The verdicts are coming in on the trade that sent Delmon Young, Brendan Harris and Jason Pridie from Tampa Bay to Minnesota for Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett and Eduardo Morlan.
ESPN's Rob Neyer says the Twins get a slight edge since they got the best player in Young.
Nick & Nick's Twins Blog thinks the Twins gave up too much. Twins Geek gives it a thumbs up and Seth Speaks says it's good, but not great. DRays Bays says it will improve the Rays.
I liked it a lot better for the Twins when Juan Rincon was initially reported to be in the deal instead of Morlan. Rincon may cost the Twins $4 million in arbitration this winter and he's declined the past two years and there are reports of a balky elbow (which the Twins have denied). Basically, he was expendible.
RotoWire's John Sickles rates Morlan as the 4th best Twins prospect. Athough he's a reliever he has a strong strikeout rate (a 99:20 K:BB ratio in 69.2 innings between High-A and Double-A last season). Pridie gives the Twins much needed outfield depth and will stick out like a sore thumb among Twins hitting prospects in the high minors, but he doesn't appear to have the upside of Morlan. So the difference between Morlan and Rincon is signficant.
Bartlett vs. Harris is kind of a wash. Harris is the better hitter, Bartlett the better fielder. The deal likely signals the Twins have another plan for SS, because Harris probably isn't a great regular there.
The deal comes down to Young vs. Garza. Both could be stars. Both have flaws. Young's on-base percentage last year (.316 OBA) was underwhelming despite his nice looking .288 BA and 93 RBI. He's had off-field issues (a 50-game suspension for throwing a bat at an umpire in the minors). Garza is still a pitching prospect - and they all carry risk more than a hitter. He also had some run-ins with Twins management when he didn't want to throw his breaking stuff as much as the team liked.
But the bottom line is that this is exactly the kind of deal the Twins needed to make. With two young players, this deal could look lopsided down the road. Maybe Garza or Young turns out to be a star while the other doesn't. But the Twins needed to trade pitching for hitting. The Twins have pitching prospects crawling out of the woodwork while there's scant a major league caliber hitter anywhere in the high minors. This trade is close enough even with Morlan thrown into the mix to be worth it. The Twins needed to take a chance on acquiring young hitters and Young (the 2003 No. 1 overall pick and 2005 Baseball America minor league player of the year) is about as good a hitting prospect you can get on the trade market.
It's also refreshing to see new Twins GM Bill Smith take some chances after former GM Terry Ryan was too conservative the past two years and didn't capitalize on his pitching wealth. Ryan had a team that was poised to win it all with a strong core of star players. This is the type of trade that should have been made long ago.