It’s not just that the Twins pitching was in chaos for large portions of the 2021 season, that the starting rotation will need to be rebuilt from the ground up, or that the bullpen seemed to have a different trusted arm blow up every week. While all of those things are true, the more significant takeaway for Minnesota is that a guy like Taylor Rogers fits for this club, and his production is only heightened by the impact he has elsewhere.
Although Alexander Colome was hardly the reliever expectations suggested when he signed with the Twins, that acquisition gave Rocco Baldelli more reason to utilize his best arm in non-save situations. Rogers had been the Twins closer for the past couple of seasons. Being removed from the rigid use solely in the 9th inning, Minnesota could deploy the talented lefty in critical spots as they presented themselves.
He’ll be 31-years-old in 2022 and did see an ERA north of 4.00 for the first time in his career during the truncated 2020 season. However, his 13.2 K/9 in 2021 was a new career-high, and it came with a ridiculous 2.13 FIP. Although the 3.35 ERA was above the stellar marks from 2018 and 2019, it was clear Rogers was being done in by a combination of bad luck and bad fielding.
Minnesota can’t afford the uncertainty of their pitcher having a finger injury that saps effectiveness as a whole. Still, the hope would be that an offseason of rest and recovery provides a runway for Taylor to be back on the bump as expected. Should that be the case, the only decision comes down to an arbitration valuation that currently projects just shy of $7 million. Entering the final year of team control, Rogers would be due for a payday that falls short of a $1 million raise over his 2021 season. Considering the injury and time missed, that would seem like a steal and no-brainer for the Twins.
Unfortunately, paying relievers is a fickle beast, and you’re going to get burned more often than not. Minnesota handed the aforementioned Colome $6.25 million on a one-year pact this past season and was rewarded with the worst season of his career. Rogers being in that same boat is unlikely, and it’s hard to suggest that an arm with more upside is less deserving of the dollars.
When the dust settles on this decision, it will largely represent the Twins plans for the offseason. Again, there has to be faith in Rogers being healthy and ready to contribute. Still, if that’s there, it’s hard to suggest that saving roughly $7 million would represent anything but cost-cutting for a team that has publicly indicated they intend to compete. Minnesota needs to add and supplement talent this offseason, and parting with their best reliever doesn’t seem like a good plan of attack. The opportunity to deal him passed them by when Rogers was put on the shelf, but giving him up for nothing would be a worst-case scenario to this saga.
MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
— Latest Twins coverage from our writers
— Recent Twins discussion in our forums
— Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email