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  1. 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
  2. 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)
  3. 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?
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. While we spend most of our time focusing on the players on the current Minnesota Twins squad, it’s fun to check in on our “old friends” every once in a while. The moniker, “old friend”, has been common amongst Minnesota Twins fans when talking about players who used to play for the hometown squad but have since moved on to play for a different team. Whether or not you continue to root for old friends after they leave the Twins, it’s always a fun exercise to see how they are doing. Here are top performing “old friends” thus far in 2022: 5. Josh Donaldson .764 OPS 5 HR 15 RBI 0.9 fWAR While mired in controversy over the past couple of weeks, it’s still hard to deny that Josh Donaldson is having a strong year in pinstripes after being traded to the Yankees this past offseason. Aided by an average exit velocity that ranks in the 89th percentile, the Bringer of Rain owns a 123 OPS+ while continuing to provide above-average defense at the hot corner. For many, Donaldson isn’t much of an “old friend”, but he cracks the top-five for top performing ex-Twins in 2022. 4. Kyle Gibson 48 IP 3.94 ERA 1.1 fWAR Coming in fourth for top performing ex-Minnesota Twins in 2022 is someone who flashed ace potential at times with the Minnesota Twins but never quite put it all together, Kyle Gibson. After earning his first all-star appearance last season, Gibson is having himself another solid year on the mound with the Phillies in 2022. With a FIP of 3.22, Gibson has actually been even better than his surface stats suggest. 3. Taylor Rogers 21 1/3 IP 1.69 ERA 17 Saves 0.6 fWAR It was a controversial trade this offseason when the Twins traded away Taylor Rogers in exchange for Chris Paddack, and has become even more controversial after the start that Rogers has had in 2022. Across 21 appearances this season, Rogers has allowed an earned run in just two of those appearances. Rogers leads all of baseball with 17 saves this season and has quickly become one of the most dominant relievers in all of baseball. 2. C.J. Cron .942 OPS 13 HR 37 RBI 1.5 fWAR C.J. Cron only spent one season with the Minnesota Twins, but since he departed following the 2019 season, he has been excellent. In 2022, though, he is having the best season of his career with an OPS+ of 155. Cron is tied for third in all of baseball with 13 home runs and is tied for sixth with 37 RBI. 1. Martín Pérez 56 1/3 IP 1.60 ERA 1.7 fWAR Martín Pérez was not good as a member of the Twins, posting a 5.12 ERA in his sole season with the club in 2019. In 2022, though, he has pitched like the best starting pitcher in all of baseball. Pérez’s 1.60 ERA leads Major League Baseball, and his 1.7 fWAR ranks third among starting pitchers. He hasn’t been garnering many strikeouts, but he has yet to allow a home run this season and is allowing a career-low 2.2 walks per nine innings. Who do you think has been the best performing ex-Minnesota Twins player in 2022? Which of these players would you add to the current Minnesota Twins roster if you could? Leave a comment and start the conversation! View full article
  10. The moniker, “old friend”, has been common amongst Minnesota Twins fans when talking about players who used to play for the hometown squad but have since moved on to play for a different team. Whether or not you continue to root for old friends after they leave the Twins, it’s always a fun exercise to see how they are doing. Here are top performing “old friends” thus far in 2022: 5. Josh Donaldson .764 OPS 5 HR 15 RBI 0.9 fWAR While mired in controversy over the past couple of weeks, it’s still hard to deny that Josh Donaldson is having a strong year in pinstripes after being traded to the Yankees this past offseason. Aided by an average exit velocity that ranks in the 89th percentile, the Bringer of Rain owns a 123 OPS+ while continuing to provide above-average defense at the hot corner. For many, Donaldson isn’t much of an “old friend”, but he cracks the top-five for top performing ex-Twins in 2022. 4. Kyle Gibson 48 IP 3.94 ERA 1.1 fWAR Coming in fourth for top performing ex-Minnesota Twins in 2022 is someone who flashed ace potential at times with the Minnesota Twins but never quite put it all together, Kyle Gibson. After earning his first all-star appearance last season, Gibson is having himself another solid year on the mound with the Phillies in 2022. With a FIP of 3.22, Gibson has actually been even better than his surface stats suggest. 3. Taylor Rogers 21 1/3 IP 1.69 ERA 17 Saves 0.6 fWAR It was a controversial trade this offseason when the Twins traded away Taylor Rogers in exchange for Chris Paddack, and has become even more controversial after the start that Rogers has had in 2022. Across 21 appearances this season, Rogers has allowed an earned run in just two of those appearances. Rogers leads all of baseball with 17 saves this season and has quickly become one of the most dominant relievers in all of baseball. 2. C.J. Cron .942 OPS 13 HR 37 RBI 1.5 fWAR C.J. Cron only spent one season with the Minnesota Twins, but since he departed following the 2019 season, he has been excellent. In 2022, though, he is having the best season of his career with an OPS+ of 155. Cron is tied for third in all of baseball with 13 home runs and is tied for sixth with 37 RBI. 1. Martín Pérez 56 1/3 IP 1.60 ERA 1.7 fWAR Martín Pérez was not good as a member of the Twins, posting a 5.12 ERA in his sole season with the club in 2019. In 2022, though, he has pitched like the best starting pitcher in all of baseball. Pérez’s 1.60 ERA leads Major League Baseball, and his 1.7 fWAR ranks third among starting pitchers. He hasn’t been garnering many strikeouts, but he has yet to allow a home run this season and is allowing a career-low 2.2 walks per nine innings. Who do you think has been the best performing ex-Minnesota Twins player in 2022? Which of these players would you add to the current Minnesota Twins roster if you could? Leave a comment and start the conversation!
  11. On Wednesday we got news that two months after acquiring him, Chris Paddack had undergone the 2nd Tommy John surgery of his career. Despite the obvious disappointment, the book on this trade is far from written. It was always fair to question trading away Taylor Rogers before a season in which the Twins were expected to compete. Chris Paddack did his part to quiet those worries through his first four starts, pitching to a sub 4.00 ERA and looking like a solid mid-rotation, arm who was controlled for three years. Now that he’s certain to miss the remainder of 2022 however, frustrations with the trade have begun to boil over again. It’s worth considering however that several pieces of this trade have yet to play out. The full details of the trade involved the Twins shipping out Rogers and Brent Rooker and receiving Paddack, Emilio Pagán, and eventually player to be named later Brayan Medina. While the Twins have used Pagán in high leverage despite his tightrope act, the backbone of the trade was Rogers for Paddack. Admittedly this comparison is heavily skewed in the Padres favor, at least in the short term as we’re left with Pagan vs Rogers. Looking at the full picture however, we have a ways to go before declaring this trade a disaster. The mainstream belief at this point is the Twins traded their fan-favorite invaluable relief arm for five starts of Chris Paddack. What people seem to have missed is that in acquiring Paddack, the Twins were actually acquiring his services through 2024. This fact doesn’t help them currently, but it provides plenty of time for the right-hander to make good on the Twins attempt to acquire a valuable starting pitcher. Tommy John is still a dreaded announcement in baseball, but it’s not the boogeyman it once was. Even for players who have required it multiple times as Chris Paddack has, full recoveries have become the norm. This list includes Nate Eovaldi, Mike Clevinger, Drew Rasmussen, and many more. In addition to the overall effectiveness of the procedure, more and more cases have emerged where the pitcher returns in a much shorter time than what would have been expected even just a few years ago. Look no further than the Twins own Blayne Enlow in the minors who’s back on the mound after tearing his UCL about 10 months ago. In Paddack’s case, no timeline has been announced yet. The word on the street however is the Twins almost exclusively defer to a new procedure when it comes to their players which expects a 9-12 month recovery rather than the traditional 12-18. We may not have anything concrete yet, but it’s entirely possible that Chris Paddack is still able to return for a good chunk of 2023 and all of 2024. The context of the trade in which the Twins are now without the starting pitcher they wanted and without their best bullpen arm isn’t great, but in the aggregate, this trade still has the potential to be lopsided in their favor when all is said and done. Despite a high walk rate which we hope Pagán will iron out, he appears to have improved in multiple areas including strikeouts and limiting hard contact, and he’s controlled for two years. Paddack looked to have made improvements prior to injury that he could hopefully continue building off when once again healthy. Make no mistake, I loved the value of this deal at the time it was announced and personally I’d hit the “undo” button at this point. Any time a player is acquired who almost immediately loses their entire season to injury, it’s safe to say things didn’t go your way. It’s also entirely fair to question why the Twins were even engaging in talks for a pitcher with a well known partially torn UCL. That being said, there is no “undo” button. There’s nothing wrong with saying this trade is bad, but such statements have to include an understanding that we’re far from done here. If Paddack comes back and provides a year and a half of the performance he showed in his first few starts, the Twins still nailed this one overall, even if it may cost them in 2022. So what do you think? Is there still the potential we look back at some point and say the Twins won this trade? Without Rogers for this year does it even matter? Let us know below. — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here View full article
  12. Right before the 2022 Major League Baseball season was set to commence, the Minnesota Twins decided to shake up their roster. Flipping closer Taylor Rogers to the San Diego Padres for Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan, it’s now on the latter to provide value for the season ahead. It’s understandable that a controllable starter like Chris Paddack may have been available for a lesser return given his elbow issues. Unfortunately, they reared their head just a few starts into 2022 and now it appears he’ll undergo surgery to fix the problem that was already there. Emilio Pagan was hardly a throw-in, however, and despite his 4.83 ERA last season, he’s just a few years removed from being one of baseball’s more dominant relievers. Pagan, who recently turned 31-years-old, posted a 2.31 ERA in his lone season with the Tampa Bay Rays. Acting as their closer that year, he recorded 20 saves and worked 70 innings. His 12.3 K/9 was a career-high, and the 1.7 BB/9 was near a career-low. The 3.30 FIP suggested it was all pretty solidly rooted in advanced statistics as well. Of course, he wasn’t the same pitcher the past two seasons for the Padres, and that’s likely why they were willing to upgrade the back end of their pen. For Minnesota, needing to replace Rogers, Pagan would immediately become an option should he find a way to harness his former glory. Things started ugly for the Twins' new closer as he took the loss in his second appearance, and blew a save in just his third try. Through his first six outings this year Pagan had just a 7/6 K/BB and appeared to be doing a tightrope act each time he took the mound. Since that point though, Pagan has pitched another six innings and has not allowed an earned run. His 8/4 K/BB is more manageable and the ERA is down to 1.54. While the free passes remain an issue, he’s worked around the danger thanks to a career-best 5.4 H/9. It’s not as though Pagan simply lost the ability to find the zone. He’s an established veteran with more than 200 Major League innings under his belt, and in that time he surrendered just a 2.3 BB/9. The gaudy 7.7 BB/9 comes from something else, and he was asked about it following his fifth save of the season. Having basically always been a two-pitch pitcher, and really only one when you consider the secondary offering is a version of the other, Pagan changed his repertoire this season. He’s traditionally been categorized as a fastball and slider guy, although most reporting systems call his secondary offering a cutter. This offseason he added a splitter and it’s drastically different from what he already brings to the table. During Spring Training, and still then with the Padres, San Diego manager Bob Melvin said, “He’s coming up with a new pitch. He’s throwing a split(-fingered fastball) a lot. … I think a third pitch will serve him well. Typically, a bullpen guy, especially late innings, is more of a two-pitch guy. But I think a third pitch will be good for him. Fastball, sliders are mostly hard (stuff). This is kind of a slower pitch, goes in a different direction, and gives the hitter something else to think about. He’s thrown it in a game and feels confident about it.” To this point in 2022, the splitter has been a focal point for Pagan. He’s thrown it over 17% of the time, and it’s drastically changed the cutter usage. In developing a new pitch and then utilizing it in games, it’s understandable there would be some hiccups and likely control or command issues. As he continues to find comfort with the offering, the walks should subside back down to his career norms. Rocco Baldelli has a very good thing going at the back of his pen right now. Whether going with rookie fireballer Jhoan Duran, or veteran-tested Pagan, he’s got capable arms to mix and match for any situation. The more Minnesota can lean into both of them shutting down the opposition, the better they’ll find themselves positioned to close out games in routine fashion. View full article
  13. It was always fair to question trading away Taylor Rogers before a season in which the Twins were expected to compete. Chris Paddack did his part to quiet those worries through his first four starts, pitching to a sub 4.00 ERA and looking like a solid mid-rotation, arm who was controlled for three years. Now that he’s certain to miss the remainder of 2022 however, frustrations with the trade have begun to boil over again. It’s worth considering however that several pieces of this trade have yet to play out. The full details of the trade involved the Twins shipping out Rogers and Brent Rooker and receiving Paddack, Emilio Pagán, and eventually player to be named later Brayan Medina. While the Twins have used Pagán in high leverage despite his tightrope act, the backbone of the trade was Rogers for Paddack. Admittedly this comparison is heavily skewed in the Padres favor, at least in the short term as we’re left with Pagan vs Rogers. Looking at the full picture however, we have a ways to go before declaring this trade a disaster. The mainstream belief at this point is the Twins traded their fan-favorite invaluable relief arm for five starts of Chris Paddack. What people seem to have missed is that in acquiring Paddack, the Twins were actually acquiring his services through 2024. This fact doesn’t help them currently, but it provides plenty of time for the right-hander to make good on the Twins attempt to acquire a valuable starting pitcher. Tommy John is still a dreaded announcement in baseball, but it’s not the boogeyman it once was. Even for players who have required it multiple times as Chris Paddack has, full recoveries have become the norm. This list includes Nate Eovaldi, Mike Clevinger, Drew Rasmussen, and many more. In addition to the overall effectiveness of the procedure, more and more cases have emerged where the pitcher returns in a much shorter time than what would have been expected even just a few years ago. Look no further than the Twins own Blayne Enlow in the minors who’s back on the mound after tearing his UCL about 10 months ago. In Paddack’s case, no timeline has been announced yet. The word on the street however is the Twins almost exclusively defer to a new procedure when it comes to their players which expects a 9-12 month recovery rather than the traditional 12-18. We may not have anything concrete yet, but it’s entirely possible that Chris Paddack is still able to return for a good chunk of 2023 and all of 2024. The context of the trade in which the Twins are now without the starting pitcher they wanted and without their best bullpen arm isn’t great, but in the aggregate, this trade still has the potential to be lopsided in their favor when all is said and done. Despite a high walk rate which we hope Pagán will iron out, he appears to have improved in multiple areas including strikeouts and limiting hard contact, and he’s controlled for two years. Paddack looked to have made improvements prior to injury that he could hopefully continue building off when once again healthy. Make no mistake, I loved the value of this deal at the time it was announced and personally I’d hit the “undo” button at this point. Any time a player is acquired who almost immediately loses their entire season to injury, it’s safe to say things didn’t go your way. It’s also entirely fair to question why the Twins were even engaging in talks for a pitcher with a well known partially torn UCL. That being said, there is no “undo” button. There’s nothing wrong with saying this trade is bad, but such statements have to include an understanding that we’re far from done here. If Paddack comes back and provides a year and a half of the performance he showed in his first few starts, the Twins still nailed this one overall, even if it may cost them in 2022. So what do you think? Is there still the potential we look back at some point and say the Twins won this trade? Without Rogers for this year does it even matter? Let us know below. — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  14. It’s understandable that a controllable starter like Chris Paddack may have been available for a lesser return given his elbow issues. Unfortunately, they reared their head just a few starts into 2022 and now it appears he’ll undergo surgery to fix the problem that was already there. Emilio Pagan was hardly a throw-in, however, and despite his 4.83 ERA last season, he’s just a few years removed from being one of baseball’s more dominant relievers. Pagan, who recently turned 31-years-old, posted a 2.31 ERA in his lone season with the Tampa Bay Rays. Acting as their closer that year, he recorded 20 saves and worked 70 innings. His 12.3 K/9 was a career-high, and the 1.7 BB/9 was near a career-low. The 3.30 FIP suggested it was all pretty solidly rooted in advanced statistics as well. Of course, he wasn’t the same pitcher the past two seasons for the Padres, and that’s likely why they were willing to upgrade the back end of their pen. For Minnesota, needing to replace Rogers, Pagan would immediately become an option should he find a way to harness his former glory. Things started ugly for the Twins' new closer as he took the loss in his second appearance, and blew a save in just his third try. Through his first six outings this year Pagan had just a 7/6 K/BB and appeared to be doing a tightrope act each time he took the mound. Since that point though, Pagan has pitched another six innings and has not allowed an earned run. His 8/4 K/BB is more manageable and the ERA is down to 1.54. While the free passes remain an issue, he’s worked around the danger thanks to a career-best 5.4 H/9. It’s not as though Pagan simply lost the ability to find the zone. He’s an established veteran with more than 200 Major League innings under his belt, and in that time he surrendered just a 2.3 BB/9. The gaudy 7.7 BB/9 comes from something else, and he was asked about it following his fifth save of the season. Having basically always been a two-pitch pitcher, and really only one when you consider the secondary offering is a version of the other, Pagan changed his repertoire this season. He’s traditionally been categorized as a fastball and slider guy, although most reporting systems call his secondary offering a cutter. This offseason he added a splitter and it’s drastically different from what he already brings to the table. During Spring Training, and still then with the Padres, San Diego manager Bob Melvin said, “He’s coming up with a new pitch. He’s throwing a split(-fingered fastball) a lot. … I think a third pitch will serve him well. Typically, a bullpen guy, especially late innings, is more of a two-pitch guy. But I think a third pitch will be good for him. Fastball, sliders are mostly hard (stuff). This is kind of a slower pitch, goes in a different direction, and gives the hitter something else to think about. He’s thrown it in a game and feels confident about it.” To this point in 2022, the splitter has been a focal point for Pagan. He’s thrown it over 17% of the time, and it’s drastically changed the cutter usage. In developing a new pitch and then utilizing it in games, it’s understandable there would be some hiccups and likely control or command issues. As he continues to find comfort with the offering, the walks should subside back down to his career norms. Rocco Baldelli has a very good thing going at the back of his pen right now. Whether going with rookie fireballer Jhoan Duran, or veteran-tested Pagan, he’s got capable arms to mix and match for any situation. The more Minnesota can lean into both of them shutting down the opposition, the better they’ll find themselves positioned to close out games in routine fashion.
  15. There was no Twins game last Thursday, but there was still activity at 1 Twins Way as the team completed a trade with the Padres. Heading to San Diego was Taylor Rogers, Brent Rooker and a whole bunch of cash. Coming back to Minneapolis was Chris Paddack, Emilio Pagan and the always interesting “player to be named later.” So far - and understandably so - there has been very little information released on the future mystery player aside from one tweet from Darren “Doogie” Wolfson. Anything beyond that is complete speculation. But speculation can be fun, so let’s take a closer look at who the Twins might be adding in the next few weeks. To give me an idea of players who might be included, I plugged the trade into Baseball Trade Values. Obviously, this isn't an exact science, but it’s probably the least biased way to come up with a list of names. Plugging in the trade as it happened, the simulator had the Twins giving up 4.9 more value points than it received. The potential inclusion of any of the Padres top prospects would tip the scale heavily in the Twins favor, but there are a number of prospects in the next tier who could make sense as this “player to be named later.” Typically, when a trade like this occurs, the teams agree to a list of players and conditions. It could be as simple as having six names on a list and the Twins get to pick one name off of that list on May 1. It could be something more complex. It could be - and this case might be - something that makes a whole lot of sense. Let’s take a look at some names that may be on that list. And why the Twins may want them. Ranked from least likely to most likely to be a Twin, in my opinion. Joshua Mears, Outfield. Ranked in the system’s Top 10 by both MLB.com and Baseball America, Mears was drafted in 2019. His power is his calling card. He already has two home runs in three games this season in high-A, but has struck out in eight of his twelve at bats. As the top-rated prospect on my list and - in my opinion - the likelihood that the Twins prefer pitching, I think the chances of Mears being the player is small. Samuel Zavana, Outfield. Zavana checks in on BA’s list at #12, but missed MLB.com’s. Zavala fits the profile of what the Twins like with a scouting report that includes things like “regarded as one of the best pure hitters” in his signing class and having “long possessed a knack for finding the barrel.” The 17-year-old would make a ton of sense. But in trying to sleuth this out, Zavala will be playing in the complex league this year, so the Twins won't even get a chance to scout him between now and then. So if it were to be him, why not just include him in the original deal? Victor Acosta, Shortstop. Acosta, like Zavana, will be playing in a complex league this summer. Ranked #11 by MLB and #12 by BA, I put Acosta a notch above Zavana because he has more defensive value. But, again, if you can’t see him in the next month, wouldn’t you have wanted to get him into your complex as soon as possible? Robert Gasser, Pitcher. Gasser is ranked #9 on both sites after being selected in the Competitive Balance, B Round in the 2021 draft. After getting 15 innings of pro ball under his belt last year, Gasser, a lefty, made his High-A debut last week. It was brutal. Four walks, four hits, seven outs. I don’t think a single game is a reason the Twins wouldn’t trade for him though, I think it’s because the Padres would be less likely to include him on the list. The next guy is a complete wild-card who technically fits Doogie’s profile. Adrian Morejon, Pitcher. Morejan, 23, is a highly-regarded Cuban left-hander who is recovering from Tommy John surgery. He’s a “non-roster” guy because he’s on the 60-day Injured List, so he wouldn’t require a 40-man move. Morejan has 16 games of MLB experience under his belt and spent the last five seasons ranked in Baseball America’s Top 100. While not expected to return to the mound until later this season, it’s been a year since his surgery. Being a PTBNL could just be a way of giving the Twins a chance to get a greater feel of how his recovery is going. Remember, this trade all came together very quickly. For what it's worth, even though there are over 100 potential players for this to be, I’d bet on it being one of these three over the field. Full disclosure: I like taking long odds. It’s not often successful. Victor Lizarraga, Pitcher. Signed out of Mexico last year and ranked #13 by MLB and #15 by BA, Lizarraga is pitching in Low-A ball at 18 this year. He would make a ton of sense as a lottery ticket in a trade such as this. He’s a fastball/curveball/changeup pitcher with shaky command. Kevin Kopps, Pitcher. Kopps, currently in AA, ranks #14 on BA’s list and #16 on MLB’s list. Drafted in the 3rd round last year, Kopps spread his 14 ⅔ innings over three levels, striking out 22 and notching three saves. Kopps is serving as a closer using one big weapon: a breaking ball that has been nearly unhittable. Some call it a cutter, some call it a slider. Baseball America calls it the best slider in the system. The Twins, if I had to guess, would deploy whatever it is in the same way they used Sergio Romo’s and Tyler Clippard’s sliders. Kopps, who turns 25 soon, has Tommy John in his rearview and could soon be a bullpen option for whatever team he is on. Jarlin Susana, Pitcher. Susana is ranked #18 by MLB.com and the just-turned-18-year-old has an impressive and imposing 6’ 6”, 235-pound frame. Signed in January by the Padres for $1.7 million, Susana has a big-time fastball that can touch 100 and a slider that is next best pitch (among the four he throws). So what separates him from the other complex league pitchers? Because of when he signed, he can’t be traded until later this month. Maybe it’s a coincidence. Or maybe Susana is the player to be named later. (The Padres also added many other international free agents in mid-January who become eligible to be traded later this month. Among them are two 16-year-old infielders, Yendry Rojas and Rosman Verdugo. Neither are as highly regarded as Susana, though. Rojas, from Cuba, is a very good hitter with decent size (6' 1", 190) and speed and Verdugo, from Mexico, was considered the top prospect from Mexico.) What do you think? Who do you prefer? View full article
  16. The day before the Minnesota Twins were set to kick off their 2022 Major League Baseball season, closer and clubhouse veteran Taylor Rogers was traded. There was internal confidence in this bullpen, and it seemed warranted, but Rocco Baldelli has had the group out of whack at times. One of the easiest things to complain about regarding a manager is their bullpen usage. There was always going to be opportunity for that this season, given the relative uncertainty of the group, and Baldelli was always going to need time to let arms filter into their spots. Only a couple of weeks into the season, there’s no reason for any severe hand-wringing, but a couple of observations opportunities have presented themselves. Jhoan Duran is maybe the most exciting arm in Minnesota Twins pitching history. He’s certainly not going to be the best, but the velocity is unmatched and may forever be. It’s something this organization had never seen before and also a great outcome from the trade that sent Eduardo Escobar to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Early returns have suggested he can be an impact thrower at the back end of the Twins bullpen. He may even have taken over the closer role for the departed Rogers by the end of the season. But should he be a multi-inning reliever? That’s questionable, and it’s something worth keeping an eye on. Working two innings against the Red Sox, there was a notable dip in Duran’s velocity when he came back out. It’s not as though he wasn’t still throwing hard, but the consistency in which triple-digits were reached wasn’t maintained. Some arms are more impacted by a total number of pitches, while others could be deterred more by coming off the bench for a second inning. Whatever Duran’s role going forward is, the goal will be to get the best and most effective version of him. Only two lefties are available in Minnesota’s bullpen as it’s currently constructed, and Caleb Thielbar is probably the better of them. Not only is he a great story, but the 3.00 ERA and 10.6 K/9 over the past two seasons have been suggestive of a great arm. Even with that production, he’s still best suited in ideal spots, and that’s why Baldelli’s decision to go with him in the 8th inning of a one-run game against two righties against Boston was odd. Minnesota’s offense was non-existent on Easter Sunday, but trailing by just one looking to get their final at-bats, Thielbar was tasked with protecting a lead. He came in against Kike Hernandez and was also set to face Xander Bogaerts. Both of them are solid hitting right-handers, and they did predictable damage. Giving up four runs generating just a single out, Thielbar was ineffective in a suboptimal situation. That outing leaves us to question what the back-end of the bullpen will look like going forward and how Baldelli will choose spots. Tyler Duffey was given the first save opportunity and blew it, but he’s a good arm even with declined velocity. Jorge Alcala isn’t going to factor in for some time, and Emilio Pagan could step into those high-leverage shoes. Joe Smith is a tested veteran who has previously performed well on good teams, and the aforementioned Duran will always be in the mix. It seems that this front office is intent on avoiding paydays for relievers, but the pen they have constructed is a solid one. Give Baldelli some time to decide how he and Wes Johnson will run these arms out, and I think there’s an opportunity for it to be one of baseball’s better units. View full article
  17. One of the easiest things to complain about regarding a manager is their bullpen usage. There was always going to be opportunity for that this season, given the relative uncertainty of the group, and Baldelli was always going to need time to let arms filter into their spots. Only a couple of weeks into the season, there’s no reason for any severe hand-wringing, but a couple of observations opportunities have presented themselves. Jhoan Duran is maybe the most exciting arm in Minnesota Twins pitching history. He’s certainly not going to be the best, but the velocity is unmatched and may forever be. It’s something this organization had never seen before and also a great outcome from the trade that sent Eduardo Escobar to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Early returns have suggested he can be an impact thrower at the back end of the Twins bullpen. He may even have taken over the closer role for the departed Rogers by the end of the season. But should he be a multi-inning reliever? That’s questionable, and it’s something worth keeping an eye on. Working two innings against the Red Sox, there was a notable dip in Duran’s velocity when he came back out. It’s not as though he wasn’t still throwing hard, but the consistency in which triple-digits were reached wasn’t maintained. Some arms are more impacted by a total number of pitches, while others could be deterred more by coming off the bench for a second inning. Whatever Duran’s role going forward is, the goal will be to get the best and most effective version of him. Only two lefties are available in Minnesota’s bullpen as it’s currently constructed, and Caleb Thielbar is probably the better of them. Not only is he a great story, but the 3.00 ERA and 10.6 K/9 over the past two seasons have been suggestive of a great arm. Even with that production, he’s still best suited in ideal spots, and that’s why Baldelli’s decision to go with him in the 8th inning of a one-run game against two righties against Boston was odd. Minnesota’s offense was non-existent on Easter Sunday, but trailing by just one looking to get their final at-bats, Thielbar was tasked with protecting a lead. He came in against Kike Hernandez and was also set to face Xander Bogaerts. Both of them are solid hitting right-handers, and they did predictable damage. Giving up four runs generating just a single out, Thielbar was ineffective in a suboptimal situation. That outing leaves us to question what the back-end of the bullpen will look like going forward and how Baldelli will choose spots. Tyler Duffey was given the first save opportunity and blew it, but he’s a good arm even with declined velocity. Jorge Alcala isn’t going to factor in for some time, and Emilio Pagan could step into those high-leverage shoes. Joe Smith is a tested veteran who has previously performed well on good teams, and the aforementioned Duran will always be in the mix. It seems that this front office is intent on avoiding paydays for relievers, but the pen they have constructed is a solid one. Give Baldelli some time to decide how he and Wes Johnson will run these arms out, and I think there’s an opportunity for it to be one of baseball’s better units.
  18. The day before the 2022 Major League Baseball season began, the Minnesota Twins traded their closer, Taylor Rogers. Long before that move, it appeared that Jhoan Duran would make the Opening Day roster, and closer or not, it seems he may be everything the organization has been looking for. I won’t fault you if you don’t remember Juan Morillo. He pitched for Minnesota in 2009 and threw just two innings. He gave up a home run and five runs before never seeing the big leagues again. What he did do in that brief six-out appearance was throw a pitch clocked at 101.1 mph. After his departure, Minnesota has seen just two other pitchers register a triple-digit fastball. Brusdar Graterol, now with the Dodgers, checked in at 101.9 mph, and current reliever Jorge Alcala, who went on the IL on Tuesday with elbow inflamation, once touched 100.9 mph. Until now. Duran has been groomed as a starter for the Twins throughout his development. Across 82 minor league games, 80 of those appearances have come in a start. It’s gone well to the tune of a 3.99 ERA and consistent double-digit strikeout per nine numbers since 2018. If there’s been a problem, it’s been in the form of health and durability. Duran has never pitched more than 115 innings during a season, and last year for St. Paul, he was limited to just 16 innings while battling shoulder issues. Fast forward to this spring, and it seemed both beneficial and planned that Duran would throw out of the bullpen. The fireballer was used in relief, whether by design and adding to their internal group or through necessity to protect his workload. After a strong showing down in Fort Myers, Duran is now three innings into his Major League career. The Dominican has a 4/1 K/BB ratio while allowing just two hits. Aside from the eye-popping velocity, which has averaged 100.9 mph this season, his Statcast numbers compare beautifully across the league. His current 19% whiff rate would’ve ranked 4th among qualified relievers last season, just behind Liam Hendriks and ahead of Devin Williams. He’s avoided hard contact and missed barrels. Although Duran hasn’t yet forced batters to chase outside the zone, he’s kept them off-balance by simply being unhittable. The problem for the opposition is that Duran isn’t just firing straight fastballs either. His splinker is a unique offering, and that pitch has averaged 96.1 mph. The amount of movement and run he gets on both pitches creates an unfair situation for opposing batters when trying to both meet the pitch and connect optimally. It’s in the repertoire that we find his most significant reason to remain in relief. Again, the sample size is tiny, but Minnesota has turned its weapon into a two-pitch pitcher. He’s throwing the slider, a pitch the organization definitely believes in, just two percent of the time. His curveball offering has shown up 19% of the time but remains an off-speed secondary to combat the velocity. Each time Duran has stepped onto the mount this season, it’s been guaranteed that the radar gun will light up. He turns a Statcast readout red and gives the Twins something they haven’t had. What his current or future role becomes in the bullpen pecking order seems to be determined, but closer or not, knowing he’s a weapon is a significant value add for both Rocco Baldelli and Wes Johnson. In the age of mixing and matching arms situationally, someone like this could be matchup proof, and at just 24-years-old, that’s massive. These Twins aren’t the ones you’ve been used to in the past. It’s a different front office and now an organization that employs both the highest-paid infielder and one of the hardest throwers in the league—what a time to be alive. View full article
  19. I won’t fault you if you don’t remember Juan Morillo. He pitched for Minnesota in 2009 and threw just two innings. He gave up a home run and five runs before never seeing the big leagues again. What he did do in that brief six-out appearance was throw a pitch clocked at 101.1 mph. After his departure, Minnesota has seen just two other pitchers register a triple-digit fastball. Brusdar Graterol, now with the Dodgers, checked in at 101.9 mph, and current reliever Jorge Alcala, who went on the IL on Tuesday with elbow inflamation, once touched 100.9 mph. Until now. Duran has been groomed as a starter for the Twins throughout his development. Across 82 minor league games, 80 of those appearances have come in a start. It’s gone well to the tune of a 3.99 ERA and consistent double-digit strikeout per nine numbers since 2018. If there’s been a problem, it’s been in the form of health and durability. Duran has never pitched more than 115 innings during a season, and last year for St. Paul, he was limited to just 16 innings while battling shoulder issues. Fast forward to this spring, and it seemed both beneficial and planned that Duran would throw out of the bullpen. The fireballer was used in relief, whether by design and adding to their internal group or through necessity to protect his workload. After a strong showing down in Fort Myers, Duran is now three innings into his Major League career. The Dominican has a 4/1 K/BB ratio while allowing just two hits. Aside from the eye-popping velocity, which has averaged 100.9 mph this season, his Statcast numbers compare beautifully across the league. His current 19% whiff rate would’ve ranked 4th among qualified relievers last season, just behind Liam Hendriks and ahead of Devin Williams. He’s avoided hard contact and missed barrels. Although Duran hasn’t yet forced batters to chase outside the zone, he’s kept them off-balance by simply being unhittable. The problem for the opposition is that Duran isn’t just firing straight fastballs either. His splinker is a unique offering, and that pitch has averaged 96.1 mph. The amount of movement and run he gets on both pitches creates an unfair situation for opposing batters when trying to both meet the pitch and connect optimally. It’s in the repertoire that we find his most significant reason to remain in relief. Again, the sample size is tiny, but Minnesota has turned its weapon into a two-pitch pitcher. He’s throwing the slider, a pitch the organization definitely believes in, just two percent of the time. His curveball offering has shown up 19% of the time but remains an off-speed secondary to combat the velocity. Each time Duran has stepped onto the mount this season, it’s been guaranteed that the radar gun will light up. He turns a Statcast readout red and gives the Twins something they haven’t had. What his current or future role becomes in the bullpen pecking order seems to be determined, but closer or not, knowing he’s a weapon is a significant value add for both Rocco Baldelli and Wes Johnson. In the age of mixing and matching arms situationally, someone like this could be matchup proof, and at just 24-years-old, that’s massive. These Twins aren’t the ones you’ve been used to in the past. It’s a different front office and now an organization that employs both the highest-paid infielder and one of the hardest throwers in the league—what a time to be alive.
  20. So far - and understandably so - there has been very little information released on the future mystery player aside from one tweet from Darren “Doogie” Wolfson. Anything beyond that is complete speculation. But speculation can be fun, so let’s take a closer look at who the Twins might be adding in the next few weeks. To give me an idea of players who might be included, I plugged the trade into Baseball Trade Values. Obviously, this isn't an exact science, but it’s probably the least biased way to come up with a list of names. Plugging in the trade as it happened, the simulator had the Twins giving up 4.9 more value points than it received. The potential inclusion of any of the Padres top prospects would tip the scale heavily in the Twins favor, but there are a number of prospects in the next tier who could make sense as this “player to be named later.” Typically, when a trade like this occurs, the teams agree to a list of players and conditions. It could be as simple as having six names on a list and the Twins get to pick one name off of that list on May 1. It could be something more complex. It could be - and this case might be - something that makes a whole lot of sense. Let’s take a look at some names that may be on that list. And why the Twins may want them. Ranked from least likely to most likely to be a Twin, in my opinion. Joshua Mears, Outfield. Ranked in the system’s Top 10 by both MLB.com and Baseball America, Mears was drafted in 2019. His power is his calling card. He already has two home runs in three games this season in high-A, but has struck out in eight of his twelve at bats. As the top-rated prospect on my list and - in my opinion - the likelihood that the Twins prefer pitching, I think the chances of Mears being the player is small. Samuel Zavana, Outfield. Zavana checks in on BA’s list at #12, but missed MLB.com’s. Zavala fits the profile of what the Twins like with a scouting report that includes things like “regarded as one of the best pure hitters” in his signing class and having “long possessed a knack for finding the barrel.” The 17-year-old would make a ton of sense. But in trying to sleuth this out, Zavala will be playing in the complex league this year, so the Twins won't even get a chance to scout him between now and then. So if it were to be him, why not just include him in the original deal? Victor Acosta, Shortstop. Acosta, like Zavana, will be playing in a complex league this summer. Ranked #11 by MLB and #12 by BA, I put Acosta a notch above Zavana because he has more defensive value. But, again, if you can’t see him in the next month, wouldn’t you have wanted to get him into your complex as soon as possible? Robert Gasser, Pitcher. Gasser is ranked #9 on both sites after being selected in the Competitive Balance, B Round in the 2021 draft. After getting 15 innings of pro ball under his belt last year, Gasser, a lefty, made his High-A debut last week. It was brutal. Four walks, four hits, seven outs. I don’t think a single game is a reason the Twins wouldn’t trade for him though, I think it’s because the Padres would be less likely to include him on the list. The next guy is a complete wild-card who technically fits Doogie’s profile. Adrian Morejon, Pitcher. Morejan, 23, is a highly-regarded Cuban left-hander who is recovering from Tommy John surgery. He’s a “non-roster” guy because he’s on the 60-day Injured List, so he wouldn’t require a 40-man move. Morejan has 16 games of MLB experience under his belt and spent the last five seasons ranked in Baseball America’s Top 100. While not expected to return to the mound until later this season, it’s been a year since his surgery. Being a PTBNL could just be a way of giving the Twins a chance to get a greater feel of how his recovery is going. Remember, this trade all came together very quickly. For what it's worth, even though there are over 100 potential players for this to be, I’d bet on it being one of these three over the field. Full disclosure: I like taking long odds. It’s not often successful. Victor Lizarraga, Pitcher. Signed out of Mexico last year and ranked #13 by MLB and #15 by BA, Lizarraga is pitching in Low-A ball at 18 this year. He would make a ton of sense as a lottery ticket in a trade such as this. He’s a fastball/curveball/changeup pitcher with shaky command. Kevin Kopps, Pitcher. Kopps, currently in AA, ranks #14 on BA’s list and #16 on MLB’s list. Drafted in the 3rd round last year, Kopps spread his 14 ⅔ innings over three levels, striking out 22 and notching three saves. Kopps is serving as a closer using one big weapon: a breaking ball that has been nearly unhittable. Some call it a cutter, some call it a slider. Baseball America calls it the best slider in the system. The Twins, if I had to guess, would deploy whatever it is in the same way they used Sergio Romo’s and Tyler Clippard’s sliders. Kopps, who turns 25 soon, has Tommy John in his rearview and could soon be a bullpen option for whatever team he is on. Jarlin Susana, Pitcher. Susana is ranked #18 by MLB.com and the just-turned-18-year-old has an impressive and imposing 6’ 6”, 235-pound frame. Signed in January by the Padres for $1.7 million, Susana has a big-time fastball that can touch 100 and a slider that is next best pitch (among the four he throws). So what separates him from the other complex league pitchers? Because of when he signed, he can’t be traded until later this month. Maybe it’s a coincidence. Or maybe Susana is the player to be named later. (The Padres also added many other international free agents in mid-January who become eligible to be traded later this month. Among them are two 16-year-old infielders, Yendry Rojas and Rosman Verdugo. Neither are as highly regarded as Susana, though. Rojas, from Cuba, is a very good hitter with decent size (6' 1", 190) and speed and Verdugo, from Mexico, was considered the top prospect from Mexico.) What do you think? Who do you prefer?
  21. So the day before the season starts the Twins traded away the head of their bullpen and supposed closer. Taylor Rogers made up half of the projected fWAR of the Twins bullpen per Fangraphs. What was the front office thinking? By now we’re all probably approaching the end of the grieving stage of losing Taylor Rogers in a massive Opening Day deal that brought Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan to Minnesota. That being said, it’s probably time to consider why on earth the Twins would trade away their star closer at the start of a season in which they intend to compete. The Pursuit of Value By now we’ve come to expect the Twins front office to always search for value above all else when they’re making any kind of deal. In fairness, their successes across the last year are few and far between, but it’s easy to see the thought process they’re operating from. In parting with Rogers, the Twins give up one year of a relief pitcher who may not even finish the season with the team if things fall apart before the trade deadline. In return, they receive a rotation-ready starting pitcher in Chris Paddack who’s under control for three years in addition to reliever Emilio Pagan who’s under control for two years. They did of course also ship out Brent Rooker, but by all accounts, he was likely on the verge of getting cut loose regardless. When looking at pure value, it’s hard to argue against this trade. There’s almost no scenario where Rogers amasses more bWAR, fWAR, or whatever measurement you can find in his lone season in San Diego than Paddack and Pagan will in Minnesota across their five combined years. The math is certainly on the Twins' side for this trade. This however doesn’t tell the whole story as it misses the context of the Twins parting with their best reliever right before a 2022 season where they may desperately need him Relievers are Unpredictable Another core value of the Falvine era, the Twins simply don’t value relief pitchers highly. And to be honest, they probably shouldn’t. Relievers often burn bright for a few years before fading away. We see it year after year whether it’s Alex Colomé just stinking it up out of nowhere or Trevor Rosenthal succumbing to injury. Pitchers as a whole are always risky, but historically speaking relievers are particularly fickle. Taylor Rogers may repeat his incredible performance in 2022, in fact, I’d bet on it. That being said, he did suffer a significant finger injury in 2021. Although he’s recovered and was looking great in the spring, he’s now into his 30s and the odds of a recurrence or even a new injury grows ever stronger. Is that reason for the Twins to look to actively dump their closer? No. But it does at least help explain why Rogers wasn’t untouchable in trade. In addition to the risk of Rogers' performance or health slipping, it’s entirely possible several other arms step up in a big way to fill the void. Between pitchers such as Jorge Alcala who appeared to break out in the second half or newly bullpen-bound Jhoan Duran sitting in triple digits, it’s not hard to find candidates to take the lead in this group. Between AAA and the existing bullpen, there are several options to get some looks in high leverage and I see several taking the baseball world by storm in 2022. This group is undisputedly more talented than the bullpen the Twins fielded at the end of 2021 who by the way were rock solid without Taylor Rogers in the mix. To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with hating this trade. The self-anointed “competitive” Twins roster just got a huge downgrade in their bullpen on paper no matter how you shake it. In addition, this could have been avoided had they just been more aggressive in signing legitimate starting pitching pre-lockout. Even for one year of Taylor Rogers, the Twins are taking a gamble on Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan bouncing back. It’s one that’s not so different from the many bets the front office made last season that left them bankrupt. That being said, aside from the personal attachment that comes with losing a homegrown star like Rogers, it’s easy to understand why the Twins made this deal. There’s a decent chance that we look back on this trade as a “win” for the Twins, and there’s a non-zero chance it can turn out to be an absolute home run. Should the Twins have stood pat with Rogers or perhaps asked for more in return? Do you think this deal will work out for the Twins in the long run? Let us know below! View full article
  22. While Opening Day was bearing down on the Minnesota Twins, weather delayed things just a bit. With the schedule now set to open on Friday, the front office continued working as they acquired Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan from the Padres in exchange for closer Taylor Rogers and Brent Rooker. What does that do to the roster? First and foremost, the first guy Minnesota gave up was a pillar in the clubhouse for the Twins. If there’s a way for this to go pear-shaped, it’s in disrupting chemistry we’ve heard talked about so highly coming into the season. Rogers was the Twins MLBPA player rep and worked with the owners through the lockout. He handled the media well and was extremely well-liked by his peers. Through a baseball lens, Rogers is 31-years-old and coming off a finger injury that limited him to just 40 1/3 innings last season. He was sure to be traded at the deadline, but that came off the table when he hit the Injured List. Appearing in his first All-Star game, a neat experience in his home state of Colorado, Rogers posted a 3.35 ERA with a 13.2 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9. When healthy, he’s been among the best closers in baseball the past few seasons, and his 2.52 FIP tells the tale there. Somewhat of a footnote in this deal, Rooker goes to the Padres after being beaten out by Kyle Garlick for the final outfield spot. He shined in seven games for Minnesota during 2020, but the .688 OPS last season simply wasn’t going to play. When he was drafted 35th overall back in 2017, it was immediately known he would be a bat-only player. San Diego will put him in a corner outfield spot, but he’s incredibly stretched there. Although the power certainly plays, there’s a lot of swing and miss in his game as well. A fresh start could prove beneficial for him. Dealing Rogers the day before Minnesota takes the field may be risky, but the return absolutely justifies a move. Chris Paddack comes to Minnesota as a former darling rookie. He posted a 3.33 ERA across 26 games for the Padres in 2019. He averages 94 mph on his fastball, and outside of 2020, he’s posted strong FIP numbers. The 5.07 ERA in 2021 wasn’t pretty, but the peripherals suggest there’s more to unlock. Although his strikeout numbers have fallen a bit the past three seasons, he’s also lowered his walk and home run rates. There’s swing-and-miss stuff to be exploited here, and pitching coach Wes Johnson will immediately get to work on pushing those tweaks. Paddack is under team control through the 2024 season from a contractual standpoint. This alone may be the most significant boost for Minnesota. At just 26-years-old, the Twins can mold Paddack throughout the next three seasons and hope to push his stuff towards the top-end of their rotation. He would join Kenta Maeda, Joe Ryan, and Bailey Ober as arms already locked in for next season. Making just $2.25 million through arbitration this year, Paddack’s expense is minimal. Joining Paddack and adding back into the Twins pen is Emilio Pagan, who will be with his fifth team in six big league seasons. Last year, his 63 1/3 innings with San Diego was nearly career-high, but it came with a career-worst 2.3 HR/9 and a 4.83 ERA. Pagan’s 5.22 FIP suggests he was actually worse than the surface numbers, but just two seasons ago, the Tampa Bay Rays had him looking like one of the best pen arms in the game. Under team control next season, Minnesota can opt to keep him around for another year. The addition of Paddack obviously shuffles the rotation. As it was currently constructed, Ryan was set to be followed by Sonny Gray, Bailey Ober, Dylan Bundy, and Chris Archer. Paddack will need to slot in somewhere, and the most likely candidate to be bumped in my mind is Ober. He could go to a long relief role out of the bullpen until the point in which a starter begins to struggle. Bundy may be the lowest ceiling talent of the group, but given he was signed as a starter for $5 million early in the offseason, I’m not sure he’s the guy that would get moved around. A ripple effect of this situation is what happens with Josh Winder. He looks to have made the big league roster but was already going to be pitching out of the bullpen in a long relief role. Now with Ober in that mix, too, there are a lot of innings needed to keep starting arms fresh, and the hope is that there’s only so many to go around. Obviously, Pagan will slot in somewhere during the middle innings. He’s not a back-end option for Minnesota at this point. Replacing Rogers will be some combination of Tyler Duffey, Jorge Alcala, and Jhoan Duran. With Duran’s stuff playing so well this spring, it seemed sensible to use him immediately in relief rather than continuing to develop him as a starter. He now may be the frontrunner for the closer role if Rocco Baldelli and Johnson opt to keep Duffey and Alcala in their previously established late-inning spots. It would be a big ask for the young prospect, but the reality here is that Minnesota appears intent on developing their pen arms and not paying handsomely in relief. That’s certainly a viable strategy when you’ve seemingly made it work with a handful of guys. When viewing this from the top, the Twins now pay less for three years of a starter with upside and a reliever who has been very good than they did for a closer coming off an injury and slated for free agency with a bat tossed in. It’s hard not to see this as a win for Minnesota, and while the volatility of relief arms remains immense, betting on the horses you have is definitely not a bad stance. Time to play ball. View full article
  23. By now we’re all probably approaching the end of the grieving stage of losing Taylor Rogers in a massive Opening Day deal that brought Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan to Minnesota. That being said, it’s probably time to consider why on earth the Twins would trade away their star closer at the start of a season in which they intend to compete. The Pursuit of Value By now we’ve come to expect the Twins front office to always search for value above all else when they’re making any kind of deal. In fairness, their successes across the last year are few and far between, but it’s easy to see the thought process they’re operating from. In parting with Rogers, the Twins give up one year of a relief pitcher who may not even finish the season with the team if things fall apart before the trade deadline. In return, they receive a rotation-ready starting pitcher in Chris Paddack who’s under control for three years in addition to reliever Emilio Pagan who’s under control for two years. They did of course also ship out Brent Rooker, but by all accounts, he was likely on the verge of getting cut loose regardless. When looking at pure value, it’s hard to argue against this trade. There’s almost no scenario where Rogers amasses more bWAR, fWAR, or whatever measurement you can find in his lone season in San Diego than Paddack and Pagan will in Minnesota across their five combined years. The math is certainly on the Twins' side for this trade. This however doesn’t tell the whole story as it misses the context of the Twins parting with their best reliever right before a 2022 season where they may desperately need him Relievers are Unpredictable Another core value of the Falvine era, the Twins simply don’t value relief pitchers highly. And to be honest, they probably shouldn’t. Relievers often burn bright for a few years before fading away. We see it year after year whether it’s Alex Colomé just stinking it up out of nowhere or Trevor Rosenthal succumbing to injury. Pitchers as a whole are always risky, but historically speaking relievers are particularly fickle. Taylor Rogers may repeat his incredible performance in 2022, in fact, I’d bet on it. That being said, he did suffer a significant finger injury in 2021. Although he’s recovered and was looking great in the spring, he’s now into his 30s and the odds of a recurrence or even a new injury grows ever stronger. Is that reason for the Twins to look to actively dump their closer? No. But it does at least help explain why Rogers wasn’t untouchable in trade. In addition to the risk of Rogers' performance or health slipping, it’s entirely possible several other arms step up in a big way to fill the void. Between pitchers such as Jorge Alcala who appeared to break out in the second half or newly bullpen-bound Jhoan Duran sitting in triple digits, it’s not hard to find candidates to take the lead in this group. Between AAA and the existing bullpen, there are several options to get some looks in high leverage and I see several taking the baseball world by storm in 2022. This group is undisputedly more talented than the bullpen the Twins fielded at the end of 2021 who by the way were rock solid without Taylor Rogers in the mix. To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with hating this trade. The self-anointed “competitive” Twins roster just got a huge downgrade in their bullpen on paper no matter how you shake it. In addition, this could have been avoided had they just been more aggressive in signing legitimate starting pitching pre-lockout. Even for one year of Taylor Rogers, the Twins are taking a gamble on Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan bouncing back. It’s one that’s not so different from the many bets the front office made last season that left them bankrupt. That being said, aside from the personal attachment that comes with losing a homegrown star like Rogers, it’s easy to understand why the Twins made this deal. There’s a decent chance that we look back on this trade as a “win” for the Twins, and there’s a non-zero chance it can turn out to be an absolute home run. Should the Twins have stood pat with Rogers or perhaps asked for more in return? Do you think this deal will work out for the Twins in the long run? Let us know below!
  24. First and foremost, the first guy Minnesota gave up was a pillar in the clubhouse for the Twins. If there’s a way for this to go pear-shaped, it’s in disrupting chemistry we’ve heard talked about so highly coming into the season. Rogers was the Twins MLBPA player rep and worked with the owners through the lockout. He handled the media well and was extremely well-liked by his peers. Through a baseball lens, Rogers is 31-years-old and coming off a finger injury that limited him to just 40 1/3 innings last season. He was sure to be traded at the deadline, but that came off the table when he hit the Injured List. Appearing in his first All-Star game, a neat experience in his home state of Colorado, Rogers posted a 3.35 ERA with a 13.2 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9. When healthy, he’s been among the best closers in baseball the past few seasons, and his 2.52 FIP tells the tale there. Somewhat of a footnote in this deal, Rooker goes to the Padres after being beaten out by Kyle Garlick for the final outfield spot. He shined in seven games for Minnesota during 2020, but the .688 OPS last season simply wasn’t going to play. When he was drafted 35th overall back in 2017, it was immediately known he would be a bat-only player. San Diego will put him in a corner outfield spot, but he’s incredibly stretched there. Although the power certainly plays, there’s a lot of swing and miss in his game as well. A fresh start could prove beneficial for him. Dealing Rogers the day before Minnesota takes the field may be risky, but the return absolutely justifies a move. Chris Paddack comes to Minnesota as a former darling rookie. He posted a 3.33 ERA across 26 games for the Padres in 2019. He averages 94 mph on his fastball, and outside of 2020, he’s posted strong FIP numbers. The 5.07 ERA in 2021 wasn’t pretty, but the peripherals suggest there’s more to unlock. Although his strikeout numbers have fallen a bit the past three seasons, he’s also lowered his walk and home run rates. There’s swing-and-miss stuff to be exploited here, and pitching coach Wes Johnson will immediately get to work on pushing those tweaks. Paddack is under team control through the 2024 season from a contractual standpoint. This alone may be the most significant boost for Minnesota. At just 26-years-old, the Twins can mold Paddack throughout the next three seasons and hope to push his stuff towards the top-end of their rotation. He would join Kenta Maeda, Joe Ryan, and Bailey Ober as arms already locked in for next season. Making just $2.25 million through arbitration this year, Paddack’s expense is minimal. Joining Paddack and adding back into the Twins pen is Emilio Pagan, who will be with his fifth team in six big league seasons. Last year, his 63 1/3 innings with San Diego was nearly career-high, but it came with a career-worst 2.3 HR/9 and a 4.83 ERA. Pagan’s 5.22 FIP suggests he was actually worse than the surface numbers, but just two seasons ago, the Tampa Bay Rays had him looking like one of the best pen arms in the game. Under team control next season, Minnesota can opt to keep him around for another year. The addition of Paddack obviously shuffles the rotation. As it was currently constructed, Ryan was set to be followed by Sonny Gray, Bailey Ober, Dylan Bundy, and Chris Archer. Paddack will need to slot in somewhere, and the most likely candidate to be bumped in my mind is Ober. He could go to a long relief role out of the bullpen until the point in which a starter begins to struggle. Bundy may be the lowest ceiling talent of the group, but given he was signed as a starter for $5 million early in the offseason, I’m not sure he’s the guy that would get moved around. A ripple effect of this situation is what happens with Josh Winder. He looks to have made the big league roster but was already going to be pitching out of the bullpen in a long relief role. Now with Ober in that mix, too, there are a lot of innings needed to keep starting arms fresh, and the hope is that there’s only so many to go around. Obviously, Pagan will slot in somewhere during the middle innings. He’s not a back-end option for Minnesota at this point. Replacing Rogers will be some combination of Tyler Duffey, Jorge Alcala, and Jhoan Duran. With Duran’s stuff playing so well this spring, it seemed sensible to use him immediately in relief rather than continuing to develop him as a starter. He now may be the frontrunner for the closer role if Rocco Baldelli and Johnson opt to keep Duffey and Alcala in their previously established late-inning spots. It would be a big ask for the young prospect, but the reality here is that Minnesota appears intent on developing their pen arms and not paying handsomely in relief. That’s certainly a viable strategy when you’ve seemingly made it work with a handful of guys. When viewing this from the top, the Twins now pay less for three years of a starter with upside and a reliever who has been very good than they did for a closer coming off an injury and slated for free agency with a bat tossed in. It’s hard not to see this as a win for Minnesota, and while the volatility of relief arms remains immense, betting on the horses you have is definitely not a bad stance. Time to play ball.
  25. There is no question that the Twins prioritized adding starting pitching this offseason. To this point, they had added Sonny Gray in a trade with the Reds, and free-agent deals with veterans Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer. On Thursday, they added Padres right-hander Chris Paddack and reliever Emilio Pagan in exchange for All-Star closer Taylor Rogers and outfielder Brent Rooker. The Twins are sending $6.6 million to the Padres (essentially paying Rogers' 2022 salary, per Ken Rosenthal), and the Twins will be getting a Player to be Named Later. The trade adds a young, team-controlled, backend-of-the-rotation starting pitcher (Paddack) to the team. In return, the Twins downgraded their bullpen a notch (Rogers vs. Pagan) and traded away a prospect they were likely going to lose for nothing (Rooker). In addition, while losing Rogers is difficult, years of team control make the deal make some sense. Rogers can become a free agent at the end of the 2022 season. Paddack has three more years of team control, and Pagan has two more years of team control. Emilio Pagan is a 30-year old with over four years of service time. He will make $2.3 million in 2022 and eligible for arbitration in 2023. He played for the Mariners in 2017, the A's in 2018, the Rays in 2019, and the Padres the last two years. Last year, he went 4-3 with a 4.83 ERA. In 63 1/3 innings, he walked 18 and struck out 69 batters. During his season with the Rays, he posted his best season (which will surprise no one). He went 4-2 with 20 saves and a 2.31 ERA and a career-high 12.3 K/9 (96 K, 13 BB in 70 IP). Pagan's weakness throughout his career has been that he give up too many home runs. He's always maintained a solid strikeout rate, and his career walk rate is a decent 2.3 BB/9. But he's been susceptible to the long ball, which balances an outstanding ability to keep runners off base. (He has a 1.031! career WHIP). But he's not Taylor Rogers. The 31-year-old Rogers was the Twins 11th round pick in 2012 out of the University of Kentucky. In 2013, he was the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year. He made his debut in 2016 and has pitched in 319 games for the Twins over six seasons. He is 17-18 with 50 saves. In 314 2/3 innings, he struck out 361 batters (10.3). He is coming off of his best season in 2021. He went 2-4 with nine saves. In 40 1/3 innings, he walked just eight (2 intentional) and struck out 59 batters (13.2 K/9). He made his first All Star team, though he also missed the last two months of the season with a finger injury. He will also be a free agent at the end of the year. In addition, Rogers has served as the team's player representative the past two seasons and led the Twins players through some rough years. He heads to the Padres where he will be able to compete against his brother Taylor and the Giants frequently. The main target for the Twins in this trade is Paddack. He's only 26 years old. As a 23-year-old rookie in 2019, he went 9-7 with a 3.33 ERA. He had 153 strikeouts and 31 walks in 140 2/3 innings. Things haven't been real good since. In 2020, he went 4-5 with a 4.73 ERA. In 2021, he was 7-7 with a 5.07 ERA, though as people have pointed out, his FIP was just 3.78. While he throws a lot of strikes, his strikeout rate has dropped from 9.8 to 8.8 to 82 over his three seasons in the big leagues. The other piece the Twins sent in return was Brent Rooker, who was drafted by the Twins in the Competitive Balance Round after the first round in 2017 after an amazing Triple Crown season in his final year at Mississippi State. The powerful slugger debuted in 2020 and hit .316 with two doubles and a homer in seven games before being hit by a pitch ended his season. In 2021, he played in 58 games with the Twins, but surprisingly wasn't called up until late July . He hit .201/.291/.397 (.688) with 10 doubles and nine home runs. It became increasingly clear that he wasn't going to get extended run with the Twins. In fact, the 'final' roster spot with the Twins appeared to be between Rooker and Kyle Garlick. With this move, we have our answer. In fact, it's possible that's the direction the Twins were already looking. If so, it's very possible that Rooker may have been DFAd to make room to add Garlick to the roster. This story will continue to be edited as details and nuances are added. What are your thoughts on this deal?
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