Taylor Rogers – LHP
Traded at the deadline this past season, the 2022 campaign was not kind to left-hander Taylor Rogers.
The University of Kentucky product is no stranger to being traded, as the 31-year-old has seen his fair share over the years, but last season saw the reliever post a career-high 4.76 ERA and blow ten saves on the year, leading the league in that category. While these are not the stats one would be looking to amass during a free-agent year, there are some strong takeaways from the season for teams looking into Rogers this winter.
For starters, he posted a strong FIP at 3.32, which was elevated after he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers at the deadline (5.07 with the Brew Crew). He was also healthy and made 66 appearances and pitched 64.1 innings but most importantly, Rogers was still striking players out at a high clip, setting down 84 opposing batters and finishing the year with an 11.8 K/9.
He did give up seven home runs and 34 earned runs on the season but was still striking batters out when he was on, sitting in the 84th percentile in whiff% and in the 90th percentile in K%. His slider features 14.1 inches of horizontal break and he can touch the mid-90s with his sinker but Rogers did get hit around last year, authoring a 7.5% of solid contact and 40.6% hard hit percentage, which is a couple of points higher than the league average.
Overall, even though he had a down year, Rogers will be one of the top southpaws available in a free-agent class that does not boast a lot of quality arms from the left side. The Blue Jays are currently rolling into next season with Tim Mayza throwing from the left side while Matt Gage, Anthony Kay, Foster Griffin, Tayler Saucedo, and Yusei Kikuchi (if he goes back there again) are the only other internal southpaw options.
Spotrac currently has a $13.1 million market value on the veteran reliever and it will be interesting to see if any team (Jays included) will go that high given the rough season. He could be a potential one-year “prove-it” type contract, something the Blue Jays are very familiar with from previous signings, and if he can find his 2019/2021 form, he would really add a spark to the Jays’ bullpen this year.