Following yet another loss where the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen was unable to keep a late lead intact, the cries for Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel to be acquired via trade have only grown louder. Many want the team’s president, Dave Dombrowski, to do whatever it takes to land the All-Star reliever, in turn solidifying the Phillies closer role for at least the remainder of the year.
While poaching Kimbrel away from Chicago would unquestionably be the best case scenario for Philadelphia at this year’s trade deadline, Dombrowski needs to be prepared for a scenario where such a move simply doesn’t happen. The Cubs are expected to demand quite the asking price for Kimbrel, with plenty of other teams (with far deeper farm systems!) set to be involved. Even the Phillies best possible offer might not be enough to convince the Cubs to part ways with Kimbrel.
With all of that in mind, Dombrowski is going to need to have a backup plan to fall back on should Kimbrel be deemed unobtainable. Richard Rodriguez from the Pirates has frequently been mentioned as another trade target, with veteran Ian Kennedy also considered highly likely to be moved.
While both Rodriguez and Kennedy would represent instant upgrades to a seriously depleted Philadelphia Phillies bullpen, a name that would provide an even greater boost is that of Minnesota Twins left-hander Taylor Rogers. A high strikeout arm coming off the first All-Star appearance of his career, Rogers is presumably rather high on the list of bullpen arms that Dombrowski is currently checking in on.
If the Philadelphia Phillies are unable to land Craig Kimbrel at this year’s trade deadline, Taylor Rogers would be a pretty sweet consolation prize.
Rogers currently boasts a 3.43 ERA with a 2.20 FIP through 38 appearances, along with eight saves and a career-high 13.0 K/9 rate.
When looking at Rogers’ Baseball Savant numbers, it’s not all that hard to figure out why he’s been so successful this season. His K%, xERA, xwOBA, and BB% all rank in the 90th percentile or higher, with his chase rate actually ranking in the 99th percentile. Rogers’ high strikeout numbers keeps a ton of pressure off the defense, something that should be of interest to the Phillies considering their defensive woes this season.
The less balls that go into play – the better.
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It’s somewhat unclear what the market for Rogers is at the moment, but one can only assume that the Twins would be willing to listen to offers for their All-Star closer. The Twins have really struggled this year despite expecting to contend for a playoff spot, with reports popping up that they’d be willing to deal someone as valuable as Byron Buxton (a player who the Phillies themselves have checked in on). If Minnesota commits to “selling” at this year’s deadline, pawning off Rogers while his value is the highest would make a ton of sense.
Outside of the immediate production that Rogers would give to the Phillies bullpen, he’s also under team control through 2022 by way of arbitration. While Dombrowski would like to see his team sneak into the postseason this fall, next season is the year that many have pinned as Dombrowski’s true “championship window.”
Having Rogers around for that would obviously be beneficial.