It has been three years since the Tampa Bay Rays and Minnesota Twins completed one of the biggest blockbuster trades in recent memory. The Rays sent former no. 1 pick Delmon Young, and two others to the Twins for Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett and a minor leaguer.
Based just on the performance of those players the last three seasons, the Rays clearly “won” the trade, even with Young’s breakout performance this past season (.298-21-112). And with their moves this off-season, the Rays have positioned themselves to continue benefiting from this trade for years to come.
If we look at Wins Above Replacement (WAR; via Fangraphs.com), which measures how many Wins a player has been worth to his team, the three players received by the Twins have been worth a total of 0.3 WAR. On the other hand, Garza and Bartlett have combined for 15.3 WAR as members of the Rays (Eduardo Morlan never appeared in a game for the Rays).
But it didn’t end there. This off-season, the Rays traded Garza to the Cubs for five prospects and Bartlett to the Padres for four prospects. The Twins still have Young for two more seasons before he is eligible for free agency. However, the other two players, Jason Pridie (waived) and Brendan Harris (traded), are no longer with the team.
So, in the three seasons since the trade, the Rays have picked up 15 more Wins worth of production from their end of the trade. And the nine prospects picked up this winter could each potentially play six seasons for the Rays. That is 54 more player-seasons on top of the six they got from Garza and Bartlett. Barring an extension for Young, the Twins will only get 10 player-seasons from the players they received.
As a wise woman once said, bad trades are a part of baseball. And for the Rays, Delmon Young was the gift that keeps on giving (see below for key to the chart).
“Seasons” is the total number of seasons those players played for their new team. For example, Garza and Bartlett each played 3 seasons with Rays. Morlan never played for the Rays. That is a total of 6 seasons. “Seasons remaining” is the number of total years those players remaining until free agency. A players is eligible for free agency after 6 seasons. “PTBNL” = Player to be Named Later. “WAR” = Wins Above Replacement, via Fangraphs.com.
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