ESPN.com is reporting that the deal to send Delmon Young to the Twins has been finalized. The Tampa Bay Rays will send Young, along with Brendan Harris and Jason Pridie to the Minnesota Twins for Matt Garza, shortstop Jason Bartlett and minor league pitcher Eduardo Morlan. The deal does not include relief pitcher Juan Rincon, as had previously been mentioned.
The big piece in the deal is Garza, which gives the Rays a legitimate #3 starter in the rotation. The acquisition pushes Edwin Jackson and Andy Sonnanstine down to the #4 and #5 slots. Adding a starter to the rotation should strengthen the bullpen as Jason Hammel will now most likely be the Rays long reliever and spot starter. Jeff Niemann, the Rays top pick in 2005, will now have to compete with Sonnanstine for the final spot in the rotation and is more likely to begin the season at AAA Durham.
The acquisition of Jason Bartlett gives the Rays an above average defensive shortstop and a strong upgrade defensively. Bartlett, made 26 errors in 2007, but has consistently been above the league average in range factor.
Both Harris and Pridie wee expendable pieces for the Rays. Harris would most likely have been the team’s utility infielder, a position that Ben Zobrist or Josh Wilson can fill adequately. Pridie, who was recently added to the 40-man roster, spent the 2006 Spring Training with the Twins after being selected in the Rule 5 draft. Pridie posted strong numbers this past season at AA Montgomery and AAA Durham, but stood no chance of being added to the 25-man roster.
Moving Young, leaves an opening in right field for the Rays, and opens a roster spot and playing time for Justin Ruggiano. Andrew Friedman and Joe Maddon are most likely hoping that some combination of Rocco Baldelli, Jonny Gomes and Ruggiano can fill the roles of right fielder and DH, with all three likely to see significant playing time.
Morlan was a third round pick by the Twins in 2004. He was being groomed as a future closer and split time this past season between A and AA, posting 18 saves and 99 strike outs in 69.2 innings with only 20 walks.
We will have more on this trade tomorrow.
Rays, Twins finish 6-player deal including Young, Garza [ESPN]