This is crazy to me. Denard Span is an older lower ceiling version of Delmon Young. Span's a career .287 minor league hitter (which includes rookie ball and low A ball yikes). He hit .267 in AAA as recently as 2007. For being a burner his stolen base rate is nothing to write home about (91 in 139 attempts between AA and the Majors, putting at a 65% stolen base succes rate).
Prior to this year he was an underachieving 1st round pick. His 6 HR's last year in the Majors are an aberation considering his 5 total HR's the two seasons before in AA and AAA. He's a slap singles hitter with little to no power upside and his numbers he put up in the Majors last year far exceed anything he'd done previously in his career. He's also 1.5 years older then Delmon Young.
On the flip side, Delmon Young will be coming into the season at the ripe old age of 23, and not turning 24 until September, and has 2 full seasons plus 30 games of MLB experience. He collected 186 hits in 2007 in his final year in TB. He is a career .292 Major League hitter (.005 points higher then Span in his MINOR LEAGUE career). For being knocked around for his power developing slowly, he hit 10 HR's last year compared to Span's 16 for his entire career! His SB rate is better then Span's. Also important to note is that Delmon Young's BB:K rate improved from 26:127 in 2007 to 35:105 in 2008 (645 AB's in 2007 and 575 AB's in 2008). I don't watch a lot of Twins games, so I can't tell you much about his defense, but I do know he has a cannon for an arm, and last year was his first experience in LF in the bigs.
I can understand Twins fans possibly being bitter about dealing Garza and Bartlett for Delmon Young and Brendan Harris, but that said, I think it's way too early to write off Delmon. I think it would be foolish to move him since the return isn't likely to be as great as what was dealt for him. Also it's important to remember their are only 5 rotation spots, and while it would be nice to have Garza, the Twins have plenty of arms including Liriano, Baker, Slowey, Perkins, Blackburn, and the minor leaguers acquired for Johan on the way, Humber, Guerra, Mulvy.
If I'm a Twins fan I'm hoping Gardenhire is saying this to light a fire under Delmon's behind, otherwise I think this is a foolish decision from a manager who doesn't often make blunders like this.