On Jason Bartlett, erm, I Mean Delmon Young

In the grand tradition of Nick Punto Day, we now have Delmon Young Day. Fetch has already weighed in with his thoughts, here’s my $0.02:

Tampa Bay Rays vs Colorado Rockies in Denver

I will never really like Delmon Young. It’s nothing personal; he ‘s probably a nice enough kid (although he doesn’t seem to enjoy talking to the media), and frankly I don’t care about that stuff anyway. It’s just…I hated that trade from day 1. That isn’t Delmon’s fault: as far as we know, he never asked to be traded and it isn’t his fault the Twins got fleeced even if he did. It was bad enough that Bill Smith dealt a promising young pitcher (ugh) for a corner outfielder; that my favorite player on the entire team was thrown in as sort of an afterthought was like some sort of clever simile for my heart being ripped in half and stomped on. I loved Jason Bartlett. Oh sure, he made 26 errors in 2007 (which is probably why he got traded), but even though I didn’t know much about advanced fielding stats at the time, I knew errors were a stupid way to measure defensive efficiency. Or maybe Barty just seemed like a good shortstop compared to Cristian Guzman. Anyway, Barty could actually hit, and after having suffered through the likes of Pat Meares and Jeff Reboulet (Are you sensing a trend here? This is precisely why the trade made no sense), that made me heart him all the more. Well, and I thought he was cute.

I don’t think I need to go into great detail on what a disaster this trade has been to date. I mean, leaving Matt Garza out of the equation, the Twins essentially traded an All-Star shortstop for the worst everyday player in the American League. According to Fangraphs, Jason Bartlett has been worth 6.8 wins above replacement for Tampa Bay, while Delmon Young has been a somewhat less impressive -1.4 WAR player for the Twins. Delmon has recently made some huge improvements both at the plate and in the field, and I don’t think this is a fluke. He’s dramatically increased his walk rate while cutting down his strikeout rate, so while he’ll probably never be an elite hitter, Delmon is turning into a pretty useful one. And this would be all fine and good if Delmon had come up through the Twins’ system. Unfortunately, put in the context of the worst trade ever, being a useful player just isn’t good enough. The Twins will have to start getting Manny Ramirez-esque production out of Mr. Young in order to make the trade worthwhile, and that isn’t likely to happen.

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Tags: Delmon Young Jason Bartlett Matt Garza Minnesota Twins Tampa Bay Rays