There are MLB games today and we’ve got a blockbuster trade going down with the San Diego Padres landing All-Star closer Taylor Rogers from the Minnesota Twins for a package headlined by Chris Paddack.
Minnesota and San Diego began discussing a deal last night, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The Padres were in the market for a high-end reliever after missing out on the top options in free agency. With the Twins seeking an addition for their starting rotation, a deal came together quickly.
- San Diego Padres trade: Chris Paddack, Emilio Pagan
- Minnesota Twins trade: Taylor Rogers, Brent Rooker
San Diego previously had a Paddack trade lined up with the New York Mets. However, the Mets backed off the deal after failing to land a trade partner to absorb part of Eric Hosmer’s contract.
Related: 2022 MLB rotation rankings
The financial aspect of the deal works out fairly evenly for the two clubs. Rogers is owed $7.3 million in his final season before becoming a free agent in 2023. The Twins will take on both the salaries of Paddack ($2.25 million) and reliever Emilio Pagan ($2.3 million)
Impact of Taylor Rogers on San Diego Padres bullpen
Adding Rogers is a significant addition to San Diego’s relief corps. Entering Opening Day, the Padres only had one left-handed reliever (Tim Hill) on their 28-man roster. Rogers becomes the top southpaw to pitch in late innings and could step in as the closer.
Rogers struggled in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, posting a 4.05 ERA with a .302 batting average allowed across 20 innings pitched. He rebounded in 2021, becoming one of the best left-handed relievers in MLB and earning a spot in the 2021 MLB All-Star Game.
- Taylor Rogers stats: 3.35 ERA, 13.17 K/9,.241 BAA, 35.5% strikeout rate, nine saves in 40.1 innings
The 31-year-old dominated left-handed hitters this past season, holding them to a .170/.185/.340 slash line with 29 strikeouts across 55 batters faced. While he did struggle more against right-handed hitters, surrendering a .287/.327/.386 slash line, he’s performed better across his six-year career (.260/.311/.406).
Before acquiring Rogers, San Diego was expected to rely on Robert Suarez as its primary closer. The 6-foot-2 righty has only pitched professionally overseas, compiling a 2.59 ERA with 96 saves across 330.2 innings.
With Rogers now joining the bullpen, manager Bob Melvin could alternate who serves as closer based on the matchups each game.
San Diego Padres add Brent Rooker to outfield mix
The Padres also improved their outfield as part of the deal with Minnesota. San Diego is acquiring Brent Rooker, who rated as the Twins’ No. 12 prospect in 2020. The 27-year-old hit 20 home runs with a .931 OPS in 2020, but regressed to nine home runs and a .201/.291/.397 slash line this past year.
Why the Minnesota Twins acquired Chris Paddack
As noted by Minnesota Twins reporter Dan Hayes, the club eyed Paddack for years. With multiple teams pushing to land the young right-handed starter, Minnesota needed to part ways with its All-Star closer and a leader in the clubhouse.
There could be plenty of gain from a long-term outlook. Paddack is under contract for three seasons, giving the Twins a potential mid-rotation arm for multiple years at a reasonable salary.
Paddack is just a few years removed from being one of the top MLB prospects. He rated as the 34th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline in 2019, viewed as a starter with the stuff to one day become a front-line starter. With quality command and two ‘plus’ pitches (fastball, changeup), things looked promising early.
Across his first 140.2 innings, the 6-foot-5 righty posted a stellar 3.33 ERA with a 26.9% strikeout rate and only a .202 batting average allowed in his rookie season. Unfortunately, the past two years have seen things unravel for the 26-year-old.
- Chris Paddack stats (2020-’21): 4.95 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, .262 BAA, 22.3% K-rate.
Given the recent criticisms the Padres’ organization has faced for its issues developing pitchers, count Minnesota among the clubs that believe it can do a much better job with Paddack. At the very least, even if he doesn’t reach his front-line starter potential, he solidifies the rotation.
As for who takes over at closer, Emilio Pagan does have some experience in the role. One name to keep an eye on is 26-year-old Jorge Alcala. The 6-foot-3 reliever boasts a strong fastball-slider combo and posted a 3.92 ERA last season with a 21% K-BB rate.