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  • 20 Twins Trades: Garza and Bartlett for Delmon Young

    ​It's hard to imagine a scenario where the Twins would trade a promising young starting pitcher for a young stud hitter. However, back in 2007, that very scenario played out. While the trade did not work out for the Twins, the idea may not have been completely off-base. Of course, if the jewel of the trade was able to get on-base more, that may have helped.

    The Trade: BREAKDOWN!

    The Minnesota Twins traded Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett and Eduardo Morlan to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for Delmon Young, Brendan Harris and Jason Pridie.

    Young spent nearly four seasons with the Twins, posting a .287/.234/.429 triple slash. That works out to a 103 OPS. Not bad, but not what the Twins were looking for when they dealt Garza. Even in 2010, when Young provided good offensive value, that positive value was completely offset by putrid fielding. Harris was once labeled a "doubles machine" by a very stupid blogger/person writing this right now, but wasn't a very good player for a machine. Jason Pridie played 11 games for the Twins.

    ~~~
    Originally posted at Kevin Slowey was Framed! I also wrote about the J.C. Romero trade this week. Yep, that famous trade. If you ever wondered how much I despise Romero, it won't take you long to figure it out.

    ~~~

    Garza has been an average or better pitcher since he left the Twins. He gave the Rays two good seasons, one average season and then the Rays used him to acquire a package of prospects that included Chris Archer. Bartlett may have been the hidden jewel of the trade, providing the Rays with 10.0 WAR over the next three seasons. As the Rays are wont to do, they dispatched Bartlett once his value was used up. Morlan never reached the Majors.

    How did I feel at the time?


    I was furious. I loved Matt Garza. His debut was electric. He was young and seemed to represent a bit of a departure from the Twins' Radke-style pitchers of old. I loved Brad Radke too, don't get me wrong, but the Twins seemed hell-bent on replicating that success and finding a new Radke. Radke is rare, man. Garza was a fireballer and he was a spit-fire and he was other things related to flames as well. A flamethrower. Although, Delmon Young was on the cover of my 2005 Baseball America Prospect Handbook, so that soothed my fire. Not Garza's though.

    Why make the trade?


    All along, the Twins said that they wanted a clumsy outfielder who could get drunk and spout off bigoted remarks. Wait. This ESPN.com story explains it better:

    "Coming into the offseason our first priority was to improve our offense," new Twins general manager Bill Smith said. "We took a hit last week when Torii left, but Delmon Young has been the guy we've been targeting since the end of the season. We feel he is the best bat available, and we're excited to get him."


    It was not crazy at the time. It seemed reasonable that Young could replace Hunter's bat. The outfield defense was another story, but he was young and athletic. Well, when he stayed slim anyway. At least he was a good dude:

    Young, however, has a hotheaded history for a 22-year-old. The first overall pick in the 2003 draft famously flipped his bat into the chest of a Triple-A umpire in 2006 and received a 50-game suspension for that. He got a three-game ban in 2005 for bumping an umpire in Double-A.


    So...

    Of course, this was all very easy to explain:

    "He's got one bad incident on his record. He made a terrible mistake," Smith said. "We've done a lot of work on his makeup, and we've had an awful lot of people tell us he's a very good teammate, he's a fierce competitor, he wants to win, and he's the first one to arrive at the ballpark every day."


    I wonder how many umpires Smith talked to.

    The Rays were happy with their new toys:

    "He's a guy we project to get a lot better quickly," Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman said. "We feel like we strengthened two areas of need, shortstop and starting pitching."


    18.5 combined WAR over three years would seem to qualify under the category of "strengthened." Plus, Garza and Bartlett were later traded for about 50 prospects. Friedman also noted an old adage:

    "The trade is about the present, not the future. We're a better ballclub because of this deal," Friedman said. "To get good young players you have to give up something good, and that's what we did."


    Upon reading this, Delmon Young immediately tripped over his shoes and fell in a swimming pool.

    Garza chimed in with a quote:

    "He's ready to roll. That's what I like to hear. He made me feel at home, and all I can feel is that things are pointed on the up and up," Garza said from his home in Fresno, Calif. "It'll be fun to see how it plays out."


    Well that's just a bunch of nonsense. Is that how they talk in Fresno?

    But wait, the Rays can't get all the credit for this trade:

    Friedman called the right-handed Morlan "one of the best young bullpen prospects out there."


    Ha! Nice scouting, idiot! You only traded Delmon Young and Brendan Harris for two good players, not three! What a maroon! See, the Rays aren't perfect.

    Analysis


    Again, I don't disagree with the premise behind this trade. The 2008 rotation could have been reasonably projected to include promising young starters like Nick Blackburn, Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, Matt Garza, Boof Bonser, Francisco Liriano and Glen Perkins. Stop laughing; you stop laughing right now! The Twins offense wasn't great and was going to take a step backward with the midseason trade of Luis Castillo and then Torii Hunter's departure. Trading one of the young arms for a young bat was a logical idea. The players involved just weren't quite right.

    Garza was probably the best pitcher and possibly the best pitching prospect of the seven listed above. In addition, Garza has been the best pitcher since that trade, although that knowledge comes with the benefit of hindsight. Garza was also a bit of a loose cannon and may have been considered to be emotionally unstable (his recent Twitter rampage would back that idea up a bit). Delmon Young was considered a top notch hitting prospect. He was said to be a power/average guy with surprising speed. He did have surprising speed, I guess. The logic is there. The execution failed.

    What if we could substitute Ben Zobrist and Nick Blackburn for Young and Garza? What if we could invent a device that helps us travel back in time to stop ill-advised trades? What if we could make fuel out of ice cream? What if?

    Of course, there is the separate issue of the Twins not recognizing Jason Bartlett's value. Although, who is to say the Rays make this trade without Bartlett included?

    Who won the WAR?


    Garza for the Rays: 8.5 WAR

    Bartlett for the Rays: 10.0 WAR
    Young for the Twins: 0.9 WAR
    Harris for the Twins: -0.6 WAR
    Pridie for the Twins: -0.2 WAR

    WAR won by the Rays! Ouch.

    One Sentence Summary


    I mean, seriously, if we could fuel cars with ice cream, we could eat the fuel and solve the energy crisis at the same time.
    This article was originally published in blog: 20 Twins Trades: Garza and Bartlett for Delmon Young started by Brad Swanson
    Comments 10 Comments
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      We will dealing with two emotional bodies. Garza developed into an okay pitcher. He can be dominate. But like Young, I keep thinking he's thinking too much about the paycheck and, at times, not the team. When you start playing as an individual, you lose all track of consistency. Your numbers may look good, but your use to the team overall suffers.

      I kept having the feeling that Young felt he was a superstar and was playing in the shadow of Carl Crawford. He got the Subway spot and was told behind the doors that he was going to be one of the faces of the franchise, which I;'m sure he loved (with his glitterized Hummer and all) but the Twins also picked up a guy named Carlos Gomez who quickly overshadowed Young in popularity on and off the field, although who can say one was better than the other. Young was never able to capture the Hunter magic and fell further back as the M&M boys continued to dominate the team personality.

      I always found Young pleasant when I would stand out back of the Metrodome and gather autographs. He has an abundance of talent. But something is off kilter with the guy. He did okay with Detroit, but they let him walk, too. It is all about money. Remember, he was getting paid big bucks in seasons two and three due to his signing contract, which resulted in a need for even bigger bucks to keep him on your roster.

      Attitude and economics always don't mix.

      I remember how disappointed we were with the trade that the Rays wanted Morlan instead of Rincon, who we all wanted to dump on the Rays. Like so many traded prospect pitchers (dating back to Gassner and including Bowyer) we always think highly of prospects in this town it seems, especially those that never play a major elague game.

      Morlan is still around. Harris made it back with the Angels this year and now is in the Yankees organization. Bartlett couldn't draw a nibble. Pridie's brother played in the Twins minor league system before he came here.
    1. RodneyKline's Avatar
      RodneyKline -
      I said this was a bad trade even if it was only Bartlett for Young. When do you ever trade a proven Shortstop who can hit .300 for a corner outfielder. How tough is it to find a corner outfielder? Maybe Bonds fully juiced in his prime...maybe but not generally a smart move. Then you add in the loss of one of two pitchers that had the ability to be a #1 or #2 starter that the team still needs all these years later (Liriano is the other BTW). Besides if the team really needed an outfielder then sign Hunter to an extension. He would have signed for half of what he eventually signed for with the Angels. Another cheapskate move that we have become too familiar with in Minnesota. Also short sighted. Having Hunter finish out his career as a Twin would have eventually landed a statue of him climbing the wall to rob Bonds or someone else next to Herbie's! He would be at least as popular as every other player with a statue. OK maybe not Harmon...
    1. RegFCat's Avatar
      RegFCat -
      Is he a "maroon" or a "moron?"
    1. Brad Swanson's Avatar
      Brad Swanson -
      Quote Originally Posted by RegFCat View Post
      Is he a "maroon" or a "moron?"
      Depends on how much you love Bugs Bunny.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Or Deep Purple.

      I hated the trade at the time too. I wanted to see the Twins deal from their strength, but Garza was the one I'd have kept untouchable, Baker probably too. Of course, the other teams' scouts probably had a similar ranking and were offering squat for Slowey or Blackburn.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
      Or Deep Purple.

      I hated the trade at the time too. I wanted to see the Twins deal from their strength, but Garza was the one I'd have kept untouchable, Baker probably too. Of course, the other teams' scouts probably had a similar ranking and were offering squat for Slowey or Blackburn.
      There's a reason why it seems to be impossible to pry a pre-arb pitcher away from Ryan when he's GM. Despite his faults, he recognizes that it's a hell of a lot harder to find a decent starter than it is an outfielder.

      I still can't understand the thinking that went behind trading a multiple Cy Young winner and a pre-arb #2/3 pitcher in the same offseason. It boggles the mind.
    1. Badsmerf's Avatar
      Badsmerf -
      I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone that actually liked this trade. It was boneheaded on multiple levels.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Badsmerf View Post
      I think you'd be hard pressed to find someone that actually liked this trade. It was boneheaded on multiple levels.
      I think that's a lot of hindsight. As I remember it, more of the issue was with the inclusion of Bartlett, not with the Young-Garza swap.
    1. drjim's Avatar
      drjim -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      I think that's a lot of hindsight. As I remember it, more of the issue was with the inclusion of Bartlett, not with the Young-Garza swap.
      And people really freaked out about including Morlan.
    1. Brad Swanson's Avatar
      Brad Swanson -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      I think that's a lot of hindsight. As I remember it, more of the issue was with the inclusion of Bartlett, not with the Young-Garza swap.
      Agreed. It's hard to remember, but Young was widely considered a potential .300/30Hr/100RBI hitter and some thought he would do that consistently for a decade. Obviously, many were very wrong about Young, but at the time, the trade made sense.
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