Was it wise to give Glen Perkins a long term deal?


The Twins announced on March 8th that Stillwater, Minnesota native reliever Glen Perkins  had signed a three-year extension for a guaranteed $10.3 million. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the 29-year-old Perkins will collect $2.5 million in 2013, and $3.75 million in both 2014 and 2015. The Twins also have an option in 2016 for $4.5 m with $300K buyout. Perkins is scheduled to make $1.55 million in 2012.

From a dollars perspective it seems like a good deal for the ballclub to lock down the lefty reliever for three more seasons with an option for a fourth for very reasonable amount. If Perkins should move into a closer role in Minnesota as some think is a possibility, he would be a bargain. Perkins as you might expect was very pleased with the deal that he feels gives him some peace of mind, who wouldn’t with a guaranteed $10.3 million coming his way.

I am not saying this is a bad deal for the Twins but there are some reasons you could look at this deal as premature. Perkins has been in the big leagues with Minnesota since 2006. Perkins pitched in just 23 games during 2006-2007, all in relief. The Twins made Perkins a starter in 2008 and Glen posted a 12-4 record with 4.41 ERA in 151 innings. A strong argument could be made that the Twins over used Perkins in 2008 jumping him to 151 innings after Perkins had thrown just 48 innings the year before between his time with the Twins and several minor league teams. Perkins is no stranger to the disabled list having been on the DL in 2007 with a muscle strain in his pitching shoulder and missing 100 games, in 2009 Perkins was on the DL twice, missing 26 games with elbow inflammation and 20 more games with shoulder tendonitis. This past season Perkins again visited the DL for 23 games with a right oblique strain. The two DL trips limited Perkins to 17 starts and 96 innings in 2009 and Glen had a 6-7 mark with a 5.89 ERA. After the 2009 season ended Perkins filed a service-time grievance and that started a very rocky relationship between Perkins and Twins management and coaching staff. I like many was convinced that Perkins would not get out of Gardy’s doghouse and that he had pitched in a Twins uniform for the last time. Perkins started the 2010 season in AAA Rochester and to say he pitched poorly would be an understatement, winning 4 and losing 9 with a 5.81 ERA. Never the less, the Twins who were desperate for pitching at the time called Perkins up in early August and he stayed with the team for the rest of the season. Perkins had a good spring in 2011 and made the team as a reliever and almost from the beginning of the season showed that he had found his niche and had a breakout season pitching in 65 games throwing nearly 62 innings with a 2.48 ERA with 2 saves and a 4-4 record. Perkins had a great season this past year for a horrendous team but it is after all just one season.

I don’t have to walk in GM Terry Ryan’s’ shoes but if I was him, I would not give Perkins or any pitcher for that matter a deal beyond 2 years. Pitchers are just to high a risk to get injured in my book to get a multi-year deal out of me. Terry Ryan himself will tell you that relievers are often inconsistent from year to year, that is why you don’t pay relievers big bucks in free agency, at least that has been the Twins position in the past. I like the Twins approach this season, bring in a bunch of experienced arms, let them battle it out and hopefully one of two will stick and pitch effectively. Look back over Twins history and you will find a slew of relievers that the Twins found on the scrap heap that went on to pitch very well out of the Twins bullpen over the years. Bottom line? I hope that Perkins pitches well in a Twins uniform for the next few years and earns his $10+ million but I think the odds are against it.

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