Rays Deal Young, Rincon Replaced by Morlan, Close to Signing Percival

[editor's note, by R.J. Anderson] I moved all the information from earlier today to after the jump; it was cluttering the front page and I didn't want a huge post about the speculation.

The deal is finalized, we're just waiting on details folks.

Juan Rincon was removed from the deal, replaced by minor league pitcher Eduardo Morlan. Info on Morlan can be found here, but he was a top prospect in the Twins system, our colleague John Sickels ranked him 4th in his recent book. Last season Morlan averaged 11 K/9 in A Fort Myers. In fact, he struck out 92 in 65 innings! Stats, to put it simply this man is a monster and should start in AA Montgomery next year.

More on Morlan the Monster:

This is what Kevin Goldstein said about Morlan:

The Good: Morlan has both the stuff and command to be an effective late-innings, power-based reliever. He pounds the strike zone with a mid-90s fastball that can touch 98 mph, and his slider is a hard-biting pitch with plenty of tilt. He showed a lot more comfort as a reliever, where he could just grip it and rip it as opposed to the more pace-based approach needed as a starter.

The Bad: Morlan was prone to big innings at times, and needs to do a better job of keeping his emotions in check. When he got into trouble, he sometimes would overthrow, which led into him elevating his pitches, which led to more trouble. His mechanics aren’t dreadful, but they are better suited to short stints.

Timetable: Morlan will begin 2008 back in Double-A with the hope that he’ll be ready for the big leagues in 2009, when Joe Nathan will likely be gone via free agency.

If you're a fan of young pitching this is your organization, add Garza and Morlan to the depths and this is just scary folks. Here's what Jesse from Twinkie Town had to say about Garza and Bartlett.

Matt Garza: In '07 Garza developed a sharp curveball with a tight break. It has very good movement (12/6 or maybe 11/7), and in conjunction with his 97 mph fastball he has two very strong pitches. He had a cut fastball that wasn't used as often this last year, as well as a developing change. Garza has all the potential in the world, and is ace material. He can get emotional but never out of control, he's competetive, and he's not afraid to challenge hitters. If he takes another developmental step forward from where he was for the Twins in '07, the Rays will have a front-end pitcher for years to come.
Jason Bartlett: Bartlett's offense is sufficient for a shortstop. While he doesn't have home run power, there's plenty of gap power and speed to ensure extra-base hits. His LD% has been over 20% each of the last two years. After starting out slow in 2007, it appeared he choked up a bit on his bat and was able to shorten his swing, and his line steadily increased. He's willing to work deep counts to see pitches, but he's a better bottom-of-the-order hitter with his skill set. While he is patient enough to work a free pass, he doesn't walk often enough to make him anything better than an average #2 hitter (.339 OBP in 2007). Defensively he'll make his share of mistakes. Arm strength is average while accuracy can waiver from time to time, but he's also very athletic. He'll make an occasional spectacular play that will showcase his range, being able to get to balls deep in the hole to his right and fielding balls behind second base. I would rate him as an above average fielder, but not Gold Glove caliber…but this is an entirely subjective statement.
The Twins are close to landing Delmon Young from the Twins in a six-player deal that would send Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett and Juan Rincon to Tampa Bay.
The Twins would also pick up Brendan Harris and Jason Pridie, the Star Tribune's La Velle E. Neal III reports.

Per the Star Tribune

Wow. This one will not be received well, a look at VORP:
Rincon + Garza + Bartlett = 26
Young + Harris (w/Pridie) = 31

Pridie and Harris to me aren't huge losses, Brendan would've been our first man off the bench, Pridie is meh to me as we all know. Delmon, well he never had good plate discpline or awareness, he has great potential and one helluva an arm. He will be missed.

As for the new Rays; Rincon is a late inning, only 28, but his HR/9 took a huge leap last year and his K rates have dropped four straight seasons, but prior to that had been one of the lock down relievers for the Twins. Bartlett we covered earlier, and we all know Garza as well from prior posts.

2008 Rotation: Kazmir, Shields, Sonnanstine, Garza, Jackson(?)
Bullpen: Reyes, Wheeler, Rincon, Salas, Percival, ect.

Who plays right? The Demon / Elijah Dukes? Ruggiano?

Oh and also; Brian Stokes was traded to the Mets for cash.

Update [2007-11-28 16:41:41 by R.J. Anderson]:Buster Olney reports the Rays are nearing a deal to sign reliever Troy Percival.

HOLY CRAP!

Step right up and meet the Rays...(credit to J.B. Downie)

Bartlett

Garza


Percival

From Jesse over at TwinkieTown:

Jason Bartlett: Bartlett's offense is sufficient for a shortstop. While he doesn't have home run power, there's plenty of gap power and speed to ensure extra-base hits. His LD% has been over 20% each of the last two years. After starting out slow in 2007, it appeared he choked up a bit on his bat and was able to shorten his swing, and his line steadily increased. He's willing to work deep counts to see pitches, but he's a better bottom-of-the-order hitter with his skill set. While he is patient enough to work a free pass, he doesn't walk often enough to make him anything better than an average #2 hitter (.339 OBP in 2007). Defensively he'll make his share of mistakes. Arm strength is average while accuracy can waiver from time to time, but he's also very athletic. He'll make an occasional spectacular play that will showcase his range, being able to get to balls deep in the hole to his right and fielding balls behind second base. I would rate him as an above average fielder, but not Gold Glove caliber…but this is an entirely subjective statement.

Juan Rincon: Rincon is a strikeout pitcher who fell off the table last year. If he regains form from prior years, he's a dangerous tool for the bullpen in late innings. His numbers had slowly slipped going into '07, but nobody saw his collapse coming. His fastball moves some, but now comes in 93-95 instead of 95-97. His cut fastball is decent, but it's his 87-mph slider that he'll need to set up his fastball. When it's on he'll strike out at least a batter an inning. He also throws an offspeed pitch, but it's more of a "see, I totally have one" pitch than a legitimate weapon.

Matt Garza: In '07 Garza developed a sharp curveball with a tight break. It has very good movement (12/6 or maybe 11/7), and in conjunction with his 97 mph fastball he has two very strong pitches. He had a cut fastball that wasn't used as often this last year, as well as a developing change. Garza has all the potential in the world, and is ace material. He can get emotional but never out of control, he's competetive, and he's not afraid to challenge hitters. If he takes another developmental step forward from where he was for the Twins in '07, the Rays will have a front-end pitcher for years to come.

Apparently the deal is still being reported as "close".

Rosenthal's take on the Percival deal isn't nearly as optimistic as Olney's line was:

Percival, however, is more likely to sign as a free agent with the Rays or Brewers if he wants to close — and the Rays might be his No. 1 choice. Percival, 38, is close with Rays manager Joe Maddon from their days together with the Angels, and their relationship could persuade him to take less money to sign with Tampa Bay. The Rays, though, are serious enough about Percival that they might be willing to offer him a two-year deal, sources say, while the Brewers would not.

Olney updates:

Sources say that Percival is close to completing a multiyear contract with the Rays.

"It's not done-done," said Paul Cohen, who represents Percival. "We're still working on some things."

Cohen said he got some directions from Percival at about noon on Wednesday.

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