November 29, 2007

Twins-Rays: Comparing Players

UPDATE: The deal became official after this was finished, and Juan Rincon was taken out of the final trade. Instead, the Twins have included Eduardo Morlan. Make sure to check out the full details.

The deal that would bring Delmon Young to the Twins is currently not official, and there is even a rumor that it is being held up by Juan Rincon's elbow. Whether or not the deal gets finalized soon, I've decided to compare the players the Twins will be sending to the Rays with the players they will be receiving.

It won't exactly be perfect, because comparing pitchers and position players is a little difficult. Nonetheless, I'll try to point out some different things out.

Matt Garza vs. Delmon Young
This is the base of the deal, and the biggest players going both ways. While it might be hard for the Twins to give up Garza, pitching is their only way to get offense other than signing players, and that is sometimes difficult with their low budget.

Delmon Young will step into the lineup immediately, and becomes one of the team's best hitters. With Hunter gone, there is a chance that Young could play center, but there is an equal chance that he plays left, and the Twins either sign someone else to play center, or Pridie gets a shot.

Matt Garza went 5-7 last season, and posted a 3.69 ERA. In 83 innings of work, Garza struck out 67 batters, and walked 32.

Delmon Young, in his rookie season, played in all 162 games for the Devil Rays. He hit for a .288 average, and hit 13 homeruns while driving in 93 runners. He is very athletic, and has a very strong arm in the outfield. You may have heard his name for more reasons that his play, and that's because while in AAA, Young received a 50-game suspension for flipping the bat at the umpire's chest.

Jason Bartlett vs. Brendan Harris
This part of the deal is basically the swapping of shortstops. You may ask why the Twins would give up Bartlett, or why the Rays, if Harris is potentially better than Bartlett, would give him up.

The reason the Rays are willing to give him up, is because they are looking for a permanent shortstop, and don't see Harris as a shortstop. Last season, he played at short, but played a lot of his games at second base as well.

Jason Bartlett played in 140 games for the Twins this past season, and missed some time due to a couple different injuries. In his 140 games, Bartlett hit for a .265 average, and drove in 43 runners. In addition to this, he hit 5 homeruns, and stole 23 bases.

Brendan Harris can play both second and short, and if the Twins do get him, there is a big chance that he'll be the everyday guy at short. This past season, Harris hit .286, and knocked in 59 runners. Harris also has more power than Bartlett, and hit 12 homeruns.

One other thing that I should point out is that Harris is a year younger than Bartlett at 27 years old.

Juan Rincon vs. Jason Pridie
The final two players really aren't comparable for a couple different reasons. Not only are their positions completely different, but Pridie is by far a much more valuable asset to the Twins than Rincon could ever be.

This past season, Rincon pitched in 63 games for the Twins. He lost his setup role early in the season, and became a middle innings guy. In his 63 games, Rincon pitched 59.2 innings, and posted a 5.13 ERA. Rincon walked 28 hitters, and struck out 49.

Jason Pridie, if Delmon Young takes over left instead of center, could have a chance to compete for the starting role if the Twins make no other move to fill the void. He has never played in the majors, but this past season put up great numbers at AAA.

In 63 games at AAA, Pridie posted a .318 average, and knocked in 39 runners. He also hit 10 homeruns, and collected 12 stolen bases. Pridie is a rising prospect, and could be a good pickup for the Twins.

One other thing on Rincon is that he is set to make more than $3 million this next season, and isn't worth that for the Twins since they already have Crain, Neshek, and Guerrier.

One More Thing
I'll have an actual post with thoughts on this, but I wanted to mention it here right away.

This trade has a good shot to change what the Twins look for in a Santana trade. With Young, and Pridie in the outfield, there is a great chance that the Twins will not want anymore outfielders in the trade. This could hurt the Yankees chances as Melky would be out of the deal, and they'd have to throw in something else.

Instead, I'd expect them to try and fill the third base position, possibly second base, and then obviously some starting pitcher to take not only Johan's spot, but also Garza.