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Garza traded to Tampa

Posted at 10:10 PM on November 28, 2007 by Chris Dall

Lavelle E. Neal of the Strib is reporting that the Twins have traded pitcher Matt Garza, shortstop Jason Bartlett, and minor league pitcher Eduardo Morlan to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for outfielder Delmon Young, shortstop Brendan Harris, and outfield prospect Jason Pridie.

Hmm. Interesting deal. The Twins give up a highly touted young pitcher, one that they've previously been unwilling to deal, for a highly touted young outfielder with a bit of baggage but a lot of upside. There was talk earlier this offseason that the Twins would finally be willing to part with some of their young pitchers if it could bring them good young hitters, and that speculation was on the mark. Young, who's 22 and a former #1 draft pick, hit .288 last season with 13 home runs and 93 RBI, but he also struck out 127 times and had a .316 on-base percentage. He's mostly played right field, but my assumption is that he'll play in left for the Twins.

The Bartlett for Harris swap is a bit more of a head scratcher, because on paper they seem like pretty similar players. Jason Pridie put up some decent numbers for Tampa's Triple-A team last season, while Eduardo Morlan appears to be a low-level prospect.

My guess is that some people aren't going to like this deal. If Young does have that much upside (a Baseball America writer compared him to Gary Sheffield), why would Tampa trade him? Is it the baggage, or is Tampa that high on Garza? And you can always debate the merits of whether trading a potential #1 starter is a good idea, especially since the Twins might be ready to part with their current # 1 starter.

Which brings us to the larger question. Does trading Garza mean the Twins are going to make more of an effort to sign Johan Santana, or does it mean that they're more likely to ask for pitching prospects in a potential deal? My guess is that it's the latter, and if so, then the rumored deal with the Yankees better include Phil Hughes.

In any case, it appears we're going to be looking at a lot of new faces at the Dome next season.

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