Grading the Padres-Twins trade involving Taylor Rogers, Chris Paddack
With Opening Day just hours away, the San Diego Padres and Minnesota Twins decided to make last-minute tweaks to their respective rosters, agreeing to a trade involving starting pitcher Chris Paddack and outfielder Brent Rooker, who are both heading to Minnesota, and relief pitcher Taylor Roger, who is on his way to San Diego. Also involved in the deal is Padres relief pitcher Emilio Pagan. For the Twins, the addition of Paddack beefs up a rotation that the club clearly emphasized on improving this offseason, with Pagan providing bullpen depth. Meanwhile, San Diego adds a much-needed arm to their bullpen in Rogers and outfielder depth in Rooker. It’s a trade that seems to work for both sides. That said, it’s time to grade the Padres-Twins trade involving Paddack and Rogers.
The Padres were entering the season without a clear plan of attack for the ninth inning. Veteran reliever Robert Suarez was looking like the favorite to close for the Padres this year, though the possibility of former starting pitcher Dinelson Lamet working the ninth was also floated. Clearly, neither option excited the Padres’ brass very much. However, Rogers, who has 50 career saves and broke out for 30 in a single season as recently as 2019, brings a far more proven ninth-inning option. The southpaw has pitched to an ERA below 3.50 in three of the last four seasons while striking out an average of 11.5 per nine innings, thanks to a nasty slider. It was time for the team to move on from Paddack, is coming off of back-to-back poor seasons. That the Padres were able to turn Paddack and a depth reliever in Pagan into a solid closer and a much-needed outfielder in Rooker, is impressive work by general manager A.J. Preller. Rooker, 27, clubbed 74 homers in 321 minor league games and is likely to platoon in right field with Jurickson Profar. All in all, the Padres earn an A- for addressing two positions of need in the trade. With Paddack departing, perhaps the club has their sights set on a midseason call-up for top pitching prospect Mackenzie Gore?
The Twins have made it clear that improving the pitching rotation is their priority. By acquiring Paddack, their second trade involving a starting pitcher, Minnesota has potentially solidified their rotation even more. There’s no doubt that the 26-year-old is a bit of a risk, as he’s coming off of back-to-back seasons with an ERA above 4.50, as he has failed to rediscover the strong form he displayed as a rookie. However, Paddack, who is owed $2.25 million, is under team control for the next three seasons. With Sonny Gray, rising prospect Joe Ryan, talented youngster Bailey Ober and Dylan Bundy, Paddack cements what could be a promising rotation if things shake out right for the Twins. It hurts to deal Rogers, who was the only proven option remaining in the bullpen. However, the Twins are likely confident that Jorge Alcala, who has posted strikeout rates above 26 percent in each of the last two seasons, is ready for the responsibility of the ninth inning. In dealing Rooker, Minnesota also ensured more regular playing time for talented outfielder/first baseman Alex Kirilloff, who often found himself in a playing time crunch in 2021. The bullpen will certainly be an adventure, though the Twins undoubtedly made themselves better with this deal.