I’ve been following the baseball pundits for the past few days as they trumpet the Delmon Young/Matt Garza multi-player Minnesota, Tampa Bay deal as a blockbuster. But the deal is anything but a blockbuster, not even on paper.
Let’s look at the main attractions in the deal; Minnesota gets centerfielder Young and Tampa Bay cops Garza.
Delmon Young’s numbers look like this; 186 hits, 645 ABs, .288 BA, 13 HRs, 93 RBIs, 65 Runs, 10 SB, but check this out – 127 strikeouts, only 26 BBs, .316 OBP and .408 SLG in his first full MLB season.
Let’s compare Young’s stats for 2007 with a few other regular centerfielders;
Johnny Damon, Yankees, 144 hits, 533 ABs, .270 BA, 12 HRs, 63 RBIs, 93 Runs, 27 SB, 79 Strikouts, 63 BBs, .351 OBP, .396 SLG
Torii Hunter (formerly with Twins) Angels, 600 AB, 172 hits, .287 BA, 28 HRs, 107 RBIs, 94 Runs, 18 SB, 101 Strikeouts, 40 BBs, .334 OBP, .505 SLG
While Young’s upside potential is tremendous, it is so far only on paper. And while his defensive powess is noted in Wikipedia, so is the controversy which followed him in the minor leagues via run-ins with umpires including possible violence in disputing calls.
Now let’s look at Tampa Bay’s Marque in the deal, Matt Garza who had been up and down with the Twins and used sparingly during his first
two MLB seasons. He finished 2007 with a 5-7 mark with a 3.69 ERA, striking out 67, walking 32 in 83 innings and 15 starts and 1 finish; that’s roughly 5.1 innings per start. In one appearance against the Cleveland Indians in July, he walked 3 and struck out 11 in 6 innings in by far his best start of the season and got a no-decision for his efforts. Again, tremendous upside potential and again, so far only on paper.
The Rays also gave up INF Brendan Harris and minor-league OF Jason Pridie.
The Rays get Garza, who will go right into their rotation, and [Jason] Bartlett, who becomes their starting shortstop. They also get minor-league RHP Eduardo Morlan, a 21-year-old who was 5-3 with 18 saves and a 3.10 ERA with Class A Fort Myers and Double-A New Britain. He struck out 99 in 69 2/3 innings.
The key piece to the deal is Bartlett, who would step into the [Devil Rays] team’s starting shortstop role, and Garza, a talented 24-year-old right hander who likely would become the Rays’ No. 3 starter.
Harris, in his first full MLB season in 2007, actually put stats together which bettered Young’s in some categories. With 149 hits in 521 ABs, .286 BA, 12 HRs, 59 RBIs, 72 Runs, 92 Strikeouts, 42 BBs, .343 OBP and .434 SLG. Bartlett’s inclusion and the exchange of infielders aced the deal. Once again, these guys have great upside potential but, on the whole, this deal is hardly a blockbuster.
The true blockbusters will come when we finally see who wins the Johan Santana Bowl, whether the Phillies sign their free agent centerfielder Aaron Rowand and when other high-profile multi-player deals fall into place. But this deal, No way is it a blockbuster.