Friday Files (7.11.21): Extending Taylor Rogers, Rebuild or Retool, Offseason 40-Man Questions & More
Welcome back to a weekly edition at Access Twins called “Monday’s Mail.” Except now, it’s going to be “Friday Files” until the end of the regular season. Then, we’ll do Flashback Friday and move the mail back Monday. Oh, and most of the time they’ll probably be late.
If you’d like to be involved, there are a few ways you can do so:
Tweet @brandon_warne or @accesstwins with the hashtag #askBW
if Twitter isn’t your thing, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Monday Mailbag/Friday Files”
Watch for sporadic Facebook posts asking for questions
Should be pretty easy, right? Let’s talk to it:
Interesting timing on this question, as between it being sent and me typing this up, the Boston Red Sox signed closer Matt Barnes to a two-year deal worth just under $19 million.
I posed the question on Twitter if people would sign Rogers to the same extension, and these are the results (you may have to click through to see them):
Nevertheless, it’s an overwhelming “yes” from my Twitter electorate, and at last check, it was a shade under 500 votes so that’s a pretty good sampling.
So let’s look at what Barnes is doing this season versus what Rogers is doing (image via Fangraphs):
So, they’re not entirely dissimilar. Barnes has the saves because he’s played on a better team and hasn’t shared the role quite as much as Rogers has with guys like Hansel Robles and Alex Colome.
Barnes doesn’t get the grounders that Rogers does and he doesn’t have the same command, either, but he more than makes up for it in the strikeout department.
Barnes just turned 31 a couple of weeks ago; Rogers turns 31 in December. Rogers is still a full year away from free agency, while Barnes was slated to hit the market this offseason.
So in that respect, this is actually a pretty good market-setting deal for Rogers and the Twins if both sides are interested in an extension — which we don’t know for sure, of course.
Something like two years, $18-19 million is probably fairly close because while Barnes was an impending free agent, he was also making less than Rogers this year under club control ($4.5 million). And while that doesn’t matter much as far as Barnes is considered, under club control Rogers will most likely get a raise from the $6 million he’s making this season — possibly into that $8-9 million AAV range he would get from such a deal anyway.
The Twins would probably ideally rather sign him to a two-year deal now, covering 2022-23, as opposed to a two-year extension since three years from a reliever is an eternity. There’s reason to believe Rogers can be good in the near term — which I think two years qualifies as — but anything beyond that is dicey for even the most elite of relievers.
The Rockies already said German Marquez will not be on the move. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t oppose the idea of trading for Trevor Story, but he’s a free agent at the end of the year and isn’t going to make or break the team’s chances of making a miraculous comeback and reaching the 2021 playoffs.
So…it would have to be a player with multiple years of control. Gibson qualifies, but I think a contender will nudge the Twins out on a deal with a bit more in return to potentially have two postseason runs with the tall righty as opposed to ostensibly the one the Twins would have (next year, if things go markedly better than they did this season).
In all honesty, I think the best move for the Twins if they’re still uncertain is just to stand pat. They have some good players and it’s possible their best baseball is still in front of them this season. Now, does that mean they’re going to be any better than like 78-84? No, it does not.
But at the end of the day, I just still think that’s far more likely than the Twins bringing in any sort of 2021 difference-maker. Mayyyyybe someone who’ll make noise in 2022, but that’d be like if the Twins could get Bobby Dalbec for Rogers or something (just a name that would fit the bill, not a move I’d necessarily endorse).
The best. Not only are they comfortable, but it’s a great view of the game while not being too low or too high from the field. It’s also where the press box is, so I’ve spent a ton of time up there.
But when I take my wife and daughter to games, that’s where I really like to sit. You can run upstairs and sit at tables and grab a bite — if you can find a table, that is — and enjoy the climate-controlled air while doing so, and you can still see the game if you grab that bite by the stand-up rails they have set up inside the club itself.
Love the 360 Club.
Re-tool, in my opinion. Honestly, I’m starting to become of the opinion that rebuilds are just too risky. It means you’re going to be shitty — pardon my French — for at least five years while also being entirely unexciting both during the season and in the offseason. Then, you have to nail it on like three of your five first-round picks over that span, or you make multiple steps back or even start all over again.
Look at the Detroit Tigers. Do you want to be where they are? I love Tarik Skubal and think Spencer Torkelson is going to be special. I like quite a few of their prospects, really. But they’re not remotely close to putting together an entire cohesive team that can make any noise — not against the White Sox or whoever else might be there at the end of the day in the next two or three seasons.
Or look at the Twins, who looked to be taking steps forward in 2015 and 2017 only to take steps backward the following year(s) — including a huge one in 2016.
Progress isn’t linear. Keep building on what you have. Don’t commit to a rebuild in Year 2 of Trevor Larnach and Alex Kirilloff, and maybe Year 1 of Royce Lewis. Keep pushing. Keep building. Keep doing all the things it takes to put pressure on the teams who might be considered ahead of you.
The 2020 season was the perfect storm for the organization. They had no minor-league pitching develop during that season, and it’s hurting them badly right now. Sure, did Matt Shoemaker and J.A. Happ blow up in their faces? But so too would have Jose Quintana, James Paxton and any other number of guys other than like Taijuan Walker.
It was a minefield out there, and we have to be realistic about that.
It also sucks that Randy Dobnak got off to a terrible start and then got hurt while Devin Smeltzer and Lewis Thorpe got hurt.
But if any development had occurred under a traditional 2020 season, there’s a chance we’d be seeing Jhoan Duran, Jordan Balazovic, Blayne Enlow, Matt Canterino and any other of a number of guys who would have been able to make significant jumps in the big leagues right now (assuming health, of course).
It’s a bump in the road — and a huge, crappy one — but I think they’re taking notes on how to right the ship in the offseason.
I tweeted this the other night, but I think there’s a fairly strong chance he’ll be the team’s starting designated hitter to open 2022. He’s under contract for one more season with a hefty team option in 2023, so I think they’ll give him the first half of 2022 to put up or shut up in the DH role while fending off guys like Brent Rooker and maybe Aaron Sabato for playing time there in the interim.
Sabato, however, has struggled badly this season. Like “his on-base percentage is higher than his slugging percentage” badly.
It would take a massive, David Ortiz-like season for the Twins to exercise Sano’s $14 million option, but if he hits like he’s capable, nothing is off the table.
But that’s just the sense I get. He’s a sunken cost. Give him a bit more time down the stretch this season and the first part of next, and if he’s nothing more than driftwood, he can be fully set adrift.
I’ve seen more than a few people say this and I’m not sure why. Polanco has turned things around from a brutal start and will go into the All-Star break with a 105 wRC+.
He’s playing solid defense at second base and filling in from time to time at short, and I think the worst-kept secret here is that he’ll probably move back to short once the team trades Andrelton Simmons.
If you trade Polanco, who plays short? I just can’t see a scenario where Simmons is on this team on Aug. 1, nor can I see a scenario where Polanco isn’t.
Polanco’s contract is such that if someone like Lewis absolutely hits the ground running and Luis Arraez beats him out at second base, he can be kept as a high-end utility guy out of the mold of someone like Marwin Gonzalez.
There’s really no reason to move Polanco.
It is so hard to say with CBA negotiations coming up. How hard will players push for the universal DH? How much will they have to concede on things like seven-inning doubleheaders and the extra-inning runner-on-second rule?
I don’t care for the seven-inning games but I get them, since pitching is such a precious commodity and it’s increasingly difficult to keep healthy. I can live with that.
I think I could also get down with the idea of the runner on second base in maybe the 11th or 12th innings. But I would like it to be same old, same old in at least the 10th if not also the 11th.
Universal DH is a must for me. This isn’t only because pitchers simply have never hit at this level with any sustained success, but it also hearkens back to needing to keep these guys healthy. Pitching is becoming increasingly specialized, not necessarily as much as on the mound but perhaps more so when it comes to training, and the contracts they’re signing are as large as ever.
Keep them healthy by stop asking them to do things they don’t do well!
I will say this, though — I do like the three-batter rule for relievers. I didn’t think I would, but I also didn’t give full credence to how much I loathed a manager going lefty-righty-lefty to get an out apiece in an inning where the lineup was structured the opposite way in say, the eighth inning.
That one can stay.
No kidding. What a stud he was to start the season. Dry your tears and watch some highlights:
OK, so let’s assume every impending free agent is off the 40 in one way or another.
Then you have to handle the guys on the 60-day IL who have exemptions right now:
Edwar Colina - activate
Cody Stashak - activate and outright
Jake Cave - activate (probably will happen fairly soon actually)
So that subtracts seven total from the 40-man roster.
I’m also assuming the following players would be outrighted off the 40:
That still leaves also the potential for guys like Derek Law, Danny Coulombe, Kyle Garlick and Cave to be moved off the 40 in some form or fashion. Who knows about Beau Burrows or Luke Farrell based on what happens the rest of this season?
Right now, we have 11 spots earmarked — so let’s consider it 10 since some guys will hang in the balance and be DFA’d if the team needs space to make a signing. There’s no sense in outrighting a bunch of guys who are fringe roster types if you don’t up filling out the 40 with guys in the winter.
So then we go to Roster Resource here and see who is up for the Rule 5 draft and needs to be added by the Twins.
Anyone with an R5 or a Dec. ‘21 next to their name has to be added to be protected from the Rule 5 draft this winter.
Here are the obvious ones:
IF Jose Miranda
SP Josh Winder
SP Cole Sands
IF Royce Lewis
SP Blayne Enlow (can go on the 60-day IL)
Here are some who’ll possibly garner consideration:
IF Wander Javier (really up and down season at CR but won’t want Baddoo II)
SP Chris Vallimont (belongs in the top tier most likely)
RP Jovani Moran (absolutely dealing at Wichita)
SP Luis Rijo (will he be healthy?)
SP Charlie Barnes (holding his own at St. Paul)
OF Ernie De La Trinidad (crushing at Wichita)
OF Gabriel Maciel (still very young but needs to move up)
IF Jermaine Palacios (back in the org. and hitting well at Wichita)
RP Ryan Mason (probably not but numbers at Wichita are respectable)
SP Andrew Cabezas (on IL right now but numbers look good at CR)
IF Yunior Severino (needs to get moving as he’s too low level-wise)
SP Landon Leach (finally back on the bump, but a long way off)
If it’s me, I probably am aggressive with the cuts and add Javier, Vallimont and Moran among the guys from the second group as well.