 3B
9. ?? – CF

Not exactly the best looking lineup. It’s solid from 3-6 but there is not leadoff hitter, Matt Macri may be their best option at 3B, and they have no CF still. If the Twins trade Johan Santana then look for them to trade Joe Nathan and start a small rebuilding process that might take a year or two.

The other two players in the deal were OF prospect Jason Pridie, whom the Twins took in the Rule-V draft last year and returned, and minor league pitcher Eduardo Morlan who has a live arm and could be a viable reliever in the Majors in another year or two. Morlan had a 3.10 ERA and had a 99/20 K/BB rate in 69.2 IP while holding opponents to a .217 average. In 2006 he posted a 2.29 ERA in 106.1 IP with a 125/38 K/BB rate and allowed a .202 average against. The only knock on him is that he is a fly ball pitcher with a 0.58 GB/FB ratio over the last two seasons.

And lastly, the key piece the Rays got was young starting pitcher Matt Garza. Garza has #1-3 starter potential. He flashes a plus fastball and when he has command of his breaking pitches they can be plus-plus. He never has trouble in the minors posting ERAs of .356 in two 2005 stops, 1.42 ERA in one 2006 stop, 2.51 ERA in another 2006 stop, then 1.85 in his last 2006 stop. He posted a 3.62 in AAA last year. In 2006 he posted a 5.76 in his rookie season in only 50 IP. Not enough to call him a bust. He rebounded last year in 83 IP to post a 3.69 in the Majors. He will slot nicely into the Rays rotation and allow the Rays to groom some AAA starters out in the bullpen or in AAA a little longer.

Just the name Delmon Young makes this trade in favor of the Twins but the Rays got 3 good pieces while giving up one piece that they grew tired of from day one.

-Jonathan C. Mitchell

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Rays close to signing Troy Percival to a multiyear deal Mets send Milledge to Nats for Schneider and Church

26 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Charlie Nehl  |  November 28, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    Wow. What is the Rays front office smoking?!!??! Seriously, Delmon Young has an infinitely better shot at being a Superstar that Matt Garza is, infact, I’d honestly say that he’s like 75% there opposed to Garza’s 30% or so. Don’t get me wrong, Garza has the potential to being a ace in the league, but I think Young would have been worth more in the long run. Also granted Bartlett, if I remember correctly is a pretty good defender, so that will help out matters a lot. Also, if anything they should have kept Young and let him “cook” a little longer then trade him for a mess load of prospects.

    I’m with you on not getting this trade Jonathan my boy. *8cratches Head*

    Signing Percival would be pretty good move though.

    Reply
  • 2. Aaron Boynton  |  November 28, 2007 at 10:56 pm

    Twins got the best of this deal. Young and Harris are better than Garza and Bartlett.

    Reply
  • 3. Erik  |  November 29, 2007 at 5:39 am

    Rays traded the wrong Outfielder to get a decent not great starting pitcher and someone who better be more than a stop gap at Short. I do not like this deal at ALL!!!! If it had been Elijah Dukes, or Baldelli I probably would have found this a little easier to swallow but sending their best Outfielder for Garza doesn’t really make me think Yeah… Rays can now challenge the AL east elite. They need some other pitchers who have a winning track record.

    Reply
  • 4. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  November 29, 2007 at 10:04 am

    Aaron – I disagree about Harris and Bartlett. Bartlett is way better than Harris. The numbers prove it. Harris was nothing special when I saw him. He is adequate where Bartlett is a very good shortstop.

    Reply
  • 5. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  November 29, 2007 at 10:08 am

    Erik – Delmon is not their best outfielder, Upton and Crawford are both better. The Rays really didn’t want another Dukes on their hands and they wanted to get good value for him in case he crashes and burns. I’m telling you, I’ve spoken with him numerous times and he needs to fix a lot of things before he reaches superstar status. Garza gives the Rays a lot as does Bartlett. The Rays fixed holes in their staff with the trade and signing yesterday. Do I think the Twins got the best player? Of course. But the Rays weren’t too far off base by making this trade. They are a better team in 2008 now.

    Reply
  • 6. Erik  |  November 29, 2007 at 11:11 am

    Jonathan- I just said they traded the wrong OFer Delmon Young has promise… He’ll be a good OF. Crawford is the best OFer the Rays have and would need something more substantial than Garza in return. Upton is an OFer because he can’t play the infield and he is athletic enough that he can be tried anywhere. Dukes is someone that needs a change of scenary. Baldelli is injury prone and should now be a corner OFer instead of the CFer.

    Is this a decent trade YES it is… Is it a trade that makes me think the Rays are going to challenge the rest of the AL East… NO.I think the rays did very well getting a starter they can slot behind Kazmir and Sheilds. They got a SS who is decent and have a potential arm in the the bullpen. I think the best player in the deal went to the Twins in Delmon Young. But the second, third and fourth best player went to the Rays. Does this make them better I agree for 2008. Glad to see they are active. Will this deal work out who knows it is not even december yet.

    Reply
  • 7. Joi  |  November 29, 2007 at 11:21 am

    Rays fans will miss that arm being out there in right field! He can gun down runners like no ones business. Yes he does need to mature, thats a fact. Only time will tell now between the Rays and Twins who got the better deal and I hope we can say it’s the Rays!

    Reply
  • 8. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  November 29, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    Erik – I agree with Dukes, Baldelli… I just don’t think Young was the wrong one to deal. I really think the Rays are tired of him and they don’t want another Elijah Dukes (no trade value) on hand.

    I agree too that it is only December. Man, I love baseball! It’s a year round sport!

    Reply
  • 9. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  November 29, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    Joi – What’s up girl! Glad to see you over here! I will miss watching him throw frozen ropes from RF to 3B on no bounce. That is not an exaggeration either. His arm is that good, and he’s accurate. I think both teams think they got the better deal but only time will tell. In the here and now it looks like a push, maybe a slight edge to the Rays if Young plays the same.

    Reply
  • 10. Ashley  |  November 29, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    I’m actually happy with this trade. The Rays got another starter, which they really needed. Kazmir = #1 and Shields = #2 but 3,4,5 were open. Jackson got better as the year went on and I like his potential and I really like Andy Sonnanstine. I would love to see Kazmir, Shields, Garza, Jackson and Sonnanstine on the starting rotation. Add Balfour, Wheeler, (Percival?), Reyes with the bullpen, plus whoever else ends up there the pitching looks much better. Pitching was our biggest problem and the Rays are addressing it. It’s sad to see Young go b/c he has so much potential but he also comes with problems and immaturity that the Rays don’t need right now. Like Friedman said, this deal is about the present, not the future and right now we need pitching. I liked Harris but Bartlett is an upgrade, especially at short. I wanted Harris to stay at 2B but with Longoria coming up if I had to choose between Iwamura and Harris I would choose Iwamura, it’s not even a question. Now we will keep Crawford in LF, Upton in CF, Gomes (I hope) in RF, use Baldelli as a DH/Utility outfielder and save his hamstring. All in all, I like this deal.

    Reply
  • 11. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  November 29, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    I like that rotation as well. I would pull the plug on Jackson though if he gets lit up early. Sonnantine is a good #5 starter. He is durable and throws a ton of strikes. This move really helps the team out in the present.

    Reply
  • 12. Ashley  |  November 29, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    Pull the plug as in…take him out of the game? Or as in…take him out of the starting rotation, move him to AAA and bring up Jeff Niemann or Mitch Talbot for #5 and move Sonnanstine to #4? I’m up for either.

    Reply
  • 13. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  November 29, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    Pull the plug as take him out of the rotation or trade him while he’s young and cheap. Bring up Talbot. Niemann is the closer of the future for the Rays. You heard it hear first. Niemann belongs in the pen and will be a Joe Nathan type of closer.

    Reply
  • 14. Ashley  |  November 29, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    When do you think Niemann will come up to the majors? Think he’ll make it up this year? Do you expect him to be the starting closer next year?

    Reply
  • 15. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  November 29, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    I think he’ll be up in 2008, maybe by mid-June. I hope the Rays start him out in the pen when he reaches the Majors. Most dominate relievers started out as starters (Joe Nathan, Mariano Rivera, Papelbon, Cordero…). Ii think he could be the closer soon or by mid 2009.

    Reply
  • 16. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  November 29, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    The Rays have incquired about Geoff Jenkins to play RF. Not a good move by the Rays. They already have Gomes and Baldelli to split RF/DH and Dukes is there too.

    Reply
  • 17. Erik  |  November 29, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    Geoff Jenkins is as good a fit in Tampa Bay as Carl Everett was with Seattle. I think if Geoff Jenkins should go anywhere it is to an NL team… Maybe the mets if they trade carolos gomez and lastings milledge to get Haren or Blanton. I see him as a platoon player these days and RF is a crowded position for the Rays right now with Baldelli probably moving there, Gomes and Dukes if he stays with the team. What they need is pitching depth both in the rotation and in the pen. Possibly some bench help.

    They seem pretty set position player wise.
    1b- Pena
    2b Iwamura
    SS- Bartlett
    3b Longoria/Iwamura
    OF- Crawford
    OF- Upton
    OF- Baldelli/Gomes…

    Maybe the Twins will shock the world and Trade Johan Santana to the Devil Rays? After all the minor league system the rays have seems to develop some nice young players… they got some arms from many of their dump deals I would give up Upton, Neimann and some other low level prospect for Johan Santana…jk… but if you think about it… maybe if they decided to spend spend spend…

    Reply
  • 18. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  November 29, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    The Johan trade is wishful thinking. I always said that the only player I would take in return for Crawford would be Santana but I don’t think I’d do that now. Crawford is worth more as a 156 game a year player making $6-10M each of the next 3 seasons than Santana is as a one year player or a 6 year $20M per season pitcher.

    Reply
  • 19. Erik  |  November 29, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    I agree which is why I didn’t even mention crawford..

    Reply
  • 20. Ashley  |  November 30, 2007 at 9:31 am

    Geoff Jenkins? Why would they be thinking that? We have enough outfielders.

    Reply
  • 21. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  November 30, 2007 at 10:59 am

    That’s what I’m screaming Ashley! I guess they figure you can never have enough. I wouldn’t mind him if he were a backup and cheap but neither of those will be true.

    Reply
  • 22. Charlie Nehl  |  November 30, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    Geoff Jenkins has zero value outside of Wisconsin as long as Brett Fav-ree is tossing the pigskin for the Packers. It was a running joke of a former boss of mine (whom we are avid Packer haters), say that sometimes Geoff Jenkins just signs his autographs as Brett Favre since they look so much a like.

    Reply
  • 23. Ashley  |  November 30, 2007 at 1:49 pm

    They aren’t planning to get rid of Baldelli or Gomes to pick up Jenkins are they? I like Gomes even though sometimes he frustrates me and Baldelli is one of my favorites despite his lingering hamstring problems. I hope this is one of those stories that you read once and then never hear about again. With so many other positions to fill they need to leave the outfield alone. Have we heard anything else about a catcher? I heard once that they were considering Paul Lo Duca (is that La Duca?) but I think that is over with. Any other prospects? and…why did they get rid of Casanova? I liked him as a potential catcher.

    Reply
  • 24. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  November 30, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    There is no word of them getting rid of Gomes or Baldelli. The Jenkins thing is more of a “tire kicking” thing. They wanted to know his availability. He would be insurance in case Baldelli is injured.

    No word on a catcher yet. Casanova was old and not worth the roster spot. I’d rather give Navarro a little more time than give the job to Casanova. John Jaso is the catching prospect that I like the best. He can flat out hit but needs more catching development and he needs to be healthy too.

    Reply
  • 25. Jonathan C. Mitchell  |  December 1, 2007 at 10:33 am

    Dukes is at it again:

    Dukes, 23, reacted emotionally and angrily to a third-strike call, going chest-to-chest with an umpire after he was ejected in the ninth inning. He had to be restrained by several teammates at different times.

    “It got a little ugly,” said Jesus Campos, baseball operations vice president of the host Gigantes team. “If it wasn’t for (teammate) Andy Tracy holding him back, things could have gotten a lot worse. … It definitely wasn’t a safe situation for the umpire because (Dukes, 6-2, 250) is a big guy.”

    Dukes objected to a strike call in his first at-bat. He was hit by a pitch in his next at-bat, flung his bat to the ground and on his way to first made a suggestive gesture to the crowd, which had been jeering him. He also had words with the catcher when he shook his head after taking a pitch.
    -TBO.com

    Reply
  • 26. erik  |  December 2, 2007 at 10:15 am

    Only team that may take a chance on Dukes just got Lastings Milledge and even if the Nationals trade for him Dukes’ stock is so down that the Nationals can trade back a cup of gatorade in the deal and the Rays might have to jump on it.

    Reply

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