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  • The Twins Need Taylor Rogers

    Ted Schwerzler

    After being an All-Star for the first time in 2021, Minnesota Twins reliever Taylor Rogers also found himself a first-time participant on the Injured List. With a middle finger injury that ended his season, uncertainty abounds as he enters arbitration, but Minnesota needs him.

    Image courtesy of Jesse Johnson, USA TODAY Sports

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    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.

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    i think he's worth bringing back at the arbitration price. he's good enough that you generally know what you're getting, a 1 year deal has minimal risk, he should have time to recover from the injury by spring training, and he'd have some value at the trade deadline if things tank for the twins again next year.

    He's a good pitcher and with him, Thielbar, and Moran they'd really have the left side of the bullpen well covered with guys who can destroy lefty batters but also be effective against righties. (I believe in Moran's change) With Rogers back, they could have a very good, very flexible, and very effective bullpen.

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    Who else would they sign?  We know Rogers and he has the potential to come back and be a very good relief pitcher.  Robles and Colome and all the dumpster dives prove that it is often best to stay with the reliever you know than to hope you can find a better one.  The White Sox thought they had what they needed in Kimbrel - he has the history and record, but the cost did not meet the results.   Philadelphia keeps signing RP and watching them flame out.  BP management and reliable arms are what we need. 

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    Relievers can be great or can blow up in your face. They also tend to run in streaks. I have always liked Rogers and hope they keep him. The injury is an issue but we'll see. My guess is they'll keep him and Colome' and spend their money on starters.

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    On 10/22/2021 at 11:39 AM, h2oface said:

    Good luck to us all. I fear his decision to do nothing about his now stretched finger ligament will cost him 2022, too. 

    I don't think it matters as much as I initially thought. When I looked at the surgical results and timetables, he likely would have missed a lot of next season. Seems to be a bit similar to a UCL recovery timeline because of the extra bracing needed at full workload. Also, it doesn't seem like the surgery is nearly as successful as UCL surgery.

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