Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Delmon Young to the Twins!

Bill Smith made a big splash today with his first major trade as GM of the Twins, landing outfielder Delmon Young, shortstop Brendan Harris, and outfielder Jason Pridie from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett, and pitcher Eduardo Morlan (and not, as reported earlier, Juan Rincon). The deal is likely to be just the first in a series of trades that transforms the Twins significantly from the squad that finished off the 2007 season.

As I mentioned earlier today, I'm very excited by the aggressive approach taken so far this off-season by GM Bill Smith. It seems very clear that he was determined going into the off-season not to follow the same strategy utilized by Terry Ryan last season -- a strategy which was based largely on gambling that one of several bargain-basement signings (Sidney Ponson, Ramon Ortiz, Jeff Cirillo) would pay off. Even though it didn't work in the end, there was at least a chance that it would pay off last season when the Twins still had Torii Hunter in center, Nick Punto was coming off of a solid season as the starting third baseman, and there were high hopes that Rondell White could stay healthy and hold down left field with Jason Kubel handling the DH duties. With things having changed so significantly for the Twins (Hunter's gone, White was a bust, Punto proved 2006 was a fluke), major surgery was necessary for the Twins to be remotely competitive next season and beyond. Smith simply could not afford to take such a conservative approach.

I'm not going to run through a comparison of stats and all the rest here -- you can find that stuff all over the place. All I'll say is that the Twins dealt from a position of strength to cover a weakness, and I like that. Delmon Young should be a good fit with the Twins (provided that he doesn't self-destruct and try to throw a bat at someone again), providing pop from the right side. Watching him strikeout might get a little old -- but I'll forgive him the K's if he becomes a perennial 35+ homerun hitter with a solid average. As for the shortstop swap, I don't know a lot about Brendan Harris, but I do know that Jason Bartlett regressed offensively and defensively in 2007, and I'm not particularly sad to see him go.

Finally, the Eduardo Morlan/Jason Pridie part of this deal merits some attention. There's no question that the Twins would have been better off had the Rays accepted Juan Rincon. Eduardo Morlan has been a very, very good minor league player for the Twins, but I simply can't say that a pitcher with just 4 innings of experience at the AA level was a surefire major leaguer. All signs point to him being a solid major league reliever some day -- but when? It hurts to lose him, and I'm not all that big on Pridie, but I also don't feel the tangible sense of loss that some (Seth, for instance) feel from his departure.

Bottom Line: I'm very excited about this deal, and think it's a very good way to start off a red hot trade season. Hopefully, Young can develop into a respectable replacement in the lineup for Torii Hunter. I'm more confident tonight in the Twins ability to compete next year than I was this morning, that's for sure. I can't wait to see what Smith cooks up next. Incidentally, I just saw that Rob Neyer is provisionally giving the "win" on this trade to the Twins -- with the understanding that Matt Garza could end up as a better player than Delmon Young, which would obviously flip the win. I agree with Neyer on this much -- we won't know the true "winner" for years, but for now the Twins got the better of things, and either way they improved their ballclub.



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