Deal with Padres a Win for Twins

Photo: Jay Biggerstaff - USA TODAY Sports

News hit on Wednesday night that the Minnesota Twins and San Diego Padres were working on a trade that would land starting pitcher, Chris Paddack, on the Target Field mound. Paddack, a 26-year-old right-hander who has struggled over the last two seasons. He had a rookie 2019 season, though, that would impress even Twins fans old enough to remember Francisco Liriano cutting dudes up in 2006.

Later in the night, Taylor Rogers was reported as part of the package heading back to San Diego. Then Thursday morning, it broke that the Padres were also including right-handed relief pitcher, Emilio Pagan. The final piece to the puzzle came a few minutes later. The Twins were parting with 27-year-old power-hitting corner outfielder, Brent Rooker, an MLB-ready prospect coming off injury.

Rooker or Larnach

Brent Rooker was the worst of three young corner outfield prospects in Minnesota, all of which are much better with the bat then they are chasing down fly balls. Now, they have more at-bats for Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach. Kirilloff will get some time at 1st base too. Larnach projects as a DH down the road and is starting his year in St. Paul. It was Larnach who was rumored to be in this trade last night. That was after he was surprisingly scratched from the Saints lineup just before their second game of the season.

So when driving my kids to school this morning, I was happy to hear it was Brent Rooker heading West and not Trevor Larnach. Settling on Rooker, instead of Larnach, could be why the Twins had to eat a large chunk of Taylor Rogers’ salary, to get the deal done. If so, it was worth it.

Classic Twins move

Make no doubt about it, this is a classic Minnesota Twins move. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a good one. Taylor Rogers is scheduled to be a free agent after this season. Clearly, the Twins weren’t going to bring him back. He would’ve been dealt at last year’s deadline had he not been injured. Now, they get an additional year of control in a legitimate bullpen arm, with Emilio Pagan.

The Twins have the young high-powered arms in the Minnesota bullpen, that we shouldn’t miss Taylor Rogers that much. Chris Paddack is more in return than anything they’d get for Rogers at the deadline. Paddack is another back-end starting pitcher — this one with three years of control — who has the upside of a top rotation arm.

If Derek Falvey and Thad Levine couldn’t find a front-end fix to their rotation, this deal with the Padres is as good of a consolation prize as I could have imagined. And still, the Twins roster and payroll is primed for a bigger blockbuster move before the deadline. Hopefully for a playoff-grizzled, still high-end starting pitcher.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan