After hammering out deals with the rest of their arbitration class last night, the Twins have now also agreed to a one-year deal with left-hander Taylor Rogers, tweets Dan Hayes of The Athletic. Rogers, who has served as the Twins’ primary closer over the past two seasons, will be paid a $6MM salary next year.
Rogers, 30 in two weeks, had a handful of rough outings in 2020 but has emerged as one of the more effective lefties in the game over the past several seasons. Dating back to 2018, he’s given the Twins 157 1/3 innings of 2.80 ERA ball with a 2.62 FIP to support that mark. Along the way, he’s tallied 41 saves and averaged 10.8 strikeouts, 1.8 walks and 0.74 homers per nine frames while inducing grounders at a solid 46.7 percent clip. Rogers did post a 4.05 ERA in 20 innings this past season, but a 24-to-4 K/BB ratio and a sterling 2.84 FIP paint a more favorable picture.
Rogers’ return will give the Twins some continuity, but the surprising decision to non-tender Matt Wisler thinned out a bullpen that was already facing a good bit of turnover. Trevor May has already signed with the Mets, and the Twins declined their $5MM option on veteran Sergio Romo. Right-hander Tyler Clippard, too, is a free agent. Those four pitchers combined for 94 2/3 innings of 2.85 ERA ball with a 122-to-32 K/BB ratio and eight saves in 2020. Suffice it to say there’s some work to be done.
This was the third of four trips through the arbitration process for Rogers, who first qualified as a Super Two player following the 2018 season. The Twins control him through the 2022 season. With Rogers’ deal now in place, the Twins are already done with their entire arbitration class. They non-tendered left fielder Eddie Rosario and Wisler last night while also announcing one-year deals with right-hander Jose Berrios ($6.1MM), center fielder Byron Buxton ($5.125MM), righty Tyler Duffey ($2.2MM) and catcher Mitch Garver ($1.875MM).
Those moves place the team’s 2021 payroll at about $92MM — or about $40MM shy of what would’ve been last year’s Opening Day payroll mark, as was projected to be the case in our Offseason Outlook on the Twins. It’s not clear just how aggressively owner Jim Pohlad is willing to spend in the aftermath of 2020’s revenue losses, but in addition to the glaring needs in the bullpen and the likely hunt for a rotation upgrade, the team has also been negotiating a potential return with designated hitter Nelson Cruz.