I know what you're thinking, "YES! Sidler's back!"
After seemingly spending year after year with only guys like Tony Batista, Rondell White, and Juan Castro to show for offseason acquisitions, the Twins made a major move prior to the even more major Santana trade that will happen.
Packing their bags to play for the Devil, strike that, the Rays:
Heading to the Twin Cities:
Originally, the rumor had Juan Rincon in the place of Eduardo Morlan. I like that version a lot better than one with Morlan, who some project as a future closer. Let's see, nearly washed up reliever due to make millions, or a guy who could give the team a number of good years at $400m per?
Not sure I'm a big fan of the trade, even if Delmon Young brings a young, potentially star-level bat. For one, the guy doesn't believe in walks and has a hack-a-matic approach at the plate, swinging at the first pitch more often than anyone else in the league. If the Twins had any track record of helping young players develop plate discipline, I might feel better. And don't even think about him filling the enormous CF hole, his defense is shaky enough on the corners. Plus his power has evaporated from his A-AA years, Kubel out-slugged him .450 to .408 last year, will it return as he gets older or will he join Mauer in the "power's coming!" club?
The Twins clearly think he's going to be a star considering the price and it is important to note that he put up slightly below average offensive numbers at 22, a monumental task. That's why a guy like Roberto Clemente shows up on his "Most similar players at age 22" list. Time will tell, but an impact bat has been added for the first time I can remember.
But there is no doubt that having Cuddyer, Young, and Kubel to fill the corner OF + DH spots should be a significant upgrade over any mix with Craig Monroe, Rondell White, Jason Tyner, or Lew Ford.
What about the other two pieces of the deal? Harris hits for more power than Bartlett but has slightly-better-than-Jeter range at SS from what I've read. In other words, he should be at 2B or 3B, not SS. Early indications are that Bill Smith knows he shouldn't play at SS, but then who plays there...Punto?
Pridie's not worth Morlan, that's for damn sure. He actually spent a Spring with the Twins after they took him in the Rule V draft a few years ago; they must have liked him. Look for him to take Lew Ford's role. Awesome.
I guess two of the pieces included shouldn't be a surprise--the Twins have seemingly had issues with Garza's attitude and Bartlett in general for years. Garza's going to be at-worst a league average starter immediately for Tampa and has the potential to give them an awesome 1-2 with Kazmir. Bartlett, despite the errors, is an above-average defender due to exceptional range and a strong arm and provides league-average offense with plus speed on the basepaths, all at a cheap cost. It was fun watching Garza with his "f*ck you" attitude on the mound and Bartlett get to shots up the middle that Guzman and Castro wouldn't have bothered to move their feet for; Tampa is a better team today with both of them on the roster considering their OF depth.
And yes, the Twins did trade for this guy:
Now it is time to wait for the Santana trade to see how it rounds out the roster.