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Trading Rogers is Risky for Twins


Ted Schwerzler

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A handful of years back I wrote something along the lines of the Twins most necessary move was to deal Glen Perkins. He was competing at an All-Star level, and Minnesota was beyond terrible with no end in sight. A bad team didn’t need a closer, and the haul should’ve been handsome. In a similar spot, the Twins may be ill-advised to make that move with Taylor Rogers.

Yes, the Major League club is not good. No, the farm system doesn’t have a ton of immediate answers. This season isn’t going to result in a second-half turnaround, and a bullpen that’s already bad isn’t and hasn’t been saved by one good arm. The key difference here, however, is how Derek Falvey and Thad Levine view themselves in 2022.

Although good teams don’t necessarily need a closer, they absolutely need a strong bullpen. Moving Taylor Rogers with another year of team control, and as one of the most dominant relief arms in the sport, would suggest they don’t view a run coming in the year ahead either. Rocco Baldelli has seen his lineup come around over the past handful of weeks, but it’s still been pitching that has failed this club. While the rotation is chiefly to blame, supplementing and retooling the bullpen is a must for next season. Doing that with the additional hole that Rogers’ absence would cost becomes difficult.

This season Rogers owns a 2.65 ERA along with a 12.2 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9. In 2020 he posted an outlying 4.05 ERA, but it was hiding a 2.84 FIP and still fell in line the strikeout and walk rates across his career. The uncharacteristic 1.500 WHIP got Taylor last year and pitching in a short season without opportunity for positive regression didn’t help. His counting numbers are now back to who he always has been, and what the expectation should be.

Baseball right now remains enamored with high leverage relievers. This winter we saw the Chicago White Sox drop $54 million on Liam Hendriks. I don’t now what Rogers will earn two seasons from now, but he’ll be hitting the free agent market at the same age Hendriks did this year. Saves are a goofy stat, but they do get paid for at least in arbitration, and Rogers currently has more than Hendriks did when he was signed by the South Siders.

Maybe a team will blow the Twins away with a couple of top tier prospects. That doesn’t seem like a great bet given the relief trade market often seems to be filled with organizations looking to be opportunistic and capitalize on a veteran’s immediate success without much of a long-term commitment. If Falvey can find a taker willing to pony up though, then that’s a move Minnesota should consider.

If flipping Rogers is being done because he fits the category of desirable asset and the return is just good enough, I’d hope that this front office would reconsider. Maybe they don’t have intentions to reload in 2022, or they see that as a lofty goal. Either way, venturing down the path to relevance in the season ahead gets unquestionable tougher by taking an arm like Rogers out of an already deficient area of this roster.

Maybe you shouldn’t pay for relief help. The Twins best bullpen acquisitions this year were a waiver claim and a guy that cost $2 million. You certainly shouldn’t piece out the pen before you have to when you’re trying to re-ignite it though.

For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz

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I would rather KEEP Rogers since I think he's been the only truly reliable arm in our pen for 3+ seasons.  HOWEVER, since the genius known as "Rocco" sees fit to have a "closer by committee"  and we've shown all year long that Colome, Robles and company are very good at blowing games I'm more inclined to move him than keep him if the prospect haul is outstanding.  Heck, if you're not going to use your BEST to close let someone else have him.  This might explain why the FO failed to sign a closer of note and went with bargain basement guys.  If your manager doesn't really know HOW to use a closer why employ one and then ultimately have to PAY one.  

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4 hours ago, TopGunn#22 said:

I would rather KEEP Rogers since I think he's been the only truly reliable arm in our pen for 3+ seasons.  HOWEVER, since the genius known as "Rocco" sees fit to have a "closer by committee"  and we've shown all year long that Colome, Robles and company are very good at blowing games I'm more inclined to move him than keep him if the prospect haul is outstanding.  Heck, if you're not going to use your BEST to close let someone else have him.  This might explain why the FO failed to sign a closer of note and went with bargain basement guys.  If your manager doesn't really know HOW to use a closer why employ one and then ultimately have to PAY one.  

I understand where you're coming from, but disagree on the premise. Often times the highest leverage isn't in the 9th inning. That's why saves are a dumb statistic. You could be "closing" the game at any point from the 6th on. Colome has gone belly up on his career norms, and Robles has been about as expected. Duffey taking a step back has really hurt.

More to the point, I don't care if Rogers pitches the 9th, but if you're moving him it better be for a haul because fixing the bullpen is much more difficult when also now needing to replace one of the best arms in baseball.

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On 7/6/2021 at 5:02 AM, TopGunn#22 said:

 HOWEVER, since the genius known as "Rocco" sees fit to have a "closer by committee" 

This is a feature, not a bug. This is how most of the top bullpens work these days. The best pitcher is the 7/8 inning guy who faces the highest leverage or best hitters in the lineup, while the second best pitcher is generally put in for a clean 9th when the 6, 7, 8 batters are due up and ahead by 2 runs. 

BTW, is Rocco is nickname? That's the first time I've seen quotations used in reference to him.

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This team might have 1 more year left of its opportunity window with its current talent & contracts. By not improving the bullpen in 2020 & 21 they have wasted two chances to get to the World Series.

They desperately needed a closer then and will certainly need to improve both the rotation and bullpen next year.

If they dont, expect another disappointing season after which all their talent leaves via FA because their contracts are up and become unaffordable.

Most teams build to a 3 year window with the talent they have under contract.

After that only a few (aka the Yankees) can afford to keep or throw money at their players and remain at or near the top. These windows are rare for teams like the Twins, Royals, et Al and not taking advantage when one is open should be a sin!

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part of the Twins problem is that nobody knows their role in the bull pen, sometimes used in 6th inning next time the 9th, good teams have relievers that KNOW their role, our guys are clueless cause the manager is clueless. 

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All facets of Twins game went bad this year.  Manager included.  By the way do we have one?  To me the worst part of the team is pitching overall and bullpen specifically.  Why would you trade Berrios and/or Rogers when they are your best two pitchers and you need pitching?  Besides we always trade for " prospects" that MAY help in  2 or 3 years but usually don't. Twins are in such a mess!!

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27 minutes ago, Whitey333 said:

All facets of Twins game went bad this year.  Manager included.  By the way do we have one?  To me the worst part of the team is pitching overall and bullpen specifically.  Why would you trade Berrios and/or Rogers when they are your best two pitchers and you need pitching?  Besides we always trade for " prospects" that MAY help in  2 or 3 years but usually don't. Twins are in such a mess!!

You consider trading them because you don’t believe the Twins can compete in 2022 and both players are free agents after that season.

If you can’t compete in 2022, it’d be downright foolish *not* to trade them, frankly. 

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18 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

Rogers’ fate should be tied to the fates of Berríos and Buxton.

If one goes, all three should go. Maximize your return or try to compete in 2022. 

Yeah, these three are really the linchpins to what happens moving forward. You're either all in on the starter and centerfielder or you're all out on everything.

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Taylor, Byron and Jose are three guys that you listen to the offers. People will have to make their best. Then you decide. Can even put Cruz in this mix. 

 

Sadly, we will still see the stay behinds play and eat up innings and at bats.

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Trading Rogers now would be selling high. His value won’t be greater in the off-season when their is a supply of free agents and he has one year of control left. It won’t be greater next July.

Extend him instead? At 30 and with control through 31 he is not a good extension candidate. Someone will be paying for the decline that will come with his next contract.

If the reason to sell now is to sell high then the Twins need to set a high bar. They need a team to pay up or they need to hold this valuable asset.

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