Twins, Chris Paddack Agree To Extension
The Minnesota Twins and right-hander Chris Paddack have reportedly agreed to a 3-year deal, according to Twins Daily. According to Dan Hayes of The Athletic, the deal is $12.5 million guaranteed. According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post , Paddack will receive $2.5 million in 2023, $2.5 million in 2024 and $7.5 million in 2025, with an additional $2.5 million available in incentives. The deal, which is pending a physical, would lock Paddack up for a free agent year beyond his normal team control window.
Paddack, 27 last week, was acquired from the Twins last April in a deal with the Padres that also saw Taylor Rogers and Emilio Pagan switch uniforms. Unfortunately for the Twins, Paddack managed just 22 1/3 games with the club before going on the injured list with an elbow problem. Paddack later underwent Tommy John surgery in May, with August 2023 as the reported target for his return to big league games.
Paddack was an instant success in his 2019 debut season with the Padres, posting a 3.33 ERA (126 ERA+) with a 3.95 FIP in 26 starts and racking up 153 strikeouts in just 140 2/3 innings of work. The shortened 2020 season saw him struggle mightily, however, as his ERA rose to 4.73 (89 ERA+) and his FIP similarly rose to 5.02 in 59 innings. A factor in this was his terrible HR/FB rate of 25.0%, nearly double his 14.6% rate from 2019.
His home run rate returned to normal in 2021, but Paddack continued to struggle. In 108 1/3 innings in 2021, Paddack posted a 5.07 ERA (77 ERA+), the worst of his career. Paddack’s 3.72 FIP in 2021 indicates there may have been some bad luck built into those results, but there was still cause for concern: His strikeout rate had dropped significantly. After hitting 9.8 for 9 in his 2019 debut season, that rate dropped to 8.8 in 2020 and then dropped again in 2021, down to 8.2, good for a strikeout rate just in the 35th percentile that year.
Of course, it should be noted that Paddack battled injuries throughout the 2021 season, which certainly could have affected his performance. Paddack spent more than two months on the injured list in 2021 in three separate IL stints, suggesting he may not have been fully healthy even when he was on the mound that season. Between his youth and injury history, there’s reason to believe Paddack can return to form more in line with his 2019 debut once he’s fully healthy, an outcome the Twins are betting on with this deal .
In Paddack’s extension, the Twins offer the righty some security during his rehab process and return to the pitcher’s mound, while buying themselves an extra year of team control for a pitcher with significant upside. If Paddack returns to the mound at the end of the season, he will join a somewhat full rotation mix that currently includes Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle, Joe Ryan, Kenta Maeda and Bailey Ober. With that said, Gray, Mahle and Maeda are all set to hit the free agent market after 2023, leaving Paddack as a potential key in Minnesota’s 2024 rotation.
With four years of service time, Paddack was set to be eligible for arbitration both this offseason and next, with MLBTR contributor Matt Schwartz projecting him for $2.4 million during this round of arbitration. With the deal, Paddack gives up a potential raise through the arbitration process next year in addition to one year of free agency, though he’s still on the market at age 30 after the 2025 campaign. A cost-controlled starter like Paddack is a huge boon to Minnesota’s payroll flexibility going forward — while their projected payroll for the 2024 season is just $65 million per RosterResource (before including the players who were drafted in list), the Twins are, as previously mentioned, set to lose three members of their rotation this offseason, potentially in addition to two starters in Joey Gallo and Max Kepler. While youngsters like Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach can step up in the outfield, it seems almost certain that the Twins will need to replenish their core in free agency next year. The cost certainty with Paddack could help them be more aggressive in making those additions and maximize the first few years of Carlos Correa’s new six-year deal with the club.