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  • Twins/Padres Finalize Deal: Rogers, Rooker to San Diego for Chris Paddack, Emilio Pagan


    Seth Stohs

    Rumors started last night. It appears both sides took the night to sleep on it, and on Thursday morning have finalized a deal that sends Twins top reliever Taylor Rogers and outfielder Brent Rooker to the Padres in exchange for starter Chris Paddack and reliever Emilio Pagan. 

    Image courtesy of Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    There is no question that the Twins prioritized adding starting pitching this offseason. To this point, they had added Sonny Gray in a trade with the Reds, and free-agent deals with veterans Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer. 

    On Thursday, they added Padres right-hander Chris Paddack and reliever Emilio Pagan in exchange for All-Star closer Taylor Rogers and outfielder Brent Rooker. The Twins are sending $6.6 million to the Padres (essentially paying Rogers' 2022 salary, per Ken Rosenthal), and the Twins will be getting a Player to be Named Later. 

    The trade adds a young, team-controlled, backend-of-the-rotation starting pitcher (Paddack) to the team. In return, the Twins downgraded their bullpen a notch (Rogers vs. Pagan) and traded away a prospect they were likely going to lose for nothing (Rooker). In addition, while losing Rogers is difficult, years of team control make the deal make some sense. Rogers can become a free agent at the end of the 2022 season. Paddack has three more years of team control, and Pagan has two more years of team control. 

    Emilio Pagan is a 30-year old with over four years of service time. He will make $2.3 million in 2022 and eligible for arbitration in 2023. He played for the Mariners in 2017, the A's in 2018, the Rays in 2019, and the Padres the last two years. Last year, he went 4-3 with a 4.83 ERA. In 63 1/3 innings, he walked 18 and struck out 69 batters. During his season with the Rays, he posted his best season (which will surprise no one). He went 4-2 with 20 saves and a 2.31 ERA and a career-high 12.3 K/9 (96 K, 13 BB in 70 IP). 

    Pagan's weakness throughout his career has been that he give up too many home runs. He's always maintained a solid strikeout rate, and his career walk rate is a decent 2.3 BB/9. But he's been susceptible to the long ball, which balances an outstanding ability to keep runners off base. (He has a 1.031! career WHIP).

    But he's not Taylor Rogers. The 31-year-old Rogers was the Twins 11th round pick in 2012 out of the University of Kentucky. In 2013, he was the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. He made his debut in 2016 and has pitched in 319 games for the Twins over six seasons. He is 17-18 with 50 saves. In 314 2/3 innings, he struck out 361 batters (10.3). He is coming off of his best season in 2021. He went 2-4 with nine saves. In 40 1/3 innings, he walked just eight (2 intentional) and struck out 59 batters (13.2 K/9). He made his first All Star team, though he also missed the last two months of the season with a finger injury. He will also be a free agent at the end of the year. 

    In addition, Rogers has served as the team's player representative the past two seasons and led the Twins players through some rough years. He heads to the Padres where he will be able to compete against his brother Taylor and the Giants frequently. 

    The main target for the Twins in this trade is Paddack. He's only 26 years old. As a 23-year-old rookie in 2019, he went 9-7 with a 3.33 ERA. He had 153 strikeouts and 31 walks in 140 2/3 innings. Things haven't been real good since. In 2020, he went 4-5 with a 4.73 ERA. In 2021, he was 7-7 with a 5.07 ERA, though as people have pointed out, his FIP was just 3.78. While he throws a lot of strikes, his strikeout rate has dropped from 9.8 to 8.8 to 82 over his three seasons in the big leagues. 

    The other piece the Twins sent in return was Brent Rooker, who was drafted by the Twins in the Competitive Balance Round after the first round in 2017 after an amazing Triple Crown season in his final year at Mississippi State. The powerful slugger debuted in 2020 and hit .316 with two doubles and a homer in seven games before being hit by a pitch ended his season. In 2021, he played in 58 games with the Twins, but surprisingly wasn't called up until late July . He hit .201/.291/.397 (.688) with 10 doubles and nine home runs.

    It became increasingly clear that he wasn't going to get extended run with the Twins. In fact, the 'final' roster spot with the Twins appeared to be between Rooker and Kyle Garlick. With this move, we have our answer. In fact, it's possible that's the direction the Twins were already looking. If so, it's very possible that Rooker may have been DFAd to make room to add Garlick to the roster. 

    This story will continue to be edited as details and nuances are added. 

    What are your thoughts on this deal? 

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    Letting the kids pitch this year I guess. Which I guess is what I wanted after they decided not to go after any free agent starters.

    The team already has made it clear they won't pay for relievers though. With Rogers a free agent next year, we all probably should have seen this coming.

    Both pitchers coming back do help with the Twins lack of velocity. They need to hit their potential quickly though.

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    4 minutes ago, LewFordLives said:

    I don't get it. Paddack hasn't been good in two years. And the team control won't matter if he has a lingering elbow issue. Paddack brings no value added over other pitching options.

    Both pitchers have good control and some pretty dang good pitches; there's plenty of potential to go around with them. I'm more than happy to take either off of San Diego's hands. I just thought it would come at the expense of the more redundant corner outfielders.

    If Paddack is going into the rotation though, it sure better be at the expense of Dylan Bundy.

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    2 minutes ago, LewFordLives said:

    I don't get it. Paddack hasn't been good in two years. And the team control won't matter if he has a lingering elbow issue. Paddack brings no value added over other pitching options.

    That's an understandable reaction given his recent track record.  The one caveat I will add to that though is 2020 was a very small sample size, and the underlying numbers for 2021 give some hope that he could/should be ok going forward.

    Doesn't mean I like the trade, but I do at least understand it.

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    I don't like losing Rogers, but I don't mind this deal. Paddack's peripherals have been quite good and if he's able to get his ERA to more closely align with those peripherals this is a steal for the Twins. This likely puts more pressure on Alcala, Thielbar, and Duran to become big pen arms, but if you can trade a reliever with 1 year of control for a starter with 3 you should probably do that.

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    2 minutes ago, TheMatt said:

    Booo. Seriously,  Manaea  cost nothing and was considered better than Chris. And we lose our only reliable bullpen arm. Bad trade, poor off-season  with no real direction. Half compete, half not.

    Manaea is a free agent next year and this team was not built to win a WS in 2022. Manaea wouldn't have changed that.

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    5 minutes ago, DJL44 said:

    This still doesn't clear a spot on the 40 man for Kyle Garlick. 2 players on the roster for 2 players on the roster.

    Since they made the trade, I think they'd be able to instead bring someone back that they previously reassigned. Shouldn't have to be Garlick. The Rays brought back Josh Lowe after trading Austin Meadows.

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    I get it but I don't really like it.

    The value is skewed toward having the longer control on Paddack and Pagan versus Rogers.  But they are giving up their bullpen anchor for this year in order to receive rotation depth and bullpen depth.

    They also clearly don't really believe in ace relievers and think they can build a solid bullpen out of spare pieces.  They may be right about that as we've seen, but we also saw last year they can spend enough time losing games due to failed experiments that it might not matter once they figure out which spare pieces are actually good.

    Sure there may be upside for Paddack, but most likely he will be a mid to back end starter.  It's depth for the upcoming years but I think it would be overly hopeful to say that this won't make them worse this year. 

    Fangraphs depth charts projects the rotation and bullpen WAR before this trade to be 9.7 and 3.4 respectively.  We'll see what happens after they shuffle around the expected roles, but I don't see Paddack projecting to do much better than Archer, and I don't see Archer or whoever else gains bullpen innings making up even half of Roger's value.

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    5 minutes ago, TwinsDr2021 said:

    So maybe Cave?

    Cave's not on the 40 man either, he should be in the same boat as Garlick.

    My vote would be for Miranda and not care about having a RH outfielder, but my vote never counts. Larnach would be my second choice and if they were insistent on a righty I'd go with Celestino.

    But they'll probably find a way to squeeze Garlick onto the roster.

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    As long as they don’t give Pagan any high leverage situations they should be fine. He has performed very poorly in high leverage situations over his career with an OPS against of .841

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    14 minutes ago, nicksaviking said:

    Both pitchers have good control and some pretty dang good pitches; there's plenty of potential to go around with them. I'm more than happy to take either off of San Diego's hands. I just thought it would come at the expense of the more redundant corner outfielders.

    If Paddack is going into the rotation though, it sure better be at the expense of Dylan Bundy.

    Or go with a 6 man rotation until May 1 and release one of Archer/Bundy depending on who looks least bad 

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    9 minutes ago, CharlieDee said:

    Giving up Taylor Rogers for Paddock seems like a bad deal for this 2022 team.  We lose our best reliever and gain a starter who is obviously in decline.  

    If you look at Pagans year with the Rays in 2019 he pitched 70 innings, had 96 strike outs and had 20 saves. 2.31 era.  He thrived in the closer role. Home run numbers a bit high, but I think the FO views this kid as a late inning guy.

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    16 minutes ago, TheMatt said:

    Booo. Seriously,  Manaea  cost nothing and was considered better than Chris. And we lose our only reliable bullpen arm. Bad trade, poor off-season  with no real direction. Half compete, half not.

    Its the Minnesota sports team way after all. 

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    Rogers is/was a REALLY good trade chip. If Paddack turns out to be as bad as every Padres fan seems to think he is, I sure wish we could have done better. But if he turns into a solid #3, AND we pull some bullpen magic out of our butts, this will be a great trade. Again, Wes Johnson will have to be doing some amazing work.

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    3 minutes ago, jorgenswest said:

    As long as they don’t give Pagan any high leverage situations they should be fine. He has performed very poorly in high leverage situations over his career with an OPS against of .841

    Pagan has been mostly mediocre except the season he spent with the Rays. I'm convinced the Rays were using grip enhancers to cheat, I can't explain their assembly line success with mediocre relievers any other way.

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