In what has been a nightmare season for the Minnesota Twins’ bullpen, Taylor Rogers has been one of the few bright spots. Through 29 appearances thus far, Rogers owns a sparkling 2.67 ERA with a career high K/9 of 12.5. Rogers has been used in every type of situation as well, playing the role of left-handed specialist, fireman and closer, proving time and time again to be Rocco Baldelli’s most trusted arm in the bullpen. After a 2020 season in which Rogers was extremely unlucky, regression has tilted back in his favor in 2021, and the results are proving again that he is an exceptionally talented pitcher.
As a talented pitcher on a struggling baseball team, the reaction from some may be that Taylor Rogers is a prime trade candidate. Playoff teams can always use another reliever, and with 1.5 years remaining on his deal, a Taylor Rogers trade could net the Twins a solid return. While the logic behind that thinking is sound, there is another alternative that could benefit the Twins even more, a contract extension.
There are several reasons why a contract extension for Taylor Rogers would make a lot of sense for the Minnesota Twins. The first of which is extremely basic, Taylor Rogers is a really good pitcher. Since the start of 2018, Rogers ranks in the top-20 among all relievers in innings pitched, ERA, WHIP and K/BB ratio. Simply put, Rogers is one of the best bullpen arms in all of baseball.
Secondly, the Minnesota Twins bullpen is one of the worst bullpens in baseball with not many names to count on going forward. Outside of Taylor Rogers, the only semi-reliable names that the Twins have for the future are Tyler Duffey, who is having his worst season since 2018, and Jorge Alcala, who has shown promise but is nowhere near a sure thing. Taking a bad bullpen, and removing its best piece would be risky and leave a huge question mark for that unit for a Minnesota Twins team who will be hoping to compete again in 2022 or 2023.
Additionally, by extending Taylor Rogers this offseason, the Minnesota Twins would be able to save annual money by committing longevity to Rogers. After earning $6M in his second year of arbitration prior to 2021, Rogers will likely be looking at a 3rd year arbitration contract of $7.5M heading into 2022. If the Twins want to save money on Rogers’ third year of arbitration, as well as avoid Rogers becoming an unrestricted free agent, they could offer Rogers a 3 year contract at $20M. This contract would net Rogers an AAV of $6.67M, saving the Twins money in 2022, as well as ensuring that they maintain some consistency in their bullpen by bringing back their best reliever at a reasonable contract.
Signing a reliever to a contract extension is always going to be a risky proposition, especially for someone like Rogers who will turn 31 this offseason. The lefty, however, has just 300 big league innings on his arm and has shown no signs of slowing down, increasing his velocity and whiff % to career highs in 2021. As a great clubhouse guy, Rogers brings more than just talent to the Minnesota Twins and would be the perfect bridge player to not only lead the bullpen over the next couple of years, but usher in the bullpen arms of the future.
The Twins should extend Taylor Rogers.