Thursday, July 3, 2008

Offseason Trade Review

On November 28th, 2007, LaVelle E. Neal III reported a potential blockbuster trade between the Twins and the newly-renamed Rays. A day earlier, I had posted about some trade chatter involving the same two teams and Boof Bonser, but what actually occured was much different. The original trade was reported to be OF Delmon Young, IF Brendan Harris, and OF Jason Pridie to the Twins in exchange for SP Matt Garza, RP Juan Rincon, and SS Jason Bartlett. At the end of the day, some lingering injury concerns had forced Rincon out of the deal and pitching prospect Eduardo Morlan into the deal before it became official. At the time, many Twins fans were excited to get Young, who was immediately expected to replace Torii Hunter's bat and hit 30-40 home runs. Most people had no problem seeing Garza leave if it was in exchange for such a great offensive talent, especially with the supposed clashes that Garza had with the Twins' coaching staff. At the time, I wrote that "I liked Garza, but getting Young back for him is a great deal." Garza's clashes seemingly have continued, as evidenced by his on-field argument with catcher Dionner Navarro, but his results have made fans willing to overlook his faults. Garza has a 3.47 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 90.7 innings. His strikeouts are down so far this season, but he still has 2:1 K:BB ratio and has been especially excellent recently, throwing 29 innings in his last 4 starts while giving up 16 hits and 5 earned runs, walking 4, and striking out 24 (including a 1-hit, 10 K complete game).

Delmon Young, on the other hand, has a very dissapointing overall line of .284/.332/.385, but there are still some promising things underneath that underwhelming line. To start, Young's walk rate, and consequently his OBP, have significantly improved from last year, going from a .028 IsoD to a .048 IsoD. Also, he has heated up since the calendar turned to June, as his line since June 1 sits at .330/.354/.495 in 96 plate appearances. His walk rate was way down in June, but that could be due to a small sample size, just as his good numbers could be. The numbers show that he has been improving recently, but really all we know is that he was crowned as the next Frank Robinson way too soon, and then written off way too early after his early season slump.

The other four players in the deal have all underperformed for their new teams thus far. Jason Bartlett was placed on the DL today after struggling as the Rays' starting shortstop throughout the first half of the season. With an atrocious .256/.299/.293 batting line, you certainly can't give any of the credit for the Rays' turnaround to this former Twin. He has stolen 18 bases at an 86% success rate and his range as usual has been excellent, but there's really no excuse for hitting like he has unless you're Ozzie Smith. Harris, on the other hand, has been the only Twins' middle infielder to stay on the Major League roster the entire season, with Nick Punto, Matt Tolbert, and Adam Everett all hitting the DL and Casilla spending time in Rochester. Of course, Harris has used that opportunity to hit only a little better than Bartlett while playing much worse defense. For some reason, people have been under the impression that Harris has played better since moving to shortstop, but his OPS there is actually 63 points lower there than at second base. Also, his OPS in June was only .649, though that was 40 points higher than in May.

The final two pieces of the deal were two minor leaguers, Jason Pridie and Eduardo Morlan. After putting up his first decent year in the minors since 2004 last year, Pridie has returned to the ways of a career .742 OPS minor leaguer. He has hit .235/.272/.361 with 5 homers and 16 stolen bases in 84 games at Rochester. His counterpart in a sense, Morlan, has fared no better, though for a different reason. Morlan, who struck out 99 in 69.2 innings in 2007, threw only 14.2 mediocre innings at AA this season before being placed on the DL with an injury.

All in all, it is still too early to give answer the question of who got the better end of the deal. However, it is still clear that the stars of the deal were Garza and Young, as the other four players do their best to show that they are not major league caliber players. Despite the fact that Garza has had the much better results thus far this season, there is still plenty of time for Young to prove that he was worthy of his billing as the top prospect in baseball a couple years back.


  1. Hello, please read my blog.
    and Ryan, I mentioned you in this (albeit anonymously). I think it's needless to say that it was criticism =)

    "Week 4"

    Well this week was mostly about the citizenship tests. Apparently USCIS (United States Citizen and Immigration Services) has completely changed the citizenship test starting later this year. There is now a section called "read alouds," where the applicant has to prove to their interviewer their ability to well, read. There is also another new arrival, the writing "dictations," where the interviewer reads a sentence and the applicant must write it. This is significantly harder because it tests listening comprehension and also writing literacy. However-- no more Francis Scott Key!

    I believe several of the immigrants in the Center now applying for citizenship have little to no fluency in English. I know this, because I had to translate in Chinese again for one of the immigrants who stopped going to her lessons because her tutor talked too fast.

    Hopefully the new tests I was editing will be online soon for people to download as pdf's to study. There is no sign of my brochures yet. The library director is in possession of them. We'll see what happens with that.

    The ESL Class is going well; last Thursday they went on a scavenger hunt. I am a little concerned that they are not learning enough, though. I try to teach any new vocab and grammar when I can. For example, I told them I am an intern. One Chinese lady said "oh, intern! I know intern!" I was pleasantly surprised that she had already learned this word, until she said "White House have intern." and "Lewinsky." Next week will be the first time I get to run the class entirely by myself... we'll see how that goes.

    I don't know if the derogatory term is appropriate so I will also say the Canine in the Office is doing well; after her complaints to the director about my poor copying skills and how I should be doing them at Collective Copies, I have been told to avoid going to the Office. I will update this if there are any new developments in the new series Petty Office Politics.

    Next week I will be working on the ESL newsletter and planning a picnic (and the ESL class of course). Some idiot told me to buy watermelon. This may or may not be the same idiot who never does community service.

    In all... it has been a good week and I am liking my job more as I become more acclimated to it. Oh and eight weeks does not seem like enough time to do everything on my to-do list.

  2. TANYA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!7/10/08, 9:19 PM

    "Week 5"

    The ESL class has been keeping me very busy. I have been slightly stressed, but in a good way, making the lesson plans. I have started leading the class by myself now. I like this a lot. I just always happen to be "slightly stressed" whenever I am assigned responsibility, because I am characteristically ridiculously responsible, I always have to do a really really good job at what I am responsible for. I want people to learn a lot and love the class and TALK a lot and IMPROVE in talking. I think three of the Korean women and one Iranian girl have dropped- I keep thinking class attendance is a reflection of how well my supervisor (and me) were teaching. although of course there could be other reasons.

    In today's class, attendance was a measley six, when we started with 12. We had to modify all the activities because I had planned the roles for 12 people, and I was (secretly) discouraged at first, but the class still went well.

    I think I have been doing a good job so far, though. After the tradition of "what are you doing this weekend?" the warm-up activity was a riddle scramble. Everyone had a question to a riddle and the answer to a different one; they had to go around talking to each other until they figured out the complete riddle. It was some brainwork, but good for learning homonyms. One Chinese woman (the President of the US) could not understand this joke no matter how much I explained it:

    Why didn't the shrimp share? Because he was shellfish.

    I thought it was adorable. Maybe she got it when she got home?

    Following I had the class imagine themselves stranded on a desert island, with enough food, water, and tents for only three people to survive for one month. I assigned people roles, like a little boy (who has his whole life left to live), a pregnant woman (who has another life inside her), a doctor, a farmer, an engineer, the President of the United States (who has to go back to take care of the country.Unfortunately he has no useful survival skills). After a lively discussion, during which people thoroughly shut down the President of the United States, the little boy and the pregnant woman and the doctor emerged alive.

    Oh- I am hoping that the newsletter, brochures, and citizenship tests actually get published sometime in the next 3 weeks!! I would love to see my work actually have some practical use.

    P.S. Did you hear what happened to the boy who got his left side cut off? Yes, he was all right.

  3. Tanyaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!7/20/08, 8:18 PM

    "Week 6"

    It has been really humid here. Most people don't even notice it because they're used to the nuances of east coast weather, but being from Colorado, it makes a huge difference for me. I can just walk outside and it feels like there's a clamp in the air, like something really heavy is hanging down, and you only dare to take small quick breaths at a time. You can't suck your entire lungs out like you can when the when the sky is Colorado sky-- higher, lighter, weightless. I don't usually talk about the weather, so maybe it's helpful to think it's something bigger than the humidity. I think it's called homesickness.

    I don't know why it's hitting me now, but thinking about it, it's not really homesickness, it is just easier to call it that, when it is actually a mixed feeling of three things. I would say boredom, depression, and over-thinking things.

    But back to my internship.. The most recent ESL class went extraordinarily well. We combined classes again, but Mimi sat in the back while she let me lead it. We worked on expressing emotions and feelings-- a problem I believe a lot of immigrants face and would like to know how to do better. As a native Chinese speaker, my mother also has the same problem expressing exactly how she feels about things. I love teaching. I also happen to think that I'm good at it. It makes me want to rethink law school sometimes. Although... I also love persuasive speaking and writing and seeing justice being carried out, so it's hard. I've submitted a rough draft of my newsletter. I'm looking into the picnic and looking into interviewing some tutors. I also will write a grant for Yankee Candle Company. I found out that my supervisor will be gone my entire last week of work, so I wonder what I'm going to do for that week. I still like my job.

    It's changed me in two ways: it made me really really want to take Heritage Chinese I and II, and it made me want to get an immigrant student to tutor during the school year.

  4. "Week 7"

    wow... seven... crazy.

    This week was high intensity, mostly because the work train has been picking up steam for seven weeks now, and now its speeding and crashing into the station, and the whistle's blowing and the wheels are practically steaming. That was my high school physics teacher's metaphor.. I always like to think of that.

    I contacted three tutors and one student for interviews. All of them were really wanted to help and responded really quickly-- I was glad for such a positive response from them. I also learned how to put a camera on a tripod (yay!). It took me about 20 minutes to reason it through, but now I know. The interviews went well and I got about 37 minutes of rolling film, although there are a lot of useless (either too personal or too detailed or irrelevant) anecdotes that I won't be able to include in the final video. This is bascially my last project, besides grant-writing and publishing the final brochures.

    There is a wedding going on outside and they are playing the Righteous Brothers. Good for them, I think the Righteous Brothers and the Carpenters are essential to any wedding soundtrack. What a terrible day, though, it's cold and dark and it rains sporadically. In my seven weeks here, I have seen quite a number of weddings held at the same place (lord jeffrey inn, alumni house grass). They play more or less the same music, and take place more or less in the rain. It's funny though, because even though there are so few social rituals available to express this sort of union, each wedding has different meaning obviously, for the different people involved. A finite number of gestures for an infinite number of individuals... according to Milan Kundera, at least. OK now they are playing Chris Brown.


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