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An Early Look Back on the Chris Paddack Trade


Twins Daily Contributor

On Wednesday we got news that two months after acquiring him, Chris Paddack had undergone the 2nd Tommy John surgery of his career. Despite the obvious disappointment, the book on this trade is far from written.

 

It was always fair to question trading away Taylor Rogers before a season in which the Twins were expected to compete. Chris Paddack did his part to quiet those worries through his first four starts, pitching to a sub 4.00 ERA and looking like a solid mid-rotation, arm who was controlled for three years. Now that he’s certain to miss the remainder of 2022 however, frustrations with the trade have begun to boil over again. It’s worth considering however that several pieces of this trade have yet to play out.

The full details of the trade involved the Twins shipping out Rogers and Brent Rooker and receiving Paddack, Emilio Pagán, and eventually player to be named later Brayan Medina. While the Twins have used Pagán in high leverage despite his tightrope act, the backbone of the trade was Rogers for Paddack. Admittedly this comparison is heavily skewed in the Padres favor, at least in the short term as we’re left with Pagan vs Rogers. Looking at the full picture however, we have a ways to go before declaring this trade a disaster.

The mainstream belief at this point is the Twins traded their fan-favorite invaluable relief arm for five starts of Chris Paddack. What people seem to have missed is that in acquiring Paddack, the Twins were actually acquiring his services through 2024. This fact doesn’t help them currently, but it provides plenty of time for the right-hander to make good on the Twins attempt to acquire a valuable starting pitcher.

Tommy John is still a dreaded announcement in baseball, but it’s not the boogeyman it once was. Even for players who have required it multiple times as Chris Paddack has, full recoveries have become the norm. This list includes Nate Eovaldi, Mike Clevinger, Drew Rasmussen, and many more. In addition to the overall effectiveness of the procedure, more and more cases have emerged where the pitcher returns in a much shorter time than what would have been expected even just a few years ago. Look no further than the Twins own Blayne Enlow in the minors who’s back on the mound after tearing his UCL about 10 months ago.

In Paddack’s case, no timeline has been announced yet. The word on the street however is the Twins almost exclusively defer to a new procedure when it comes to their players which expects a 9-12 month recovery rather than the traditional 12-18. We may not have anything concrete yet, but it’s entirely possible that Chris Paddack is still able to return for a good chunk of 2023 and all of 2024.

The context of the trade in which the Twins are now without the starting pitcher they wanted and without their best bullpen arm isn’t great, but in the aggregate, this trade still has the potential to be lopsided in their favor when all is said and done. Despite a high walk rate which we hope Pagán will iron out, he appears to have improved in multiple areas including strikeouts and limiting hard contact, and he’s controlled for two years. Paddack looked to have made improvements prior to injury that he could hopefully continue building off when once again healthy.

Make no mistake, I loved the value of this deal at the time it was announced and personally I’d hit the “undo” button at this point. Any time a player is acquired who almost immediately loses their entire season to injury, it’s safe to say things didn’t go your way. It’s also entirely fair to question why the Twins were even engaging in talks for a pitcher with a well known partially torn UCL. That being said, there is no “undo” button. There’s nothing wrong with saying this trade is bad, but such statements have to include an understanding that we’re far from done here. If Paddack comes back and provides a year and a half of the performance he showed in his first few starts, the Twins still nailed this one overall, even if it may cost them in 2022.

So what do you think? Is there still the potential we look back at some point and say the Twins won this trade? Without Rogers for this year does it even matter? Let us know below.


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Nothing has changed, except an awful trade got even worse. BTW, you forgot to mention the Twins are paying Rogers to pitch for San Diego as a bonus.

A team expecting to contend cannot make this deal. There is no value in "potential 2024 starter" to a 2022 team. None. Zero.

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One absolutely can’t be faulted for questioning the Twins thought process in completing this trade. I also see Paddack as a potentially strong contributor after he rehabs, but it makes me wonder if Falvey and Levine used a big chunk of hope and prayer when they pulled the trigger, given the injury history. I would have liked to be a fly on the wall when they were discussing his medical charts and plasma injection procedure of last September. What guided them to be as positive as they were about his chances to remain injury-free?

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My first take was, this sucks! But once Paddock started pitching and then realizing Tingler has a history with both pitchers, knows their character, personalities, work ethic etc, it seemed like a much better deal. Even at this point, with Paddock out, I'm good with this deal. Rogers would be gone at the end of the year.  Party on dudes

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Everyone is so focused on “contend” in 2022.  I truly believe they didn’t and do not believe they are championship team in 2022.  The push was for 2023.  Being competitive in 2022 with a eye on who can contributed and a piece moving forward.  
 

with Rogers only on the roster for 2022 he doesn’t help you in 2023.  
 

would having Rogers make us a better team now, yes.  Would it elevate your feeling of being a contender this yr?  For me it’s no!

great to have a competitive team and roster this summer but no illusions of us this fall.  If we can make it there

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I don't like this FO, think they are in over their heads. That said, while I think we lost this trade, it's an ok trade. We got a controllable starter and a few other pieces for a bullpen arm that would be gone at the end of the year and Rooker. It's a good return. I was also a bit lower on Rogers than others, thinking his best days were behind him. Better to trade him too soon rather than too late.

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I don't know why everyone thinks this trade was so bad. Rogers had plenty of questions coming into this year as well.  Is it as good as before Paddock was injured, No.  Would it have been a good thing to have Rogers in the bullpen for this year, yes.  Let's face it, Rogers was not going to be on the Roster after this year.  This was a trade made with a longer term plan.  The only thing I didn't understand is why the Twins agreed to basically pay for Rogers salary this season, but that is also the cost of getting a starting arm with upside in the MLB.  This trade truly can't be judged until we see what Paddack can do after the surgery.  Sure, if he misses most of next year as well, it will not look near as good but it could also look a whole lot better as we look back on it.

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While I think short term this trade hurts the Twins chances of making the playoffs or contending, long term it's going to be fine. If Paddock comes back fully healthy this trade is a total win, I get trying to keep him healthy and pitch this season, but I would have sent him for TJ immediately post trade. Rehab and rehabilitation never works. 

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While I agree this is/was a bad short-term trade, this is the type of trade teams like the Rays make all the time.  Trading good players with limited control, for other players with more.

Is there any indication the Twins would have extended Rogers?  If not, while it sucks for this year, it's the type of trade you make to extend your competitive window (even if it slightly closes it on the current year)

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Luis Gil trade kind of the opposite of Paddack trade, in my opinion it was better for the Yanks. Well, he is also having TJ surgery. Trade for any pitcher and you take that risk I guess.

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9 minutes ago, Macneil4025 said:

While I think short term this trade hurts the Twins chances of making the playoffs or contending, long term it's going to be fine. If Paddock comes back fully healthy this trade is a total win, I get trying to keep him healthy and pitch this season, but I would have sent him for TJ immediately post trade. Rehab and rehabilitation never works. 

That is a big "If" and this is his second TJ surgery so I wouldn't call the trade a win in any scenario, unless the third player they received Brayan Medina turns into the next Johan Santana. Pagan is a shaky reliever at best and losing Paddack makes this a big L. 

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It was definitely tough to give away Rodgers, and with Paddack out for the year and Pagan intent on pushing everyone's blood pressure through the roof, for 2022 this trade is a lose. I won't close the book on 2023 though, especially since it was unlikely the team was going to re-sign Rodgers.

One more thing to note: the Mets had a somewhat similar deal in place, and axed it after seeing Paddack's medicals. That fact cannot be ignored, because Falvine knew his arm was sketchy and took a massive risk anyway. I don't honestly believe they fully intended 2022 to be a balls-to-the-wall year to compete, but didn't want to admit only pushing a few chips into the middle of the table because of the backlash.

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A big part of those in favor of the trade with San Diego focused on the future 2-5 years down the road and some were having positive thoughts about next year. The old argument of assets, etc.

Some (transparency includes me) argued that Rogers held more value right now and as a trade chip should the Twins crash towards 100 losses in 2022. An expiring contract doesn't need to mean the end but many people felt Rogers was done as a Twin after this year.

This has been covered repeatedly on other posts. The Twins gambled ... so it goes. Now Pagan has become the $11 million man and the PTBNL (Pena) gets an asterisk as the potential future savior  of this trade. Life goes on. No worries.

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1 hour ago, gunnarthor said:

I don't like this FO, think they are in over their heads. That said, while I think we lost this trade, it's an ok trade. We got a controllable starter and a few other pieces for a bullpen arm that would be gone at the end of the year and Rooker. It's a good return. I was also a bit lower on Rogers than others, thinking his best days were behind him. Better to trade him too soon rather than too late.

You can question the trade all you want.....but the FO being in over their heads?  Joe Ryan for 1/2 season of Nelson Cruz?  Signing Correa?  Dumping Donaldson for Sanchez and Urshela?  I think the FO is doing just fine.....they made the trade....they took a shot and in the present time, it's a loss, but I like the fact that they went for it.  

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FO said we are in a win now mode, I'm all in with that, we have the core to do that. But we traded away our only legit closer (that's paying big dididends for SD) for a broken pitcher and a iffy reliever. Both of these pitchers could eventually work out but when? we need them now not 2 or 3 yrs. down the line if ever. I was against this trade from the beginning and for extending Taylor. 

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We can judge this trade on the success of our bullpen in the 2022 playoffs. Another factor in assessing this trade is the cost of any prospects traded to bolster the bullpen at the deadline.

They gambled their best bullpen arm in the only season they are guaranteed to have Correa for a pitcher with a history of arm trouble and little success since 2019. Three years gave them a good shot of winning the trade in paper. I would trade that paper win for a run with Correa in 2022 playoffs. I was very disappointed with the trade at the time.

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A front office hears about things in the trainer's room and from medical staff that the general public never gets a whiff of.  Minor ailments that respond to treatment, for instance.  I imagine that an attitude sets in, "hey, show me a pitcher who HASN'T encountered elbow soreness."

Still, by the time the public does become aware, the odds become higher that the problem is serious.  Statisticians have a concept about "conditional probability" that covers it.  This instance feels like, among all the minute details that the Twins must have considered about the return in the trade they were negotiating, they managed to discount the one big red flag that was waving: the centerpiece of their trade had recently been on the injured list with elbow soreness.

Trading for 3 years of contractual control over a good starting pitcher looks like a lot less of a bargain if the odds are 50/50 that you'll lose 18 months of those years to diminished performance, surgery and recovery, and rehab stints in the minors.

The trade looked bad the moment the rumors came out.  I'm not against taking a risk, but it needed to be on an arm with bigger upside than Chris Paddack.

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5 minutes ago, LewFordLives said:

What hope is there that he will contribute in 2023 or 2024? Apart from his rookie campaign in 2019 he's been terrible. That's what I never understood about this trade. He just isn't that good, and he had a known issue with his elbow. What was the Twins front office thinking?

I think it is a fair question to wonder whether it is worth tendering Paddack. There are very few successful second Tommy John surgeries and look at the time between games for Eovaldi or Capuano or Clevinger or Rasmussen. I think those are the 4 success stories amidst forty some according to the Post. Did any return in less than 16 months? Eovaldi was August 10, 2016 to May 30, 2018. Capuano missed 2 years. Rasmussen had surgery in September 2017 and returned April 2019. Clevinger was September of 2020 and returned this month. It is unreasonable to expect more than one year of Paddack and by then it will be 5 years since his last good season. Is that any different than the usual fliers like Bundy and Archer? They shouldn’t look at him as any different then those two and I am not sure that is worth the cost of a 40 man spot the two off seasons and arb salaries.

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A lot depends on whether Pagan irons out his histrionics and settles down to give good weight. If so, we have him now and both next year. FO have faith in the farm. This is a country built on farms, so I’m content to see how things develop.

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So we've got a guy who's having Tommy John surgery for the second time out for this year and probably for a good chunk of next year.  And we gave up our only proven closer who's having a career year, leading the league in saves with a minuscule .52 era in order to possibly realize the possibility that Paddack might possibly contribute something in 2024.  And we're paying his full salary to boot.   Even with Pagan thrown in, how could anyone put a positive spin on this? 

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1 hour ago, TheLeviathan said:

Good process, unfortunate result so far.  Anyone who judges a trade with years of outcomes undetermined is bound to look like a fool more times than not.

Does that include those who judged the trade positively?

 

Does that include you?

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2 hours ago, ashbury said:

I'm not against taking a risk, but it needed to be on an arm with bigger upside than Chris Paddack.

I think in the excitement of flipping a reliever for a SP with 3 years of control, the question of "what are you really getting?" kind of fell by the wayside. I agree with the general rule that says you make that move nearly every time, but context matters, as we've unfortunately found out. 

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I originally thought the trade was a mixed bag - it was a fine return for Rogers (and Rooker, but he has zero value to me so it's really just Rogers), and it seemed like Paddack was going to rebound from his 2020 and 2021 seasons, and we definitely needed another starting pitcher. I didn't go into the positive range because it made our questionable bullpen even more shaky. 

And now it just looks like a bad trade. Getting so little out of Paddack in 2022 and 2023 irrevocably ruins the trade for me. We gave San Diego one year of one of the best relievers in baseball, and now all we've got is Pagan (whose peripherals suggest that he'll be sharply regressing sooner than later) and Brayan Medina, a 19 year old pitcher who is several years away from debuting, which I'd consider a lottery ticket. That's simply a bad trade for a team that is looking to be in playoff contention.

All that being said, the bullpen has overachieved thus far, and it's absolutely possible to add help to the bullpen. Maybe Alcala will return and finally become the reliever we've hoped he could be. But we can't go into another playoff series with the pitching staff being duct taped together and having to convince ourselves that they have what it takes to go on a run when they never had a chance (looking at you, 2019 Twins). A single bad trade doesn't have to loom over the season if they don't let it.

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45 minutes ago, KirbyDome89 said:

I think in the excitement of flipping a reliever for a SP with 3 years of control, the question of "what are you really getting?" kind of fell by the wayside. I agree with the general rule that says you make that move nearly every time, but context matters, as we've unfortunately found out. 

I don't know if that question fell by the wayside, but perhaps more digging should have been done into other teams passing on him for medical reasons.  I feel like the question you pose here was explored more from a "can he bounce back to the top young arm he was?" and less "is his arm good to go?"  I feel like that part of it did get brushed aside a bit because, let's face it, it's hard to find a pitcher these days that doesn't have a history of arm problems.  

I'd like to hear more from the team about why they thought differently than the Mets on the medical side.

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