The Minnesota Twins weren't worried about Delmon Young's troubled past. They wanted his bat, and they wanted it badly.
Young was traded by Tampa Bay to Minnesota on Wednesday night as part of a six-player deal that sent right-hander Matt Garza to the Rays.
In a swap of promising youngsters that's been discussed for weeks, the Twins also gave up starting shortstop Jason Bartlett and minor league pitcher Eduardo Morlan while acquiring shortstop Brendan Harris and minor league outfielder Jason Pridie.
The deal was first reported by ESPN.com's Keith Law.
"I've grown up a lot over the last couple of years," Young said on a conference call with the Minnesota media. "I'm getting older and wiser. It's going to happen with some players when you are 18 years old, thrown into the world with a little money in your pocket."
While many in baseball have been waiting for Minnesota to make a blockbuster deal, this wasn't it. The Twins are involved in trade talks involving ace Johan Santana, who can become a free agent after next season.
Young, though, was runner-up for AL Rookie of the Year this season and gives Minnesota an athletic replacement for All-Star Torii Hunter -- at least in the lineup if not in center field.
A seven-time Gold Glove winner, Hunter agreed to a $90 million, five-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels last week, leaving the Twins in dire need of a proven outfielder.
"Coming into the offseason our first priority was to improve our offense," new Twins general manager Bill Smith said. "We took a hit last week when Torii left, but Delmon Young has been the guy we've been targeting since the end of the season. We feel he is the best bat available, and we're excited to get him."
In addition to the Young deal, the Rays are also close to a multiyear deal for reliever Troy Percival, ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney reports.
Young hit .288 with 13 homers and 93 RBIs in his first full major league season, though he walked only 26 times with 127 strikeouts. He also had 38 doubles and 10 steals.
Young, however, has a hotheaded history for a 22-year-old. The first overall pick in the 2003 draft famously flipped his bat into the chest of a Triple-A umpire in 2006 and received a 50-game suspension for that. He got a three-game ban in 2005 for bumping an umpire in Double-A.
He also argued with Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon during a late-season game after he was removed for not running out a grounder.
But Young has unquestionable talent, possessing a rocket arm from his natural spot in right field. He also played center as an injury fill-in, appearing in all 162 games and compiling 16 outfield assists.
"He's got one bad incident on his record. He made a terrible mistake," Smith said. "We've done a lot of work on his makeup, and we've had an awful lot of people tell us he's a very good teammate, he's a fierce competitor, he wants to win, and he's the first one to arrive at the ballpark every day."
Garza gives the Rays, who need help for their rotation, a legitimate starter. One of the game's top prospects, Garza went 5-7 with a 3.69 ERA in 16 appearances, 15 starts, for Minnesota after he was called up right before the All-Star break.
"He's a guy we project to get a lot better quickly," Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman said. "We feel like we strengthened two areas of need, shortstop and starting pitching."
Garza was excited after speaking with Friedman.