Let's spare hyperbole, it's been an absolutely nightmarish Spring Training for Minnesota Twins reliever Emilio Pagan. Things have gotten off to such a gnarly start for him that it begs the question of whether or not he makes the Opening Day roster in a few weeks.
That's rather dramatic, but the Twins don't have a ton of room for error this year. Rocco Baldelli isn't a lame-duck manager, but he's also entering the final year of his contract without a commitment for the future. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have been in charge for six years and have produced only three postseason appearances and just a pair of seasons with 80-plus wins (85 wins in 2017, 101 wins in 2019). With Carlos Correa locked in for the next six years and Byron Buxton in his prime, this season could be viewed as make-or-break for everyone at the top.
Emilio Pagan is not going to be the difference between Rocco, Thad, and Falvey keeping or losing their jobs. If he can't live up to the expectations management has, his roster spot is better off belonging to someone else. If those three guys are on the hot seat entering the year, the one Pagan is sitting on is engulfed in flames.
So far, Pagan isn't doing himself any favors or winning over any new fans. While Spring Training stats should never be too deeply read into, Pagan seems to be putching his way out of a roster spot.
Twins Rumors: Will Emilio Pagan make the Opening Day roster?
He's only made one appearance for the Twins so far in Fort Myers but it couldn't have lasted shorter. Pagan blew a save against the Red Sox, giving up a grand slam that has his ERA at 27.00 on two hits and four earned runs.
Again, Spring Training stats but not great.
That's just one appearance though, the eternal optimist next you might be saying. Well, Pagan made pitched for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic this week and got tattooed in that appearance as well.
As bad as his blown save against Boston was last week, Pagan was somehow even worse for Puerto Rico. Manager Yadier Molina had to yank Pagan after just a handful of pitches.
Granted, both of these apperances came in exhibition situations and were the first couple of times Pagan was stepping onto the mound this season. He wasn't great last year, so his phase of shaking off rust this year wasn't likely to be pretty.
But still, this isn't promising.
Puerto Rico begins to play meaningful games in the WBC starting on Saturday against Nicaragua. If Pagan is blown up again, this time with something actually on the line, that could mark the beginning of the end for him in Minnesota.
Not only is it fair to wonder whether or not he'll make the 26-man Opening Day roster, but Pagan might be out of a job entirely soon if what's happening continues.