I know they weren't exactly huge factors in the game last night, but the continuing narrative that the Matt Garza/Jason Bartlett acquisition was a driving force behind the Rays post-season drive--a narrative we can't refute, by the way--got me thinking, what was our reaction to the Twins-Rays swap? Unfortunately, because the Twins are in the Sox division, and the fact that the Rays had never had a winning season, not many of us bothered to ask what it meant for the Rays. And by not many, I mean only one of us bothered to express more than a sentence about it.
I'm not sure why the D-Rays are doing this, as most see Young destined for stardom and they've already got Brignac. Why do they need a shortstop? And why do they need pitching now, when Brignac and their young pitchers are about a year away? At a glance (rather than a considered and well researched perspective), it looks like a swap of offense for defense and as far as that goes, I'd almost always take the offense. Harris and Young are likely to be above average at their respective positions and Pridie very well could be the same, though I wouldn't call it likely. Meanwhile, Garza still has some BB rate issues to iron out and got extremely lucky wrt his LD% ceded.
This is a challenge trade, no? The D-Rays think Garza will be more valuable than Young? Obviously, they're in the best position to judge Young, but most were not nearly so turned off on his debut season. Weird.
That, my friends, is how you earn yourself an "Associate Editor" position around here. So keep commenting; you might be next. The pay's great.
While Colin neglected to see the value of Bartlett's defense, that was the only point I bothered to bring up with respect to the trade.
The step down from Bartlett to Harris is a big one for the Twins. They have to be looking at putting him at 2B, right? He's not really a SS. That would have them signing an Eckstein/Izturis to play SS. I'm all for it... Remove the SS from the deal, and I think the Twins win. Add the SS, and all I get is a big ? over my head.
I wasn't outright calling it a win for the Rays--I wasn't thinking about them at all--but I sure as heck didn't understand why the Twins were so eager to give up a young, cost-controlled, solid-OBP, plus-defensive shortstop. Though I significantly softened on that stance a few weeks later when they picked up a guy widely regarded as the best defensive SS in baseball.
I don't think we could have foreseen Adam Everett being non-tendered. That's an excellent pickup for the Twins. Sure he can't hit, but I was really confused by the Harris/Bartlett swap. This allows Harris to move to a less defensive oriented IF position, and maintains (probably improves) the Twins excellent SS defense.
I also called Carlos Quentin "a hope and a prayer" and commented that I wanted a high-OBP LFer in that same thread. So it wasn't exactly a shining moment for me either.