November 29, 2007


Breaking Down The Blockbuster (Aaron Gleeman, 11/29/07)

[O]nce you get past the Garza-for-Young portion of the swap it tilts pretty heavily in the Devil Rays' favor both short and long term.

Garza ranked as the team's No. 1 prospect heading into the season and pitched well after being called up from Triple-A in July, posting a 3.69 ERA and 67-to-32 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 83 innings. A 2005 first-round pick who turned 24 years old earlier this month and won't be eligible for free agency until after the 2013 season, Garza looks capable of being a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter right now and has the potential to be a No. 1 starter down the road if his secondary pitches improve.

Morlan ranked as the team's No. 8 prospect coming into the season and improved his stock by posting a 3.10 ERA and 99-to-20 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 70 innings between high Single-A and Double-A. The 21-year-old former third-round pick has dominated in the minors and projects as a late-inning reliever who could be ready to make a significant big-league impact as soon as 2008. Meanwhile, Rincon is set to make about $4 million via arbitration and is in the midst of a steady decline.

Last but not least the Twins surprisingly sent their 28-year-old starting shortstop packing, although perhaps it isn't such a shock given the lengths that they went to avoid handing Bartlett the starting gig in the first place. Bartlett remained at Triple-A in favor of Juan Castro long after he'd proven himself in the minors and then hit .282/.350/.374 with 33 steals and strong defense in 239 games after finally taking over for Castro in mid-2006, yet a hitting-starved team with no clear replacement just let him go.

The package that the Twins received in return for Garza, Morlan, and Bartlett essentially means that Young must become a superstar for the trade to be successful.

Not only will the Rays head into the season with their best 25 man roster ever, they also have elite prospects at 3b (Evan Longoria), ss (Reid Brignac), of (Desmond Jennings), & sp (Jeff Niemann, Jacob McGee, Wade Davis, David Price). If you were to choose one system to try and contend in the AL East with over the next five seasons, it might be that you'd have to choose Tampa over the Sox and Yanks, though it could be a year or two before they put it all together.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 29, 2007 8:25 AM

The Rays have the chick from Desparate Housewives at 3rd base? That is one way to fill the stands.

Posted by: pchuck at November 29, 2007 12:05 PM

Agreed about the Rays' potential. They're really the Yanks only challenger going forward (see BP's new analysis btw of the Yanks' young talent.)

And Dave Pinto makes the point today that perhaps the most important pt of the trade was the ss swap. The Rays got rid of a very poor fielder and got a very good one in return. Remember, the Rays already have quality pitching. They struck out more batters than any other AL team, yet allowed the highest baa b/c of their attrocious fielding.

In defense of the Twinkies though: perhaps they don't rate Garza nearly as highly as the Rays and the commentators. Plus I believe they've other young starters in the pipeline, and perhaps are counting on picking up a pitcher (or 2 or 3?)for Johan in the immediate future.

In addition, the Twins' pick up of Pridie, 23 old cf who had a .914! ops in AAA last season is really the wild card. Compare that for instance to Boston savior Ellsbury (same age) and his .740 ops at Pawtucket! Pridie is likely a major improvement over Hunter right now, and with Young in lf or rf gives the Twins 2/3 of strong young of, cost-controlled, for years to come.

If Garza is merely a 3 or 4 starter, and Pridie/Young are all-star performers, as is at least likely, than who came out the better?

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at November 29, 2007 12:46 PM

J-I-C is right re: the Twins. If you look at it from what they want it was a big winner for them. Young talented and cost controlled. And when Johan goes the same result with the pitchers they get.

Not that I think the Twins have the best model, just that it is an excellent move from their perspective.

Posted by: Benny at November 29, 2007 2:25 PM

The Rays. Pridie was only their 8th best of, Young their 4th.

Posted by: oj at November 29, 2007 4:00 PM

Joba, Jackson and pray for rain. The best is the 17 year old who already projects as a dh.

Posted by: oj at November 29, 2007 4:02 PM