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.
— Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here