Fresh Wood for the Fire: The Bat Tosser Heads to ‘Sota

 

Delmon Young’s bat, pictured above, flies through the hitting zone, and occassionally at umpires.

The Twins and Rays just completed a very intriguing trade.  The main pieces of the deal, Delmon Young and Matt Garza, both have the potential to be all-stars.  This in of itself does not make the trade particularly interesting, but the fact that neither one has even begun his arbitration years does.  Trades such as this one, featuring young studs, rarely take place.  To evidence this, I ask you, can you think of a single noteworthy instance of a prospect for a prospect?

(Yes, Delmon Young finished 2nd in the rookie of the year voting last season so it may seem like he’s “established” and no longer a prospect, but that assumes the ROY voters did anything more than recognize a big name who had a decent season.  Delmon is nowhere near fully developed as a player, and has the talent to become a stud, something he certainly was not as a rookie, with only a .316 on-base-percentage, a .408 slugging percentage, and a horrific K/BB ratio.)

Also involved in the trade were four secondary characters: Eduardo Morlan, Jason Pridie, Jason Bartlett, and Brendan Harris.

Morlan and Bartlett head to the (no longer Devil) Rays and Harris and Pridie jet off from Florida to the winter wonderland that is Minnesota.  Morlan is a potential bullpen guy, Pridie a potential corner OF, but not projected to be a great player, Harris is a mediocre defensive SS/IF with a mediocre bat, and Bartlett is an adequate offensive player at short, given his defense is such a substantial upgrade for the Rays.  

So, in terms of absolute talent, the Rays won this trade.  However, in terms of pure potential, the Twins carry the day, with Young a potential perennial all-star if he can figure things out.  Garza should step in and be one of the Rays’ top three starters right away, with a chance to be a quality #2/3 starter on a play-off contender. 

What does this mean for both teams?

For Tampa Bay, it helps ease their logjam at the OF/DH position, while picking up a quality young starter, an upgrade at shortstop, and a potential reliever.  Throw this talent in with an absolutely stacked farm system, an improving and already quality line-up, and a couple nice arms already on their Major League roster (Scott Kazmir and James Shields in the rotation; newly signed Troy Percival, Al Reyes, Dan Wheeler, et al waiting around in the ‘pen), and we can be expecting a 4th place finish in the AL East!  To be fair, a team could win 85 games and possibly finish in 4th in that murderous division, so that should not discourage the Rays faithful (there are absolutely at least 17 members of that exclusive club).  I fully expect the Rays to begin to compete for the Wild Card by 2010, although they could get everything right, win 95 games, and still finish third behind the Red Sox and Yankees.  It’s a shame they can’t realign themselves into the NL Central, because they might challenge for that “title” as soon as next year if they only had to beat the worst division in AAAA.

For Minnesota, they have one of their corner OF spots taken care of for a decade.  They still must deal with Johan Santana, so their team is nowhere near completed.  But, if they get back the type of talent that has been rumored for Santana, they could be a contender as soon as 2009, with 2010 a more realistic timetable.  If the Twins were to receive Coco Crisp, Jed Lowrie, Justin Masterson, and Jon Lester from the Red Sox, as has been reported as a possiblity, they would successfully have found cheaper replacements for both Santana and Torii Hunter, while simultaneously picking up a new shortsop in Lowrie and a power arm for their ‘pen in Masterson.  Fixing their roster like that would be extremely impressive in such a short period of time.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: