Young was traded by Tampa Bay to Minnesota on Wednesday night as
part of a six-player deal that sent right-hander Matt Garza to the
In a swap of promising youngsters that's been discussed for
weeks, the Twins also gave up starting shortstop Jason Bartlett and
minor league pitcher Eduardo Morlan while acquiring shortstop
Brendan Harris and minor league outfielder Jason Pridie.
The deal was first reported by ESPN.com's Keith Law.
"I've grown up a lot over the last couple of years," Young
said on a conference call with the Minnesota media. "I'm getting
older and wiser. It's going to happen with some players when you
are 18 years old, thrown into the world with a little money in your
Olney: Ray of hope?
Buster Olney wonders if the Tampa Bay Rays taking shape as a viable force that may begin to create persistent problems for the upper echelon of the AL East within the next couple of years. Blog • Neyer: Young tilts to Twins
While many in baseball have been waiting for Minnesota to make a
blockbuster deal, this wasn't it. The Twins are involved in trade
talks involving ace Johan Santana, who can become a free agent
after next season.
Young, though, was runner-up for AL Rookie of the Year this
season and gives Minnesota an athletic replacement for All-Star
Torii Hunter -- at least in the lineup if not in center field.
A seven-time Gold Glove winner, Hunter agreed to a $90 million,
five-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels last week, leaving
the Twins in dire need of a proven outfielder.
"Coming into the offseason our first priority was to improve
our offense," new Twins general manager Bill Smith said. "We took
a hit last week when Torii left, but Delmon Young has been the guy
we've been targeting since the end of the season. We feel he is the
best bat available, and we're excited to get him."
In addition to the Young deal, the Rays are also close to a multiyear deal for reliever Troy Percival, ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney reports.
Young hit .288 with 13 homers and 93 RBIs in his first full
major league season, though he walked only 26 times with 127
strikeouts. He also had 38 doubles and 10 steals.
Young, however, has a hotheaded history for a 22-year-old. The
first overall pick in the 2003 draft famously flipped his bat into
the chest of a Triple-A umpire in 2006 and received a 50-game
suspension for that. He got a three-game ban in 2005 for bumping an
umpire in Double-A.
He also argued with Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon during a
late-season game after he was removed for not running out a
But Young has unquestionable talent, possessing a rocket arm
from his natural spot in right field. He also played center as an
injury fill-in, appearing in all 162 games and compiling 16
"He's got one bad incident on his record. He made a terrible
mistake," Smith said. "We've done a lot of work on his makeup,
and we've had an awful lot of people tell us he's a very good
teammate, he's a fierce competitor, he wants to win, and he's the
first one to arrive at the ballpark every day."
Garza gives the Rays, who need help for their rotation, a
legitimate starter. One of the game's top prospects, Garza went 5-7
with a 3.69 ERA in 16 appearances, 15 starts, for Minnesota after
he was called up right before the All-Star break.
"He's a guy we project to get a lot better quickly," Rays
executive vice president Andrew Friedman said. "We feel like we
strengthened two areas of need, shortstop and starting pitching."
Garza was excited after speaking with Friedman.
"He's ready to roll. That's what I like to hear. He made me
feel at home, and all I can feel is that things are pointed on the
up and up," Garza said from his home in Fresno, Calif. "It'll be
fun to see how it plays out."
Upset by his exclusion from the Opening Day roster in the
spring, Garza threw 15 straight scoreless innings after he was
promoted from Triple-A this year. He also made 10 appearances for
Minnesota in 2006.
Friedman expects Bartlett to be the Opening Day shortstop and
Garza to fit nicely next to Scott Kazmir and James Shields, two
other young starters. The other two spots in the rotation will be
open to competition in spring training.
"The trade is about the present, not the future. We're a better
ballclub because of this deal," Friedman said. "To get good young
players you have to give up something good, and that's what we
Garza was Minnesota's first-round draft pick in 2005, and the
hard-throwing righty out of Fresno State breezed through the minors
to earn time with the Twins the following season.
His velocity reaches the mid-90 mph range, but the 24-year-old
has frustrated his coaches and managers the past two years by
relying too much on his fastball without mixing in enough off-speed
and breaking pitches to be effective in the majors.
He is 8-13 with a 4.47 ERA in 26 appearances -- including 24
starts -- with the Twins. He has issued 55 walks in 133 innings, and
opponents have hit .297 against him.
The good news for Garza is that Tampa Bay plays at Minnesota
only twice in 2008, April 16-17. He is 1-10 with a 5.91 ERA in 13
career appearances at the Metrodome.
The Bartlett-for-Harris shortstop section of the swap gives the
Twins a 27-year-old in exchange for a 28-year-old. In his first
full season as a starter, Harris hit .286 with 12 homers, 35
doubles and 59 RBIs in 521 at-bats. From 2004-06, he played for
three teams: the Cubs, Expos/Nationals and Reds.
"You've got to produce," Harris said. "It's an offensive game
now. Everybody's got to pull their weight at the dish. At the same
time, I view myself as a solid defensive player."
Bartlett was a late bloomer who finally became a regular when he
was called up in June 2006. He gave the lineup a legitimate spark
that year and batted .309 in 333 at-bats for a playoff-bound team.
Like many of the Twins, though, he slumped in 2007 and finished
with a .265 average, five homers, 43 RBIs and 23 steals in 510
at-bats. He made 26 errors. Harris had only 11 errors last season.
Pridie, a center fielder, was taken by the Twins in the 2005
winter meeting draft. When he didn't make the team out of spring
training he was returned to Tampa Bay and spent the past two
seasons in the minors.
Friedman called the right-handed Morlan "one of the best young
bullpen prospects out there."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.