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One of the best baseball trades you'll ever see
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Author:  Wabberjocky [ Thu Nov 29, 2007 8:47 pm ]
Post subject:  One of the best baseball trades you'll ever see

Ever notice how many baseball trades are made for bad, cynical, ugly reasons?

Many teams are trying to dump salaries. Others are trying to get rid of headache players. Many times the player himself forces the trade out of self-interest, or the team overreacts when a player clashes with coaches or management. Often, teams are trying to get something back for a premium player before he's lost to free agency in a year.

Few trades are the kind of pure "talent swaps," made because the teams involved are loaded at one position but thin at another, that were more commonplace 30 years ago. Today, it's all about business decisions — hedging against free agency, or arbitration eligibility, or a team's unwillingness or inability to deal with a particular agent. As a result, few premium players are dealt while they're still on their way to a peak performance level.

Well, on Wednesday, one of those pure talent swaps took place — and it's a beauty.

Tampa Bay dealt rising-star outfielder Delmon Young, along with shortstop Brendan Harris and mid-level prospect Jason Pridie to Minnesota for starting pitcher Matt Garza, shortstop Jason Bartlett and minor-league pitcher Eduardo Morlan.

Young, just 22, is the name you probably know best. As a 21-year-old rookie, he hit .288 with 13 HRs and 93 RBI. It's believed his power will grow — and playing in the BaggieDome can only help.

Garza is a hot prospect, too. At 24, he pitched half a season in the Twins rotation last year, posting a 3.69 ERA. His fastball hits the mid-90s.

Harris and Bartlett are about the same age; Harris is a slightly better hitter; Bartlett a much better defender with more offensive upside.

Pridie could be a fourth outfielder; Morlan is a live bullpen arm.

It's very rare that teams exchange their top prospects before a) they've failed in the majors; and b) years before they're arbitration-eligible.

Again, this was a pure baseball trade — no business, no bullshit. Tampa made a deal at a position where they have a surplus of hot young talent (B.J. Upton will move to the outfield next year), and Minnesota has enough arms (regardless of what happens with Johan Santana) that they could afford to move Garza. Minnesota needed a new power-hitting, strong-defense outfielder with the loss of Torii Hunter; Tampa (a team to seriously watch in 2008) now has a credible Big Three starting rotation in Scott Kazmir (last year's top strikeout pitcher in the majors), James Shields and Garza. Bartlett will only make those pitchers look better with his slick glove.

Everybody wins in this deal. Nobody got robbed, nobody was forced to do anything from a position of weakness. Everybody made themselves better.

If you're a fan of baseball, you're a fan of deals like this.

Author:  Redaktor [ Thu Nov 29, 2007 11:43 pm ]
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Besides that, I totally agree. I'm looking forward to seeing what Young can do in the Dome -- and with a little leadership from Morneau and Mauer.

Author:  Wabberjocky [ Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:56 am ]
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A lot of great career power hitters didn't show it in their first full seasons in baseball. All of the following hit at least 300 home runs in their career:

Barry Bonds, 1986: 16
Ken Griffey Jr., 1989: 16
Robin Yount, 1974: 3
George Brett, 1973: 3
Mike Schmidt, 1972: 18
Manny Ramirez, 1994: 17
Jeff Bagwell, 1991: 15
Matt Holliday, 2004: 14
Mo Vaughn, 1992: 13
Sammy Sosa, 1990: 15
Rafael Palmeiro, 1988: 8
Gary Sheffield, 1990: 10
Joe Carter, 1985: 15

While there are plenty of counter-examples, there are enough players like this to theorize that there is a "Get Your Feet Wet" effect for many rookies who go on to be great power hitters. If you look at Delmon Young's stroke, you'll see he's got a classic power-hitter's swing. I think he'll explode on the league this year.

Author:  Redaktor [ Fri Nov 30, 2007 8:10 am ]
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I was snickering at your use of "power-hitting" and "Torii Hunter" in the same sentence. Young's got a beautiful swing and I think he'll do just fine.

Author:  G-Fin [ Mon Dec 03, 2007 8:25 pm ]
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How is Delmon Young not a "headache player"?

Author:  Wabberjocky [ Mon Dec 03, 2007 8:45 pm ]
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To me, a "headache player" is one with a history or pattern of bad behavior. Young has exactly one blemish on his record, incurred in the minor leagues. He's been a model major-leaguer.

Author:  Mr. V [ Wed Dec 12, 2007 4:20 am ]
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Still, that was one hell of a "blemish."

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