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  1. Last week, former Twins closer Taylor Rogers reached agreement with the San Francisco Giants. The size and length of the reliever's new deal came as a shock, offering insight about what the Twins can expect should they venture into the relief market to spend their remaining dollars. Image courtesy of Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports The Giants and Taylor Rogers reportedly agreed last Friday to a three-year deal worth $33 million. This kind of contract wouldn't have been to surprising had it been signed, say, mid-way through the 2021 season, during which Rogers was an All-Star for the Twins. But he missed the last two months of that season with a finger injury, and then struggled his way through 2022 for two different teams, posting a 4.35 ERA for the Padres and then 5.48 down the stretch in Milwaukee. His underlying metrics were not bad – we'll get to that shortly – and Rogers had a very strong prior track record. Also, we know the Giants had money to burn after whiffing on both Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa. Still... Thirty-three million dollars?! For a guy who had all the looks of a buy-low candidate fishing for a make-good deal? In this economy?!? Even in a clearly inflated free agent market, I find this deal stunning and fascinating. Even if Rogers wasn't a top target for the Twins – sure seems that way – there are some implications worth exploring in terms of what this means for a potential pursuit of remaining free agent relievers. First: The cost for free agent relief pitching is astronomical. We already knew this long before Rogers signed. Edwin Diaz struck the biggest payday for a relief pitcher in history. Roberto Suarez ($46M) and Rafael Montero ($34.5M) received contracts that are pretty much unprecedented for non-closers. This contract for Rogers is merely another piece of supporting evidence to confirm what we already knew: in order to acquire impact relief pitching in free agency, the Twins will need to move well past their comfort zone. To contextualize, the $33 million deal Rogers got coming off a bad year is twice the size of the largest contract the Twins have ever given a free agent reliever (2 years, $16.75 million for Addison Reed). At the time, Reed was an elite late-inning arm, coming off a great season and three years younger than Rogers is now. Further context: if the Twins signed Rogers to the same deal he got from San Francisco, it would rank as the third-largest sum handed to a free agent in seven years under this front office (sixth-largest in franchise history). That distinction currently belongs to Christian Vazquez and his $30 million contract signed earlier this offseason. And to reiterate, Rogers was NOT GOOD this past season. At no point was he a reliable late-inning fixture resembling his prime years in Minnesota. The lefty was bad enough in San Diego that the championship-obsessed Padres traded for an upgrade in Josh Hader at the deadline (didn't quite work out). After getting traded to Milwaukee, Rogers posted a negative-1.02 Win Probability Added for a Brewers team that missed the postseason by ... one game. Rogers was not only bad, but very consequentially bad, which is the same statement you can make about the guy Minnesota traded him for: Emilio Pagan. Would anyone have been excited about the Twins signing Rogers on these terms, even though it ostensibly meets the need to spend money and show initiative? Actually, invoking Pagan brings me to the other big revelation from examining Rogers' new deal with the Giants: Teams are paying for indicators over results. I should clarify that when I say Rogers was bad last year, I mean his results were bad, not necessarily his underlying indicators of performance. Some would say that's a distinction without a difference, but to the Giants and whoever helped run up the bidding on Rogers, clearly it's not. On the surface, the narrative seems clear: Rogers was plagued by a serious finger issue in 2021. The Twins traded him just ahead of the 2022 season, at least in part because they were concerned about lingering effects from that injury on an extremely slider-reliant pitcher. They were right. Rogers scuffled through the worst season of his career. And now the Giants, who just backed out of a mega-deal with Correa because of an eight-year-old ankle injury, are paying $33 million to inherit all of this risk and apparent decline. But when you take a deeper look, this version of events doesn't quite hold up. If Rogers' finger was truly affecting him, you'd expect to see tangible signs of it: diminishing velocity, reduced spin rate, wayward control. None of that was really the case. Rogers' 2.7 BB/9 rate was a bit high by his standards, but hardly terrible. His K/9 rate (11.8) and K% (30.7%) were both above his career benchmarks. His home run rate was typical (about one per nine innings). There were no signs of trouble gripping and executing a featured slider that produced a .191 batting average and 38% whiff rate, while leaned on to a higher degree than ever before. The Giants paid Rogers based on these qualities, not the ugly ERA or the season-altering breakdowns on the mound. Which is an interesting dynamic when you think about Pagan and the Twins. Many of the same things we're saying here about Rogers can be applied to Pagan, whose contract tender from Minnesota in November raised a lot of ire from the fan base. The case for Pagan outperforming his peripherals isn't quite as compelling – he had a 4.21 FIP compared to 3.31 for Rogers – but in both cases, the stuff is undeniable and there's big upside beyond what we see on the stats page. After seeing Rogers get $33 million from San Francisco, it becomes a bit easier to grasp the idea that Minnesota had several trade suitors lining up for Pagan, and that his projected $3.7 million contract could be viewed as somewhat of a bargain. Of course, it's unlikely this will change anyone's opinion on Pagan. And bringing him back will certainly not stand on its own as a satisfactory approach to reinforcing the Twins bullpen, in anyone's eyes. Luckily, there are still quite a few interesting arms out there on the free agent relief market, which has developed more slowly than starters and hitters. Assuming the Twins miss out on Correa again, and don't sign Nathan Eovaldi, there are few other obvious places to focus their remaining budget and make an impact. Building a bullpen that is ultra-deep on quality options, to offset question marks in the rotation and protect against key reliever injuries or setbacks, would seem to be one of the few remaining paths for an offseason that legitimately positions the Twins as assertive contenders. Read More: Looking Toward the Bullpen Market by Cody Pirkl There's already a very solid foundation in place, so the addition of an arm or two like – say – Matt Moore or Andrew Chafin or even our old friend Michael Fulmer could have outsized benefit. But as the Rogers contract illustrates, none of these guys will be coming at a bargain and whichever route they go, the Twins will likely have to overpay on faith. Something this front office doesn't tend to do. Yet, something's gotta give if the Twins want to demonstrate to their fans that they give a dang about making a push in 2023. Thus far their moves have felt more obligatory (Vazquez, Kyle Farmer) or confusing and lateral (Pagan, Joey Gallo) than strategic. The relief market offers opportunities for more purposeful, decisive upgrades ... if Minnesota's willing to meet the price. View full article
  2. The Giants and Taylor Rogers reportedly agreed last Friday to a three-year deal worth $33 million. This kind of contract wouldn't have been to surprising had it been signed, say, mid-way through the 2021 season, during which Rogers was an All-Star for the Twins. But he missed the last two months of that season with a finger injury, and then struggled his way through 2022 for two different teams, posting a 4.35 ERA for the Padres and then 5.48 down the stretch in Milwaukee. His underlying metrics were not bad – we'll get to that shortly – and Rogers had a very strong prior track record. Also, we know the Giants had money to burn after whiffing on both Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa. Still... Thirty-three million dollars?! For a guy who had all the looks of a buy-low candidate fishing for a make-good deal? In this economy?!? Even in a clearly inflated free agent market, I find this deal stunning and fascinating. Even if Rogers wasn't a top target for the Twins – sure seems that way – there are some implications worth exploring in terms of what this means for a potential pursuit of remaining free agent relievers. First: The cost for free agent relief pitching is astronomical. We already knew this long before Rogers signed. Edwin Diaz struck the biggest payday for a relief pitcher in history. Roberto Suarez ($46M) and Rafael Montero ($34.5M) received contracts that are pretty much unprecedented for non-closers. This contract for Rogers is merely another piece of supporting evidence to confirm what we already knew: in order to acquire impact relief pitching in free agency, the Twins will need to move well past their comfort zone. To contextualize, the $33 million deal Rogers got coming off a bad year is twice the size of the largest contract the Twins have ever given a free agent reliever (2 years, $16.75 million for Addison Reed). At the time, Reed was an elite late-inning arm, coming off a great season and three years younger than Rogers is now. Further context: if the Twins signed Rogers to the same deal he got from San Francisco, it would rank as the third-largest sum handed to a free agent in seven years under this front office (sixth-largest in franchise history). That distinction currently belongs to Christian Vazquez and his $30 million contract signed earlier this offseason. And to reiterate, Rogers was NOT GOOD this past season. At no point was he a reliable late-inning fixture resembling his prime years in Minnesota. The lefty was bad enough in San Diego that the championship-obsessed Padres traded for an upgrade in Josh Hader at the deadline (didn't quite work out). After getting traded to Milwaukee, Rogers posted a negative-1.02 Win Probability Added for a Brewers team that missed the postseason by ... one game. Rogers was not only bad, but very consequentially bad, which is the same statement you can make about the guy Minnesota traded him for: Emilio Pagan. Would anyone have been excited about the Twins signing Rogers on these terms, even though it ostensibly meets the need to spend money and show initiative? Actually, invoking Pagan brings me to the other big revelation from examining Rogers' new deal with the Giants: Teams are paying for indicators over results. I should clarify that when I say Rogers was bad last year, I mean his results were bad, not necessarily his underlying indicators of performance. Some would say that's a distinction without a difference, but to the Giants and whoever helped run up the bidding on Rogers, clearly it's not. On the surface, the narrative seems clear: Rogers was plagued by a serious finger issue in 2021. The Twins traded him just ahead of the 2022 season, at least in part because they were concerned about lingering effects from that injury on an extremely slider-reliant pitcher. They were right. Rogers scuffled through the worst season of his career. And now the Giants, who just backed out of a mega-deal with Correa because of an eight-year-old ankle injury, are paying $33 million to inherit all of this risk and apparent decline. But when you take a deeper look, this version of events doesn't quite hold up. If Rogers' finger was truly affecting him, you'd expect to see tangible signs of it: diminishing velocity, reduced spin rate, wayward control. None of that was really the case. Rogers' 2.7 BB/9 rate was a bit high by his standards, but hardly terrible. His K/9 rate (11.8) and K% (30.7%) were both above his career benchmarks. His home run rate was typical (about one per nine innings). There were no signs of trouble gripping and executing a featured slider that produced a .191 batting average and 38% whiff rate, while leaned on to a higher degree than ever before. The Giants paid Rogers based on these qualities, not the ugly ERA or the season-altering breakdowns on the mound. Which is an interesting dynamic when you think about Pagan and the Twins. Many of the same things we're saying here about Rogers can be applied to Pagan, whose contract tender from Minnesota in November raised a lot of ire from the fan base. The case for Pagan outperforming his peripherals isn't quite as compelling – he had a 4.21 FIP compared to 3.31 for Rogers – but in both cases, the stuff is undeniable and there's big upside beyond what we see on the stats page. After seeing Rogers get $33 million from San Francisco, it becomes a bit easier to grasp the idea that Minnesota had several trade suitors lining up for Pagan, and that his projected $3.7 million contract could be viewed as somewhat of a bargain. Of course, it's unlikely this will change anyone's opinion on Pagan. And bringing him back will certainly not stand on its own as a satisfactory approach to reinforcing the Twins bullpen, in anyone's eyes. Luckily, there are still quite a few interesting arms out there on the free agent relief market, which has developed more slowly than starters and hitters. Assuming the Twins miss out on Correa again, and don't sign Nathan Eovaldi, there are few other obvious places to focus their remaining budget and make an impact. Building a bullpen that is ultra-deep on quality options, to offset question marks in the rotation and protect against key reliever injuries or setbacks, would seem to be one of the few remaining paths for an offseason that legitimately positions the Twins as assertive contenders. Read More: Looking Toward the Bullpen Market by Cody Pirkl There's already a very solid foundation in place, so the addition of an arm or two like – say – Matt Moore or Andrew Chafin or even our old friend Michael Fulmer could have outsized benefit. But as the Rogers contract illustrates, none of these guys will be coming at a bargain and whichever route they go, the Twins will likely have to overpay on faith. Something this front office doesn't tend to do. Yet, something's gotta give if the Twins want to demonstrate to their fans that they give a dang about making a push in 2023. Thus far their moves have felt more obligatory (Vazquez, Kyle Farmer) or confusing and lateral (Pagan, Joey Gallo) than strategic. The relief market offers opportunities for more purposeful, decisive upgrades ... if Minnesota's willing to meet the price.
  3. Minnesota's front office might need to shift to trading players to complete the 2023 roster. However, their recent track record with deals isn't spotless. Let's look back at the Twins and Padres trade from last off-season. Image courtesy of Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports In spring training, the Twins had Taylor Rogers and Jhoan Duran scheduled to be a dominant back-end duo in the Twins' bullpen. On April 7th, the Twins sent Rogers and Brent Rooker to the Padres for Chris Paddack, Emilio Pagan, and Brayan Medina. San Diego wanted an upgrade to their bullpen, while the Twins got a controllable starting pitcher and a reliever with late-inning experience. The deal made sense for both teams on paper, but the players involved struggled through much of the season. Chris Paddack's Struggles Paddack's Twins tenure started well as he posted a 3.15 ERA with a 16-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his first four starts. Something wasn't right in his fifth start as he allowed three runs while only recording seven outs. He walked off the mound on May 8th and didn't pitch another inning in 2022. In the middle of May, he underwent his second Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Paddack's recovery sidelines him until the middle of next season, but there is hope the Twins can get him back for the stretch run. He is under contract for two more seasons, so the team hopes he can provide value over the end of his team control. Emilio Pagan's Struggles Pagan's first season with the Twins couldn't have gone much worse. In 59 appearances (63 innings), he posted a 4.43 ERA with a 1.37 WHIP, but that doesn't tell the whole story. Minnesota continued to use Pagan in high-leverage situations, even with his struggles. Pagan's -0.4 WAR ranked fourth lowest on the team, with only Yennier Cano, Joe Smith, and Trevor Megill ranking lower. According to Win Probability Added (WPA), Pagan ranked 33rd out of 38 Twins pitchers with a -0.99 WPA. Minnesota tendered Pagan a contract for 2023, which might tie to his improved performance in the second half. In 25 games, he posted a 3.56 ERA with a 1.35 WHIP and 10.7 K/9. Barring a trade, Pagan will be part of Minnesota's bullpen in 2023. Taylor Rogers' Struggles Rogers started the year strongly before struggling mightily down the stretch. He posted a 3.82 ERA in the first half with a 0.98 WHIP and 10.5 K/9. San Diego continued to use him in a late-inning role, and he accumulated 26 saves. In July, his performance declined as he allowed ten earned runs on 17 hits in 9 2/3 innings. With the Padres, Rogers was worth -0.68 WPA and a -0.2 WAR. At the beginning of August, the Padres sent Rogers to the Brewers for a package that included Josh Hader. He struggled after the trade with a 5.48 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. Relievers work in small sample sizes, and it was the first time Rogers struggled for most of a season. He's left-handed and has a proven track record, so a team will sign him and look for him to bounce back in 2023. Rogers is a free agent searching for a new home for 2023, so that portion of the trade is done from the Padres' perspective. Minnesota will hope for an improved performance from Pagan in 2023 and that Paddack can be part of the 2024 rotation. The Twins have a chance to recoup some value, but both teams look like losers at this point. Which team was hurt more by the trade? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  4. In spring training, the Twins had Taylor Rogers and Jhoan Duran scheduled to be a dominant back-end duo in the Twins' bullpen. On April 7th, the Twins sent Rogers and Brent Rooker to the Padres for Chris Paddack, Emilio Pagan, and Brayan Medina. San Diego wanted an upgrade to their bullpen, while the Twins got a controllable starting pitcher and a reliever with late-inning experience. The deal made sense for both teams on paper, but the players involved struggled through much of the season. Chris Paddack's Struggles Paddack's Twins tenure started well as he posted a 3.15 ERA with a 16-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his first four starts. Something wasn't right in his fifth start as he allowed three runs while only recording seven outs. He walked off the mound on May 8th and didn't pitch another inning in 2022. In the middle of May, he underwent his second Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Paddack's recovery sidelines him until the middle of next season, but there is hope the Twins can get him back for the stretch run. He is under contract for two more seasons, so the team hopes he can provide value over the end of his team control. Emilio Pagan's Struggles Pagan's first season with the Twins couldn't have gone much worse. In 59 appearances (63 innings), he posted a 4.43 ERA with a 1.37 WHIP, but that doesn't tell the whole story. Minnesota continued to use Pagan in high-leverage situations, even with his struggles. Pagan's -0.4 WAR ranked fourth lowest on the team, with only Yennier Cano, Joe Smith, and Trevor Megill ranking lower. According to Win Probability Added (WPA), Pagan ranked 33rd out of 38 Twins pitchers with a -0.99 WPA. Minnesota tendered Pagan a contract for 2023, which might tie to his improved performance in the second half. In 25 games, he posted a 3.56 ERA with a 1.35 WHIP and 10.7 K/9. Barring a trade, Pagan will be part of Minnesota's bullpen in 2023. Taylor Rogers' Struggles Rogers started the year strongly before struggling mightily down the stretch. He posted a 3.82 ERA in the first half with a 0.98 WHIP and 10.5 K/9. San Diego continued to use him in a late-inning role, and he accumulated 26 saves. In July, his performance declined as he allowed ten earned runs on 17 hits in 9 2/3 innings. With the Padres, Rogers was worth -0.68 WPA and a -0.2 WAR. At the beginning of August, the Padres sent Rogers to the Brewers for a package that included Josh Hader. He struggled after the trade with a 5.48 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. Relievers work in small sample sizes, and it was the first time Rogers struggled for most of a season. He's left-handed and has a proven track record, so a team will sign him and look for him to bounce back in 2023. Rogers is a free agent searching for a new home for 2023, so that portion of the trade is done from the Padres' perspective. Minnesota will hope for an improved performance from Pagan in 2023 and that Paddack can be part of the 2024 rotation. The Twins have a chance to recoup some value, but both teams look like losers at this point. Which team was hurt more by the trade? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  5. The Twins need bullpen help and could certainly use another left hander to mix and match with late in games. Luckily an old friend is looking for a home this winter. Is a reunion with Taylor Rogers in the cards? Image courtesy of Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports The Twins have mostly neglected the bullpen in years past and it’s more often than not blown up in their faces. The few additions they typically make are what many consider “bargain bin” pitchers, typically coming off of rough seasons in search of a bounce back. By targeting Taylor Rogers, they can stick to the strategy we’ve seen them use time and time again, though this time the payoff could be much better. Rogers is coming off of a rough season by his standards. In 64 innings he posted a 4.76 ERA. His strikeout rate remained strong at 30.7%, still in the 10th percentile in all of baseball. His walks ticked up slightly as did his homers, though neither to a worrisome degree. While his peripherals were higher than usual, they were far from disastrous (3.32 FIP, 3.26 xFIP). His season was marred by untimely meltdowns, blowing 10 saves between San Diego and Milwaukee. Is there hope Rogers could rebound in his age-32 season? As noted, Rogers was still able to strike out hitters at an impressive clip, and while his average fastball was down over a full tick from 2021, his average of 94.3 mph isn’t far off from his career norm. There isn’t much to suggest that he’s entered the decline of his career quite yet aside from his unsightly ERA. One little talked about factor of Rogers's season is that it appeared San Diego changed the shape of his slider. The pitch was three mph slower than it was in 2021 and had 40.4 inches of drop as opposed to 35.7 in 2021. Instead of the hard breaker we’d grown accustomed to seeing, Rogers was throwing more of a looping breaking ball. While the results didn’t show up on the slider, it was likely easier to differentiate between his out-pitch and his sinker. His slider’s underlying success was about the same, but his fastball produced the worst underlying numbers of his career. It seems like this would be an easy fix for Rogers to make. With the rest of his stuff appearing to be intact, Rogers could be due for a huge bounce-back. At the very least his underlying numbers as is suggest he massively underperformed in 2022. Rogers also had an absurd 16 saves through May 21, as a questionable Padres bullpen leaned on him heavily to begin the season before he began to unravel. We saw a decline in performance from the left-hander in Minnesota during several seasons when Rogers was ridden particularly hard. The Padres may have simply bent him until he broke early in the year, especially given the fact that he was coming off of a finger injury. A Twins bullpen consisting of Duran, Jax, Thielbar, Lopez, etc. is a far cry from the bullpens of Twins past or the Padres early 2022 bullpen in which Rogers was the go-to guy for every situation. With more options, the Twins would be able to avoid any kind of burnout Rogers has suffered from in the past. In regards to the fit, the Twins could greatly use another left-handed option even as Caleb Thielbar has become a certified dude. Having two left-handed options who can also get righties out at a respectable clip would add an entirely new dimension to the Twins bullpen. We often saw Thielbar pitching in late situations regardless of matchup in 2022 when other arms were missing or struggling, leaving the Twins without another effective lefty if a matchup opportunity arose. Rogers would be an easy and familiar fix. Let's be honest. The Twins aren’t going to all of a sudden pony up and sign a legit back end of the bullpen reliever. It’s not in their DNA. There’s a lengthy list of their typical candidates they’ll probably be plucking a few names from in hopes that one of their bounce-back projects finally works out. Instead of hitching their wagon to an Ian Kennedy or Archie Bradley, why not reach out to a familiar face with tangible signs of a rebound in their profile? Not to mention the fact that it would be a homecoming for a homegrown player who was just recently a fan favorite. Taylor Rogers checks a lot of boxes that the Twins are looking for, and a reunion just seems like it would make too much sense. Should we be hoping to see the former anchor of the Twins bullpen added back to a new look core at the back end of games in 2023? Let us know below. View full article
  6. After the Minnesota Twins decided to trade their closer right before Opening Day last season, the bullpen was immediately thrown in flux. It remained to be seen who would take over and what the roles would look like. Thinking ahead to 2023, it’s worth wondering if there should be a more rigid plan. Image courtesy of Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports In 2021 there was no question who was coming in to save games for the Minnesota Twins. Taylor Rogers had established himself as an All-Star level closer, and when there was a save opportunity in the 8th or 9th inning, he was going to get it. Last season that role started with Emilio Pagan, then transitioned somewhat to Jhoan Duran, then Jorge Lopez was expected to take over, and truthfully no one ever held the job. Rocco Baldelli’s bullpen recorded 28 saves in 2022, but they were split between nine different arms. Pagan led the group with nine, while Duran had eight. Across baseball, 35 different pitchers recorded more than nine saves on their own. In fact, 18 different pitchers reached at least 20 saves. Meanwhile, Minnesota didn’t have a single-arm record half that many. For years the save statistic has been debated regarding its usefulness. Unfortunately, there are plenty of times when the game is on the line, but it’s not yet the 9th inning. There are also all of the times when a save is recorded, but only three outs are needed and the leading team is ahead comfortably by three runs. Debating whether or not saves should matter is one thing, but giving a level of predictability to routine-oriented players may help. Last season there was no denying that Jhoan Duran was the saving grace in relief for Minnesota. Had he not developed and emerged as an elite arm, an already questionable bullpen would’ve been in complete disarray. With very little else to count on for much of the year, Baldelli found himself needing to utilize Duran earlier in games. He was often brought in during the highest-leverage moments, then would hand the game over to whoever was left. As the bullpen eroded though, it became a waiting game to see if everyone else could get it to the rookie in the 9th inning. Talking with more than a few players over the years, a fluid bullpen provides a difficult situation to prepare for. Rather than having a relative understanding of your role and order onto the field, it’s a guessing game on any given night. Trying to figure out what situation you may be called upon for, and then quickly preparing for that at the drop of a hat is not an easy task. If Derek Falvey and Thad Levine can give Minnesota a bit more to work with in relief, it likely gets easier for the manager to have a higher sense of predictability. Assuming Jorge Lopez regains his form, putting him back in the closer role that earned him an All-Star selection with Baltimore makes sense. That would allow Duran to continue being Minnesota’s fireman, and he could take whatever leverage situation presents itself prior to the 9th inning. There’s no denying the group needs both more length, someone to eat those middle innings, and another back-end arm or two. We saw Griffin Jax take steps forward, and he’s probably earned a late-inning role, but there has to be more. If the group can find more success early on in 2023, and be supplemented from outside of the current options, there’s a chance we may see the closer role return as we once knew it. What do you think? Do you prefer Jhoan Duran to only pitch in the 9th inning? Does your closer need to be your best reliever? View full article
  7. In 2021 there was no question who was coming in to save games for the Minnesota Twins. Taylor Rogers had established himself as an All-Star level closer, and when there was a save opportunity in the 8th or 9th inning, he was going to get it. Last season that role started with Emilio Pagan, then transitioned somewhat to Jhoan Duran, then Jorge Lopez was expected to take over, and truthfully no one ever held the job. Rocco Baldelli’s bullpen recorded 28 saves in 2022, but they were split between nine different arms. Pagan led the group with nine, while Duran had eight. Across baseball, 35 different pitchers recorded more than nine saves on their own. In fact, 18 different pitchers reached at least 20 saves. Meanwhile, Minnesota didn’t have a single-arm record half that many. For years the save statistic has been debated regarding its usefulness. Unfortunately, there are plenty of times when the game is on the line, but it’s not yet the 9th inning. There are also all of the times when a save is recorded, but only three outs are needed and the leading team is ahead comfortably by three runs. Debating whether or not saves should matter is one thing, but giving a level of predictability to routine-oriented players may help. Last season there was no denying that Jhoan Duran was the saving grace in relief for Minnesota. Had he not developed and emerged as an elite arm, an already questionable bullpen would’ve been in complete disarray. With very little else to count on for much of the year, Baldelli found himself needing to utilize Duran earlier in games. He was often brought in during the highest-leverage moments, then would hand the game over to whoever was left. As the bullpen eroded though, it became a waiting game to see if everyone else could get it to the rookie in the 9th inning. Talking with more than a few players over the years, a fluid bullpen provides a difficult situation to prepare for. Rather than having a relative understanding of your role and order onto the field, it’s a guessing game on any given night. Trying to figure out what situation you may be called upon for, and then quickly preparing for that at the drop of a hat is not an easy task. If Derek Falvey and Thad Levine can give Minnesota a bit more to work with in relief, it likely gets easier for the manager to have a higher sense of predictability. Assuming Jorge Lopez regains his form, putting him back in the closer role that earned him an All-Star selection with Baltimore makes sense. That would allow Duran to continue being Minnesota’s fireman, and he could take whatever leverage situation presents itself prior to the 9th inning. There’s no denying the group needs both more length, someone to eat those middle innings, and another back-end arm or two. We saw Griffin Jax take steps forward, and he’s probably earned a late-inning role, but there has to be more. If the group can find more success early on in 2023, and be supplemented from outside of the current options, there’s a chance we may see the closer role return as we once knew it. What do you think? Do you prefer Jhoan Duran to only pitch in the 9th inning? Does your closer need to be your best reliever?
  8. The Twins have mostly neglected the bullpen in years past and it’s more often than not blown up in their faces. The few additions they typically make are what many consider “bargain bin” pitchers, typically coming off of rough seasons in search of a bounce back. By targeting Taylor Rogers, they can stick to the strategy we’ve seen them use time and time again, though this time the payoff could be much better. Rogers is coming off of a rough season by his standards. In 64 innings he posted a 4.76 ERA. His strikeout rate remained strong at 30.7%, still in the 10th percentile in all of baseball. His walks ticked up slightly as did his homers, though neither to a worrisome degree. While his peripherals were higher than usual, they were far from disastrous (3.32 FIP, 3.26 xFIP). His season was marred by untimely meltdowns, blowing 10 saves between San Diego and Milwaukee. Is there hope Rogers could rebound in his age-32 season? As noted, Rogers was still able to strike out hitters at an impressive clip, and while his average fastball was down over a full tick from 2021, his average of 94.3 mph isn’t far off from his career norm. There isn’t much to suggest that he’s entered the decline of his career quite yet aside from his unsightly ERA. One little talked about factor of Rogers's season is that it appeared San Diego changed the shape of his slider. The pitch was three mph slower than it was in 2021 and had 40.4 inches of drop as opposed to 35.7 in 2021. Instead of the hard breaker we’d grown accustomed to seeing, Rogers was throwing more of a looping breaking ball. While the results didn’t show up on the slider, it was likely easier to differentiate between his out-pitch and his sinker. His slider’s underlying success was about the same, but his fastball produced the worst underlying numbers of his career. It seems like this would be an easy fix for Rogers to make. With the rest of his stuff appearing to be intact, Rogers could be due for a huge bounce-back. At the very least his underlying numbers as is suggest he massively underperformed in 2022. Rogers also had an absurd 16 saves through May 21, as a questionable Padres bullpen leaned on him heavily to begin the season before he began to unravel. We saw a decline in performance from the left-hander in Minnesota during several seasons when Rogers was ridden particularly hard. The Padres may have simply bent him until he broke early in the year, especially given the fact that he was coming off of a finger injury. A Twins bullpen consisting of Duran, Jax, Thielbar, Lopez, etc. is a far cry from the bullpens of Twins past or the Padres early 2022 bullpen in which Rogers was the go-to guy for every situation. With more options, the Twins would be able to avoid any kind of burnout Rogers has suffered from in the past. In regards to the fit, the Twins could greatly use another left-handed option even as Caleb Thielbar has become a certified dude. Having two left-handed options who can also get righties out at a respectable clip would add an entirely new dimension to the Twins bullpen. We often saw Thielbar pitching in late situations regardless of matchup in 2022 when other arms were missing or struggling, leaving the Twins without another effective lefty if a matchup opportunity arose. Rogers would be an easy and familiar fix. Let's be honest. The Twins aren’t going to all of a sudden pony up and sign a legit back end of the bullpen reliever. It’s not in their DNA. There’s a lengthy list of their typical candidates they’ll probably be plucking a few names from in hopes that one of their bounce-back projects finally works out. Instead of hitching their wagon to an Ian Kennedy or Archie Bradley, why not reach out to a familiar face with tangible signs of a rebound in their profile? Not to mention the fact that it would be a homecoming for a homegrown player who was just recently a fan favorite. Taylor Rogers checks a lot of boxes that the Twins are looking for, and a reunion just seems like it would make too much sense. Should we be hoping to see the former anchor of the Twins bullpen added back to a new look core at the back end of games in 2023? Let us know below.
  9. When the Twins have looked outside for late-inning relief help, it hasn't generally gone so well. (See: Emilio Pagán, Alex Colomé, Addison Reed.) This year's free agent market presents some opportunities to reconnect with a few former Twins who represent some of the brightest moments for bullpens of years past. Image courtesy of Thomas Shea and David Berding-USA TODAY Sports In our latest chapter of the Offseason Handbook, "Scouring Free Agency for Late-Inning Relief Help," we zoomed in on a dozen different options from this year's class who could help relieve Jhoan Durán's burden in crunch time. Among them are three former Twins relievers who will be available on the open market, and could be strong fits at the right price. Caretakers can read about all 12 targets in the full chapter – now available along with our previously released Handbook installments – but here are the blurbs on three familiar names: Michael Fulmer, RHP Age: 29 (DOB: 3/15/93) Former Team: Twins Career fWAR: 10.1 An appealing target for several reasons, beginning with the fact that he pitched (well) for the Twins in the second half and has some familiarity here. Fulmer was the most low-profile of Minnesota's three deadline pitcher acquisitions, but the only one that panned out. While not at the dominance level of the above pitchers, he's been consistently good since transitioning from starter to reliever, and as a 29-year-old coming off his first full-time relief campaign, he still might have room for growth. I'd consider him a worthy top bullpen pickup. Estimated Contract: 2 years, $14 million Taylor Rogers, LHP Age: 31 (DOB: 12/17/90) Former Team: Brewers Career fWAR: 8.1 Now here's an interesting case. It's essentially an opportunity to reverse the trade from last spring, swapping Rogers back in for Emilio Pagán. That might not sound terribly enticing given that Rogers actually had a worse ERA (4.76) than Pagán (4.43) in 2022, but Rogers' secondary numbers painted a much brighter picture: 11.8 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 3.32 FIP. Granted, Twins fans have heard that story before, but the lefty's finger seems fine and his down year could create the opportunity to bring him back at a bargain. Estimated Contract: 2 years, $12 million Trevor May, RHP Age: 33 (DOB: 9/23/89) Former Team: Mets Career fWAR: 5.5 May's two-year, $15 million deal with the Mets yielded 87.2 IP, a 4.00 ERA, and 14 home runs allowed. Not too impressive. It also yielded a 3.78 FIP and 11.6 K/9 rate as he continued to pump gas in the upper 90s. Injuries ravaged his 2022 campaign – a familiar story, as Twins fans know – so he might be had at a bargain. May's absence in Minnesota's bullpen the past two years has been noticeable; they miss his fire, his energy, his premium stuff. If he's open to returning, the hard-throwing righty would offer some nice López insurance. Estimated Contract: 1 year, $5 million Which of these reunions appeals most to you? Share your thoughts, and make sure to grab the full Handbook chapter and research all of the best available options. From there, you can build your own offseason blueprint. View full article
  10. In our latest chapter of the Offseason Handbook, "Scouring Free Agency for Late-Inning Relief Help," we zoomed in on a dozen different options from this year's class who could help relieve Jhoan Durán's burden in crunch time. Among them are three former Twins relievers who will be available on the open market, and could be strong fits at the right price. Caretakers can read about all 12 targets in the full chapter – now available along with our previously released Handbook installments – but here are the blurbs on three familiar names: Michael Fulmer, RHP Age: 29 (DOB: 3/15/93) Former Team: Twins Career fWAR: 10.1 An appealing target for several reasons, beginning with the fact that he pitched (well) for the Twins in the second half and has some familiarity here. Fulmer was the most low-profile of Minnesota's three deadline pitcher acquisitions, but the only one that panned out. While not at the dominance level of the above pitchers, he's been consistently good since transitioning from starter to reliever, and as a 29-year-old coming off his first full-time relief campaign, he still might have room for growth. I'd consider him a worthy top bullpen pickup. Estimated Contract: 2 years, $14 million Taylor Rogers, LHP Age: 31 (DOB: 12/17/90) Former Team: Brewers Career fWAR: 8.1 Now here's an interesting case. It's essentially an opportunity to reverse the trade from last spring, swapping Rogers back in for Emilio Pagán. That might not sound terribly enticing given that Rogers actually had a worse ERA (4.76) than Pagán (4.43) in 2022, but Rogers' secondary numbers painted a much brighter picture: 11.8 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 3.32 FIP. Granted, Twins fans have heard that story before, but the lefty's finger seems fine and his down year could create the opportunity to bring him back at a bargain. Estimated Contract: 2 years, $12 million Trevor May, RHP Age: 33 (DOB: 9/23/89) Former Team: Mets Career fWAR: 5.5 May's two-year, $15 million deal with the Mets yielded 87.2 IP, a 4.00 ERA, and 14 home runs allowed. Not too impressive. It also yielded a 3.78 FIP and 11.6 K/9 rate as he continued to pump gas in the upper 90s. Injuries ravaged his 2022 campaign – a familiar story, as Twins fans know – so he might be had at a bargain. May's absence in Minnesota's bullpen the past two years has been noticeable; they miss his fire, his energy, his premium stuff. If he's open to returning, the hard-throwing righty would offer some nice López insurance. Estimated Contract: 1 year, $5 million Which of these reunions appeals most to you? Share your thoughts, and make sure to grab the full Handbook chapter and research all of the best available options. From there, you can build your own offseason blueprint.
  11. The Minnesota Twins are soon going to be looking at decisions for 2023 with their offseason underway. They’ll have plenty of new faces for the upcoming year, but it’s one decision that could present the biggest head-scratcher of the past nine months. Image courtesy of Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports Right before Opening Day 2022 Derek Falvey and Thad Levine sent Taylor Rogers to the San Diego Padres (along with Brent Rooker) in exchange for Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan (as well as Brayan Medina). Without them ever suggesting as much, I think there’s a few reasons this deal was made. Rogers was coming off an injury and lacking performance in 2021. He wasn’t going to be re-signed and was in the final year of his contract. Minnesota saw an opportunity to buy low on a high-ceiling starter pitcher, and they assumed risk, likely knowing his medical issues. Without Rogers in the fold, and Joe Smith being the only bullpen addition last winter, Pagan was targeted as a necessary add to the relief unit. He hadn’t been good for a while, but the stuff suggested it could play, and previous success with Tampa Bay was just two years away. So, the decision (at least in a vacuum) to swing the deal from Minnesota’s perspective made sense. Now though, we know exactly how this has gone. Rocco Baldelli was saddled with Pagan as his closer from the get-go. He made a negative impact in his second outing of the year, taking a loss against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Minnesota’s fifth game. His ERA ballooned to 5.34 by his 30th outing, and he wound up responsible for six losses and seven blown saves. Pagan was demoted from the closer role all the way to mop-up duty, and he constantly struggled even there. It was a complete disaster. Bought into by the front office, Baldelli had to deploy an arm that was at his disposal, even when the result became predictable. From a few different sources within the front office and connected to the team, I have been told there had been some initial pushback from Pagan in regard to change. The Twins clearly saw an opportunity to get him right, or at least tap into analytically-driven numbers suggesting his stuff could play. Rather than embracing the information, he leaned on the belief that what he was doing could work, and the definition of insanity continued to play out for a period. I don’t know whether a lacking connection with former pitching coach Wes Johnson, or current coach Pete Maki, was ever an issue, but something changed. Over his last 13 outings, dating back to August 23rd, Pagan has allowed a run just four times and none of those instances were crooked numbers. He owns a 2.16 ERA across 16 2/3 innings with an 21/8 K/BB and, most notably, just one home run. It seems he’s deployed a new pitch, and if it helps to keep the ball in the yard while limiting walks, everyone is better for it. I’m not here to suggest that 13 outings is reason to keep Pagan around for 2023. What would make absolutely zero sense though, is to cut bait over the winter after hanging on through what the Twins did. The front office all but allowed Pagan to sink their season at critical junctures this season, and even with the cloud of dust that was 2022, his statistics are better than what they were when he was traded for. Making just $2.3 million this year, he’ll be due for a bump in arbitration, but the results should mute just how far it goes. The Twins focus over the winter has to be figuring out how to marry their starting and relief pitching plans. Either acquire and develop better starters or create a lockdown bullpen. Keeping Pagan, at least to start the year, as a middle reliever would make sense. There’s no downside to that move, as long as there is a quicker hook when things go sideways. There’s no reason the Twins should feel compelled to carry Pagan all of 2023, but in doing so through 2022, dumping him where he’ll likely be claimed on recent success alone at this point would be a suggestion of process gone entirely wrong. View full article
  12. Right before Opening Day 2022 Derek Falvey and Thad Levine sent Taylor Rogers to the San Diego Padres (along with Brent Rooker) in exchange for Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan (as well as Brayan Medina). Without them ever suggesting as much, I think there’s a few reasons this deal was made. Rogers was coming off an injury and lacking performance in 2021. He wasn’t going to be re-signed and was in the final year of his contract. Minnesota saw an opportunity to buy low on a high-ceiling starter pitcher, and they assumed risk, likely knowing his medical issues. Without Rogers in the fold, and Joe Smith being the only bullpen addition last winter, Pagan was targeted as a necessary add to the relief unit. He hadn’t been good for a while, but the stuff suggested it could play, and previous success with Tampa Bay was just two years away. So, the decision (at least in a vacuum) to swing the deal from Minnesota’s perspective made sense. Now though, we know exactly how this has gone. Rocco Baldelli was saddled with Pagan as his closer from the get-go. He made a negative impact in his second outing of the year, taking a loss against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Minnesota’s fifth game. His ERA ballooned to 5.34 by his 30th outing, and he wound up responsible for six losses and seven blown saves. Pagan was demoted from the closer role all the way to mop-up duty, and he constantly struggled even there. It was a complete disaster. Bought into by the front office, Baldelli had to deploy an arm that was at his disposal, even when the result became predictable. From a few different sources within the front office and connected to the team, I have been told there had been some initial pushback from Pagan in regard to change. The Twins clearly saw an opportunity to get him right, or at least tap into analytically-driven numbers suggesting his stuff could play. Rather than embracing the information, he leaned on the belief that what he was doing could work, and the definition of insanity continued to play out for a period. I don’t know whether a lacking connection with former pitching coach Wes Johnson, or current coach Pete Maki, was ever an issue, but something changed. Over his last 13 outings, dating back to August 23rd, Pagan has allowed a run just four times and none of those instances were crooked numbers. He owns a 2.16 ERA across 16 2/3 innings with an 21/8 K/BB and, most notably, just one home run. It seems he’s deployed a new pitch, and if it helps to keep the ball in the yard while limiting walks, everyone is better for it. I’m not here to suggest that 13 outings is reason to keep Pagan around for 2023. What would make absolutely zero sense though, is to cut bait over the winter after hanging on through what the Twins did. The front office all but allowed Pagan to sink their season at critical junctures this season, and even with the cloud of dust that was 2022, his statistics are better than what they were when he was traded for. Making just $2.3 million this year, he’ll be due for a bump in arbitration, but the results should mute just how far it goes. The Twins focus over the winter has to be figuring out how to marry their starting and relief pitching plans. Either acquire and develop better starters or create a lockdown bullpen. Keeping Pagan, at least to start the year, as a middle reliever would make sense. There’s no downside to that move, as long as there is a quicker hook when things go sideways. There’s no reason the Twins should feel compelled to carry Pagan all of 2023, but in doing so through 2022, dumping him where he’ll likely be claimed on recent success alone at this point would be a suggestion of process gone entirely wrong.
  13. The Minnesota Twins are one of the most forward thinking front offices in baseball. They employ a bevy of intelligent people that use ample amounts of information in order to put the best team on the field. Now coming to the final month, they have two players that couldn’t be from more opposite schools of thought. This offseason Derek Falvey made former Los Angeles Angels pitcher Dylan Bundy his first pitching acquisition when he was signed to a one-year deal worth $6 million. An $11 million team option was tied to 2023, and the hope for the Twins was that they could recapture the 3.29 ERA (and 2.95 FIP) that had Bundy finish 9th in the American League Cy Young voting during the 2020 season. That would be a difficult task considering how bad he was last season for Los Angeles. Bundy owned a 6.06 ERA along with a 5.51 FIP. He was allowing two homers every nine innings, and he pitched in just 90 2/3 innings. The velocity actually ticked up to 90.8 mph last year, but the whiff rate dropped below 10% for the first time in his career. Still, Minnesota’s plan was a value play. Bundy, alongside the eventual signing of Chris Archer, represented an opportunity to squeeze something out of nothing at the back end of the pen. To date, Bundy has thrown slower, struck out fewer batters, and his Statcast page makes Minnesota look warm in January. The notable reality here is what’s happened. Sure, Bundy doesn’t put the ball by anyone, and his start is hardly worth making note of. He does generate a strong chase rate and limits walks, but based on expected outcomes, regression should hit him hard. Yet, it hasn’t. He owns a FIP in line with his ERA, and an expected ERA of 3.98. No matter how you cut it, the stuff doesn’t match the results, but the job has gotten done. I wouldn’t guess Minnesota is itching to hand out the $11 million in 2023, but they’ve got to be happy with the surplus value this season. On the flip side, there’s Emilio Pagan. Acquired from the San Diego Padres for Taylor Rogers just before Opening Day, Pagan was picked as a closer type with hopes of regaining his 2019 stuff with Tampa Bay. It began with a poor first outing against the Seattle Mariners, and the reliever has never recovered. Pagan is under team control through 2023, certainly part of the allure in acquiring him. He can be tendered a deal through arbitration and won’t break Minnesota’s bank. The problem is that the results have culminated to the tune of 5.04 ERA, 2.0 HR/9, six losses, and seven blown saves. In short, he’s largely been the difference between winning or losing the American League Central division. The reason Pagan continues to be given a leash is that everything except the results says he should be good. Velocity is up, his xFIP is just 3.30, he owns nearly a 36% chase rate and gets whiffs 14% of the time. In an age where velocity is king and misses matter, Pagan checks those boxes. His Statcast page shows a nearly inverse result of Bundy’s. Pagan has everything going for him until wood meets leather, and then it’s an absolute nightmare. It’s been a very interesting situation for the Twins to manage this year. Rocco Baldelli has constantly been hamstrung with a bullpen including an unusable pitcher in Pagan. He’s been kept around on the hopes that tweaks will lead to expected or desired results becoming reality. Bundy isn’t the piece you build around, but he’s not the reason you lose now. Pagan is the type you hope to have become an asset, but you’ll take your lumps along the way. This season Minnesota may have tied themselves to the wrong horse for long enough that it bites them. An analytical approach is how you seek to gain value and create sustainability, but there’s more than enough room for hiccups along the way. For a team threading the needle so tightly, we’ll have to see whether whatever happens in 2023 was worth whatever took place in 2022. View full article
  14. This offseason Derek Falvey made former Los Angeles Angels pitcher Dylan Bundy his first pitching acquisition when he was signed to a one-year deal worth $6 million. An $11 million team option was tied to 2023, and the hope for the Twins was that they could recapture the 3.29 ERA (and 2.95 FIP) that had Bundy finish 9th in the American League Cy Young voting during the 2020 season. That would be a difficult task considering how bad he was last season for Los Angeles. Bundy owned a 6.06 ERA along with a 5.51 FIP. He was allowing two homers every nine innings, and he pitched in just 90 2/3 innings. The velocity actually ticked up to 90.8 mph last year, but the whiff rate dropped below 10% for the first time in his career. Still, Minnesota’s plan was a value play. Bundy, alongside the eventual signing of Chris Archer, represented an opportunity to squeeze something out of nothing at the back end of the pen. To date, Bundy has thrown slower, struck out fewer batters, and his Statcast page makes Minnesota look warm in January. The notable reality here is what’s happened. Sure, Bundy doesn’t put the ball by anyone, and his start is hardly worth making note of. He does generate a strong chase rate and limits walks, but based on expected outcomes, regression should hit him hard. Yet, it hasn’t. He owns a FIP in line with his ERA, and an expected ERA of 3.98. No matter how you cut it, the stuff doesn’t match the results, but the job has gotten done. I wouldn’t guess Minnesota is itching to hand out the $11 million in 2023, but they’ve got to be happy with the surplus value this season. On the flip side, there’s Emilio Pagan. Acquired from the San Diego Padres for Taylor Rogers just before Opening Day, Pagan was picked as a closer type with hopes of regaining his 2019 stuff with Tampa Bay. It began with a poor first outing against the Seattle Mariners, and the reliever has never recovered. Pagan is under team control through 2023, certainly part of the allure in acquiring him. He can be tendered a deal through arbitration and won’t break Minnesota’s bank. The problem is that the results have culminated to the tune of 5.04 ERA, 2.0 HR/9, six losses, and seven blown saves. In short, he’s largely been the difference between winning or losing the American League Central division. The reason Pagan continues to be given a leash is that everything except the results says he should be good. Velocity is up, his xFIP is just 3.30, he owns nearly a 36% chase rate and gets whiffs 14% of the time. In an age where velocity is king and misses matter, Pagan checks those boxes. His Statcast page shows a nearly inverse result of Bundy’s. Pagan has everything going for him until wood meets leather, and then it’s an absolute nightmare. It’s been a very interesting situation for the Twins to manage this year. Rocco Baldelli has constantly been hamstrung with a bullpen including an unusable pitcher in Pagan. He’s been kept around on the hopes that tweaks will lead to expected or desired results becoming reality. Bundy isn’t the piece you build around, but he’s not the reason you lose now. Pagan is the type you hope to have become an asset, but you’ll take your lumps along the way. This season Minnesota may have tied themselves to the wrong horse for long enough that it bites them. An analytical approach is how you seek to gain value and create sustainability, but there’s more than enough room for hiccups along the way. For a team threading the needle so tightly, we’ll have to see whether whatever happens in 2023 was worth whatever took place in 2022.
  15. The Minnesota Twins traded for Emilio Pagan right before Opening Day of the 2022 Major League Baseball season. Taylor Rogers was sent to the Padres, and while he has now been flipped to the Milwaukee Brewers, Pagan continues to get opportunities without merit. Emilio Pagan was very good for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2019. He hasn’t been since. In two seasons with the Padres, Pagan posted a 4.75 ERA alongside a 5.09 FIP. He was striking out more than a batter per inning, but he was allowing more homers than a batting practice soft-tosser. Unfortunately, nothing has changed with the Minnesota Twins. After another blown save, and loss, against the Los Angeles Angels over the weekend, Pagan owns a career worst 5.10 ERA. It’s backed by a 4.63 FIP and while he’s got a solid 12.8 K/9, he is again allowing 2.1 HR/9 and is issuing a career worst 3.8 BB/9. In short, every time he comes out, disaster looms. Rocco Baldelli has looked to pick his spots with Pagan. While he was originally penciled in as the Twins closer, Pagan quickly worked himself down the pecking order in one of baseball’s worst bullpens. With an overhaul needed at the trade deadline, both Jorge Lopez and Michael Fulmer were brought into the fold. Pagan has since been relegated to low-leverage spots, while occasionally finding himself with an opportunity to ruin a game. On the season he is responsible for six losses and seven blown saves. Having contributed just nine saves on the season, he’s ultimately contributed far more negative value than anything else. He has been worth -0.3 fWAR, and his -0.94 win probability added (WPA) is nearly a career low. For a Twins team that’s threading the needle in an American League Central division begging for a winner, one pitcher being this bad ultimately has held them back. Part of the allure in acquiring Pagan was that he presented Minnesota with future opportunity. He’s under team control for another year, and is just 31-years-old. It’s worth questioning if he should be here now though, rather than even considering a arbitration-induced contract for 2023. Ultimately the Twins continue to give Pagan chances because he has stuff that should play. His 95.6 mph fastball has never been more powerful, and his 14.5% whiff rate is near a career high. He also induces chases at over 34% this season, a career high. That combination should result in something far more positive than it has. The issue is that Pagan has not been able to show ability despite the stuff. Both Pagan’s xFIP and xERA are far better than the results have bore out thus far, but the caveat to expected stats is that they don’t matter until they’re actualized. Pagan has cost the Twins more than a handful of games at this point, and it’s hard to attribute any where he has actually been the reason they won. This organization can continue to keep hoping what may play out will happen, or they can cut the losses and try to salvage things where they stand now. Maybe the next organization claiming Pagan figures out the trick that San Diego and Minnesota missed on, or maybe Pagan just will never be anything close to what his abilities suggest are possible. Either way, the longer the Twins wait to find out, the more dire their season gets. View full article
  16. Emilio Pagan was very good for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2019. He hasn’t been since. In two seasons with the Padres, Pagan posted a 4.75 ERA alongside a 5.09 FIP. He was striking out more than a batter per inning, but he was allowing more homers than a batting practice soft-tosser. Unfortunately, nothing has changed with the Minnesota Twins. After another blown save, and loss, against the Los Angeles Angels over the weekend, Pagan owns a career worst 5.10 ERA. It’s backed by a 4.63 FIP and while he’s got a solid 12.8 K/9, he is again allowing 2.1 HR/9 and is issuing a career worst 3.8 BB/9. In short, every time he comes out, disaster looms. Rocco Baldelli has looked to pick his spots with Pagan. While he was originally penciled in as the Twins closer, Pagan quickly worked himself down the pecking order in one of baseball’s worst bullpens. With an overhaul needed at the trade deadline, both Jorge Lopez and Michael Fulmer were brought into the fold. Pagan has since been relegated to low-leverage spots, while occasionally finding himself with an opportunity to ruin a game. On the season he is responsible for six losses and seven blown saves. Having contributed just nine saves on the season, he’s ultimately contributed far more negative value than anything else. He has been worth -0.3 fWAR, and his -0.94 win probability added (WPA) is nearly a career low. For a Twins team that’s threading the needle in an American League Central division begging for a winner, one pitcher being this bad ultimately has held them back. Part of the allure in acquiring Pagan was that he presented Minnesota with future opportunity. He’s under team control for another year, and is just 31-years-old. It’s worth questioning if he should be here now though, rather than even considering a arbitration-induced contract for 2023. Ultimately the Twins continue to give Pagan chances because he has stuff that should play. His 95.6 mph fastball has never been more powerful, and his 14.5% whiff rate is near a career high. He also induces chases at over 34% this season, a career high. That combination should result in something far more positive than it has. The issue is that Pagan has not been able to show ability despite the stuff. Both Pagan’s xFIP and xERA are far better than the results have bore out thus far, but the caveat to expected stats is that they don’t matter until they’re actualized. Pagan has cost the Twins more than a handful of games at this point, and it’s hard to attribute any where he has actually been the reason they won. This organization can continue to keep hoping what may play out will happen, or they can cut the losses and try to salvage things where they stand now. Maybe the next organization claiming Pagan figures out the trick that San Diego and Minnesota missed on, or maybe Pagan just will never be anything close to what his abilities suggest are possible. Either way, the longer the Twins wait to find out, the more dire their season gets.
  17. San Diego acquired the former Cy Young Award winner from the Tampa Bay Rays in a 4-for-1 swap. Blake Snell has been with the Padres for two seasons now, but is a free agent after the 2023 campaign. While he wasn’t one of the 49 names previously discussed as a trade candidate, it’s becoming more evident that even a winner like San Diego may be open to moving him. Dennis Lin covers the Padres for The Athletic and had this to say in his latest mailbag, “If the Padres trade a starting pitcher, they likely would prefer to move Blake Snell. He’s making $5 million more than Mike Clevinger, and unsurprisingly, the team has been frustrated with the left-hander’s lack of performance. It would be selling low on Snell, but the Padres want to clear payroll for other needs.” After posting a 1.89 ERA with the Rays during his Cy Young season in 2018, he’s since failed to post an ERA below 3.00. With the Padres, Snell has made 36 starts and owns a 4.32 ERA. His ERA+ in that time sits at only 90. The good news is that Snell has continued to be a dominant strikeout arm, and he’s actually been better at limiting the longball. His 3.75 FIP also suggests that he’s also a bit better than the ERA picture paints. San Diego has an embarrassment of riches on the mound right now, and that affords them the luxury of moving someone like Snell. While he’s not in a great place from a production standpoint, he’s still plenty capable of being a top-of-the-rotation arm. Mike Clevinger could be a name teams are interested in as well, but San Diego dumping Snell’s salary would be a benefit to a team dealing with Luxury Tax ramifications. Looking at Snell’s advanced analytics and underlying numbers, much of what made him a Cy Young winner still remains. His hard hit rate hasn’t fluctuated, and he’s actually shaved roughly eight percent from his line drive rate. The velocity is as good as it’s ever been and his swing rates are also strong. By virtually all measurements, there’s no reason why Snell can’t contribute to a higher level than he has been. Although San Diego would be selling low given the current performance, I’d imagine much of a return for Snell would be reflective of the money a team needs to take on. Under contract for $13.1 million this season, Snell is set to be paid $16.6 million next year. That’s a good amount of salary to take on in the middle of the season, and is also a motivating factor for him to be moved by the Padres. The more San Diego eats, the better their expected return should be. That works on the flip side too, however, in that an acquiring team like the Twins may need to give up considerably less if they take on the entirety of his bill. The reality is that high-level starters are going to be highly-coveted on the trade market and there aren’t a ton of options to work with. Luis Castillo remains amazing for the Reds, but teammate Tyler Mahle is now on the injured list. Frankie Montas had a scare for Oakland, and his arm now has plenty of questions around it. Teams could dip down a level to the Pirates Jose Quintana, but the emergence of other options is beneficial. The Twins dealt with San Diego prior to Opening Day this season when they acquired Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan for Taylor Rogers. Maybe the two front offices get together again and can work out another pact for a second starter. What do you think? Would you be interested in the Twins adding Blake Snell? What level of a prospect are you comfortable giving up?
  18. The Minnesota Twins will need to be buyers during this trade deadline season, and their chief concern comes on the mound. While there’s any number of names they could target, working with a contender may actually be an avenue as well. What if the San Diego Padres are willing to move Blake Snell? San Diego acquired the former Cy Young Award winner from the Tampa Bay Rays in a 4-for-1 swap. Blake Snell has been with the Padres for two seasons now, but is a free agent after the 2023 campaign. While he wasn’t one of the 49 names previously discussed as a trade candidate, it’s becoming more evident that even a winner like San Diego may be open to moving him. Dennis Lin covers the Padres for The Athletic and had this to say in his latest mailbag, “If the Padres trade a starting pitcher, they likely would prefer to move Blake Snell. He’s making $5 million more than Mike Clevinger, and unsurprisingly, the team has been frustrated with the left-hander’s lack of performance. It would be selling low on Snell, but the Padres want to clear payroll for other needs.” After posting a 1.89 ERA with the Rays during his Cy Young season in 2018, he’s since failed to post an ERA below 3.00. With the Padres, Snell has made 36 starts and owns a 4.32 ERA. His ERA+ in that time sits at only 90. The good news is that Snell has continued to be a dominant strikeout arm, and he’s actually been better at limiting the longball. His 3.75 FIP also suggests that he’s also a bit better than the ERA picture paints. San Diego has an embarrassment of riches on the mound right now, and that affords them the luxury of moving someone like Snell. While he’s not in a great place from a production standpoint, he’s still plenty capable of being a top-of-the-rotation arm. Mike Clevinger could be a name teams are interested in as well, but San Diego dumping Snell’s salary would be a benefit to a team dealing with Luxury Tax ramifications. Looking at Snell’s advanced analytics and underlying numbers, much of what made him a Cy Young winner still remains. His hard hit rate hasn’t fluctuated, and he’s actually shaved roughly eight percent from his line drive rate. The velocity is as good as it’s ever been and his swing rates are also strong. By virtually all measurements, there’s no reason why Snell can’t contribute to a higher level than he has been. Although San Diego would be selling low given the current performance, I’d imagine much of a return for Snell would be reflective of the money a team needs to take on. Under contract for $13.1 million this season, Snell is set to be paid $16.6 million next year. That’s a good amount of salary to take on in the middle of the season, and is also a motivating factor for him to be moved by the Padres. The more San Diego eats, the better their expected return should be. That works on the flip side too, however, in that an acquiring team like the Twins may need to give up considerably less if they take on the entirety of his bill. The reality is that high-level starters are going to be highly-coveted on the trade market and there aren’t a ton of options to work with. Luis Castillo remains amazing for the Reds, but teammate Tyler Mahle is now on the injured list. Frankie Montas had a scare for Oakland, and his arm now has plenty of questions around it. Teams could dip down a level to the Pirates Jose Quintana, but the emergence of other options is beneficial. The Twins dealt with San Diego prior to Opening Day this season when they acquired Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan for Taylor Rogers. Maybe the two front offices get together again and can work out another pact for a second starter. What do you think? Would you be interested in the Twins adding Blake Snell? What level of a prospect are you comfortable giving up? View full article
  19. If I showed you this statcast page without context, what Twins pitcher would you think it is? As well as: -0.1 War or a 95 ERA+ (100 is league average) Well first off it looks average or slightly below, so you could pick a name out of a hat from the Twins bullpen. Okay, maybe you're an "old school" guy and you like more conventional metrics of success. How about a 5.59 ERA in June or a 13.50 ERA in July? Maybe 17 earned runs in his past 15 innings pitched? That's Taylor Rogers. I was told that Rodgers was an elite reliever that the stupid front office traded away! So I'm being a little negative, that's fair to say, but I have grown so annoyed with fans trying to spin this trade like the Twins just traded away Mike Trout for a bucket of baseballs. There were many clear reasons why the Twins moved on from Rogers. Yes to be fair a lot of those numbers aren't extremely bad, but for someone being paid 7.3 million those are underperforming numbers. Taylor Rogers would've been traded in 2021 had it not been for his finger injury, that has been widely reported by multiple sources. I would imagine the Twins felt similar with Rogers as they did with Jose Berrios (whose trade is looking better every day) That is the thought that "We've seen the best out of this guy, and he's about to get paid by someone. That's not gonna be us." Rogers is due to be a FA after this season and he is going to get a large contract, I'm fine with that not being the Twins because he has regressed slowly every season and there is no indication that will stop now. So after all, looks like you can take the man out of the Twins bullpen, But you can't take the Twins bullpen out of the man. (Also, slight thanks to MN Sportswriter of the Year Aaron Gleeman's tweet on Rogers for inspiring this)
  20. The date was June 12 and the opponent was Tampa Bay. Tyler Duffey entered a game for the Minnesota Twins tasked with pitching the 8th inning of a 5-0 game. As he had done multiple times before, Duffey served up a dinger and it appeared as though there was no end in sight to his freefall. Maybe now he’s started to turn a corner? There’s no denying that Tyler Duffey was once among the Twins most trustworthy relievers. Across 2019 and 2022, Duffey posted a solid 2.31 ERA in 80 appearances spanning 81 2/3 innings. His 12.5 K/9 was shiny, and it was backed by a curveball that kept hitters guessing even with a fastball that didn’t light up the radar gun. He allowed just 2.2 BB/9 and posted a WHIP below 1.00. His 2.91 FIP across that span also suggested this wasn’t a mirage. Then 2021 happened. After being a primary setup man for former closer Taylor Rogers, Duffey blew up to the tune of a 3.18 ERA with a 3.49 FIP and a 4.19 xFIP. He lost roughly four strikeouts per nine innings, and double the number of free passes he was issuing. The chief concern was a velocity drop that happened in 2020 not rectifying itself. After holding around 94 mph on his fastball at his best, Duffey’s primary offering was down to just 92 mph. Without being able to throw a fastball by hitters, and the inability to locate his curveball, a recipe for disaster was realized. On June 12, when Duffey served up the dinger against the Rays, it capped off a three-appearance run in which he’d allowed a home run every time out. Duffey recorded just 3 2/3 innings during the stretch and gave up a whopping seven runs on seven hits and three walks. His ERA sat at a season-worst 6.38. This wasn’t the first bad stretch either. Duffey took a blown save against the Mariners to end the second game of the season, and then he gave up a pair of homers to blow another game against the Royals a few weeks later. At some point, the definition of insanity was going to be reached here. Everything Duffey was doing wasn’t working. Minnesota had pushed him into the lowest of leverage roles, and even when the moments were inconsequential his stuff didn’t generate outs. Having used a changeup during his days as a starter, and crediting former pitching coach Wes Johnson for urging him to go back to it, Duffey changed things up. Up until June 12, Duffey had used his changeup just 1% of the time being a two-pitch pitcher with the fastball and curveball. He generated just a 10.7% whiff rate and was getting batters to chase 31.1% of the time. Fast forward to where we are now and this is a different pitcher. Sure, the sample size is just 13 innings across 10 games, but that represents roughly one-third of his season. Duffey is still throwing his fastball 50% of the time, but he’s dropped the curveball usage and is pushing his changeup out 12.3% of the time. It’s resulted in a hard-hit rate of only 20.5% and has generated chase swings nearly 5% more often. At some point, pitchers need to reinvent how their arsenal works with one another. It’s beyond clear Duffey’s velocity has been put out to pasture, but while his curveball was no longer the pitch it once was, turning back to a changeup that helped him as a starter made sense. There’s no denying the Twins need all they can get from the bullpen, and Duffey re-establishing himself as a usable piece would be a good thing. There’s still reason for concern as Duffey has given up hits in eight of the ten appearances we’re talking about here, but keeping runs off the board is the larger point. He’s basically switched spots with Emilio Pagan in the pecking order, and the Twins righting Duffey’s bullpen-mate would be another strong step in helping to preserve leads. View full article
  21. There’s no denying that Tyler Duffey was once among the Twins most trustworthy relievers. Across 2019 and 2022, Duffey posted a solid 2.31 ERA in 80 appearances spanning 81 2/3 innings. His 12.5 K/9 was shiny, and it was backed by a curveball that kept hitters guessing even with a fastball that didn’t light up the radar gun. He allowed just 2.2 BB/9 and posted a WHIP below 1.00. His 2.91 FIP across that span also suggested this wasn’t a mirage. Then 2021 happened. After being a primary setup man for former closer Taylor Rogers, Duffey blew up to the tune of a 3.18 ERA with a 3.49 FIP and a 4.19 xFIP. He lost roughly four strikeouts per nine innings, and double the number of free passes he was issuing. The chief concern was a velocity drop that happened in 2020 not rectifying itself. After holding around 94 mph on his fastball at his best, Duffey’s primary offering was down to just 92 mph. Without being able to throw a fastball by hitters, and the inability to locate his curveball, a recipe for disaster was realized. On June 12, when Duffey served up the dinger against the Rays, it capped off a three-appearance run in which he’d allowed a home run every time out. Duffey recorded just 3 2/3 innings during the stretch and gave up a whopping seven runs on seven hits and three walks. His ERA sat at a season-worst 6.38. This wasn’t the first bad stretch either. Duffey took a blown save against the Mariners to end the second game of the season, and then he gave up a pair of homers to blow another game against the Royals a few weeks later. At some point, the definition of insanity was going to be reached here. Everything Duffey was doing wasn’t working. Minnesota had pushed him into the lowest of leverage roles, and even when the moments were inconsequential his stuff didn’t generate outs. Having used a changeup during his days as a starter, and crediting former pitching coach Wes Johnson for urging him to go back to it, Duffey changed things up. Up until June 12, Duffey had used his changeup just 1% of the time being a two-pitch pitcher with the fastball and curveball. He generated just a 10.7% whiff rate and was getting batters to chase 31.1% of the time. Fast forward to where we are now and this is a different pitcher. Sure, the sample size is just 13 innings across 10 games, but that represents roughly one-third of his season. Duffey is still throwing his fastball 50% of the time, but he’s dropped the curveball usage and is pushing his changeup out 12.3% of the time. It’s resulted in a hard-hit rate of only 20.5% and has generated chase swings nearly 5% more often. At some point, pitchers need to reinvent how their arsenal works with one another. It’s beyond clear Duffey’s velocity has been put out to pasture, but while his curveball was no longer the pitch it once was, turning back to a changeup that helped him as a starter made sense. There’s no denying the Twins need all they can get from the bullpen, and Duffey re-establishing himself as a usable piece would be a good thing. There’s still reason for concern as Duffey has given up hits in eight of the ten appearances we’re talking about here, but keeping runs off the board is the larger point. He’s basically switched spots with Emilio Pagan in the pecking order, and the Twins righting Duffey’s bullpen-mate would be another strong step in helping to preserve leads.
  22. 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. 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? View full article
  23. 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?
  24. Major League Baseball’s 2022 Draft is scheduled to start on July 17, 2022. Each team prepares for the draft with a specific plan, and sometimes those plans play out better than others. To prepare fans for the upcoming draft, here is a look at some of the most important drafts in recent Twins history. The 2012 MLB Draft was an interesting time in Twins franchise history. Minnesota was coming off a very disappointing 2011 season where the team went from first to worst in the division. One benefit of having a poor record is receiving a high draft pick the following year. The Twins received the second overall pick and made five of the first 72 picks. At the top, there was no consensus number one pick, so this left some room for debate. Houston selected first overall and ended up with arguably the draft’s best player. Carlos Correa signed an under-slot value deal to join the Astros, and Houston was able to use that money on other picks later in the draft. Correa has been worth over 35 WAR for his career, which is over 12 WAR higher than any other player taken in that draft. His value also stretched into October, when he became a postseason legend. In retrospect, Houston made the correct pick at the top, but now Minnesota was on the clock. The Twins could go in multiple directions with the second pick, but the team needed to decide if they could be patient with a prep player or look to the college ranks for a more immediate impact. Some of the best college players available included Mike Zunino (10.2 WAR), Kevin Gausman (17.9 WAR), Mark Appel (0.0 WAR), and Kyler Zimmer (0.0 WAR). Minnesota turned their attention to rural Georgia and a dynamic five-tool prospect named Byron Buxton. Buxton was considered by many to be the top prospect in the draft. Minnesota paid him $6 million to sign, which was the biggest signing bonus handed out in that draft. Buxton’s 17.5 WAR ranks as the fifth-highest among 2012 first-round picks behind Correa, Corey Seager, Matt Olson, and Gausman. The Athletic’s Keith Law recently redrafted the 2012 first round, and he believes the Twins made the right choice because Buxton has “the best chance of anyone on this list to put up a 9-WAR season.” Buxton is a dynamic player when healthy, but injuries have been part of his career narrative. Minnesota’s next pick in 2012 was the 32nd overall selection, and the team took Jose Berrios out of high school in Puerto Rico. With supplemental picks, the first round included 60 picks that season and Berrios has accumulated the 11th highest WAR. Minnesota got some tremendous seasons from Berrios as he developed into one of baseball’s most consistent pitchers. Last year, the Twins dealt Berrios to the Blue Jays for two prospects, and the early returns may favor the Twins. Besides the team’s picks at the top, the Twins made multiple picks later in the draft that have developed into solid big-league arms. Outside of Berrios, three other pitchers taken by the Twins have accumulated more than 1.5 WAR in their careers. Taylor Rogers was taken in the 11th round and has accumulated 6.7 WAR in his career. Tyler Duffey (1.7 WAR) and JT Chargois (1.6 WAR) have had ups and downs, but both have been key relievers for playoff teams. The 2012 Draft will be remembered for the players taken at the top, but that doesn’t tell the entire story for Minnesota. The organization’s first two picks are still impacting the team a decade after being drafted. Also, the club was able to identify players later in the draft that have been valuable relievers. Overall, it is one of the most successful drafts in recent memory. Do you think the Twins made the right decision by taking Buxton? What do you remember about this draft? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  25. Ten years ago, the Twins had the second overall pick, which had the potential to alter the franchise’s future. Let’s look back at how that draft unfolded and explore if the Twins made the correct decision. Major League Baseball’s 2022 Draft is scheduled to start on July 17, 2022. Each team prepares for the draft with a specific plan, and sometimes those plans play out better than others. To prepare fans for the upcoming draft, here is a look at some of the most important drafts in recent Twins history. The 2012 MLB Draft was an interesting time in Twins franchise history. Minnesota was coming off a very disappointing 2011 season where the team went from first to worst in the division. One benefit of having a poor record is receiving a high draft pick the following year. The Twins received the second overall pick and made five of the first 72 picks. At the top, there was no consensus number one pick, so this left some room for debate. Houston selected first overall and ended up with arguably the draft’s best player. Carlos Correa signed an under-slot value deal to join the Astros, and Houston was able to use that money on other picks later in the draft. Correa has been worth over 35 WAR for his career, which is over 12 WAR higher than any other player taken in that draft. His value also stretched into October, when he became a postseason legend. In retrospect, Houston made the correct pick at the top, but now Minnesota was on the clock. The Twins could go in multiple directions with the second pick, but the team needed to decide if they could be patient with a prep player or look to the college ranks for a more immediate impact. Some of the best college players available included Mike Zunino (10.2 WAR), Kevin Gausman (17.9 WAR), Mark Appel (0.0 WAR), and Kyler Zimmer (0.0 WAR). Minnesota turned their attention to rural Georgia and a dynamic five-tool prospect named Byron Buxton. Buxton was considered by many to be the top prospect in the draft. Minnesota paid him $6 million to sign, which was the biggest signing bonus handed out in that draft. Buxton’s 17.5 WAR ranks as the fifth-highest among 2012 first-round picks behind Correa, Corey Seager, Matt Olson, and Gausman. The Athletic’s Keith Law recently redrafted the 2012 first round, and he believes the Twins made the right choice because Buxton has “the best chance of anyone on this list to put up a 9-WAR season.” Buxton is a dynamic player when healthy, but injuries have been part of his career narrative. Minnesota’s next pick in 2012 was the 32nd overall selection, and the team took Jose Berrios out of high school in Puerto Rico. With supplemental picks, the first round included 60 picks that season and Berrios has accumulated the 11th highest WAR. Minnesota got some tremendous seasons from Berrios as he developed into one of baseball’s most consistent pitchers. Last year, the Twins dealt Berrios to the Blue Jays for two prospects, and the early returns may favor the Twins. Besides the team’s picks at the top, the Twins made multiple picks later in the draft that have developed into solid big-league arms. Outside of Berrios, three other pitchers taken by the Twins have accumulated more than 1.5 WAR in their careers. Taylor Rogers was taken in the 11th round and has accumulated 6.7 WAR in his career. Tyler Duffey (1.7 WAR) and JT Chargois (1.6 WAR) have had ups and downs, but both have been key relievers for playoff teams. The 2012 Draft will be remembered for the players taken at the top, but that doesn’t tell the entire story for Minnesota. The organization’s first two picks are still impacting the team a decade after being drafted. Also, the club was able to identify players later in the draft that have been valuable relievers. Overall, it is one of the most successful drafts in recent memory. Do you think the Twins made the right decision by taking Buxton? What do you remember about this draft? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
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