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Article: Are The Twins Suddenly Sellers?

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 08:59 PM
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What Would You Do? Jared Burton

Attached Image: Jared Burton 600.jpg
On Sunday night, it was Glen Perkins who got the final three outs in the tenth inning to record the save in game two of a double-header sweep of the Detroit Tigers in Comerica Park. However, with a tied score in the bottom of the ninth, Jared Burton came into the game to face the Tigers 3, 4 and 5 hitters. Burton got MVP-candidate Miguel Cabrera to pop out for the first out. He then made Prince Fielder look silly, striking him out. Finally, he got Delmon Young to ground out.
The Twins responded to Burton’s dynamic performance with a run in the top of the tenth frame. Glen Perkins came in for the bottom of the 10th inning and recorded the save. Just another reminder that the guy who comes in for the game’s toughest situations in the 7th or 8th innings are equally, if not more, valuable than the closer.

Since Glen Perkins took over the closer’s role and is often pitching in less difficult situations, it has been a great opportunity for Burton to step up and really show how good he came be.

Should the Twins consider locking up Jared Burton to a long-term, multi-year contract?

In the past, the Twins have had mixed results with giving out long-term contracts to guys, buying out their free agent years. Johan Santana, Joe Mauer and Torii Hunter all signed multi-year deals to buy out some free agent time. The Denard Span long-term deal has been generally very well worth it. Sure, the Nick Blackburn deal wasn’t very good, but those happen. The Twins signed Jesse Crain to a three year deal, but it actually bought out two of his arbitration seasons.

Burton signed with the Twins last November. After spending the past five seasons with the Cincinnati Reds. Special assistant Wayne Krivsky likely was very involved in that transaction.

With about a week left in the season, Burton is 2-1 with a 2.01 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP. He has allowed just 5.9 hits per nine innings. He has given up just four home runs in 58.1 innings. Considering he gave up two homers in his first Twins outing of the season, he has been remarkable. One question with him when signed b the Twins was his control. His 2.2 walks per nine innings this year is by far better than the 3.5 walks per nine innings he had in 2009, his previous career-best. His 7.7 strikeouts per nine innings matches his career number in that category.

Left-handed batters are hitting just .228 against him with a .702 OPS. Meanwhile, right-handed bats are hitting just .155 with a .428 OPS against him.

2012 has been a career-year for Jared Burton, but it isn’t as if it came completely out of nowhere. From the time he came up with the Reds in 2007 through 2009, he was very effective in late-inning situations for the Reds. He just missed so much time the past two seasons with injury.

It’s hard to find perfect comparables to Burton who have been arbitration-eligible the last couple of years. Last year, Mike Adams was at the same arbitration-level of just over five years, and he got $4.4 million. The other relievers who signed via arbitration last offseason got between $1.05 and $1.2 million. I really believe that in arbitration, Burton would get a deal worth between $1.75 million and $2 million for 2013.

Is Burton an injury risk? He had no injury problems in 2012, and with one more inning, he’ll match a career high. The Twins have taken care of him very well this year. In the first half, he did not pitch in back-to-back games. In the season’s first half, he pitched 35.1 innings. In the second half, he is at 23 innings. Through another full offseason, Burton should be at 100% going into spring training 2013.

Here is what I would propose for a long-term deal for Jared Burton. I would want it to line up similarly to the deals that Jesse Crain got AFTER his three year deal. In his final arbitration year, he made $1.7 million. The Twins should feel good about the price they’ll pay in the following seasons. There is risk with Burton as he does have an injury past and he is 31 years old. Because of that, he should (or at least could) be willing to accept a little less per year for some long-term security. (At the same time, he may want to risk having another healthy, dominant season and finding out how he can do in free agency.)

I would offer him $1.7 million in 2013, $2.2 million in 2014, and $2.5 million in 2015 with an option for $3 million in 2016 with a $100,000 buyout. All told, that’s a three year, $6.5 million with that fourth-year option. They could even do like they did with the Glen Perkins extension and add some incentives based on Games Completed.

What do you think? First, would you explore a long-term contract with Jared Burton. Second, I’ve proposed 3 years and $6.5 million. What would your reaction be if you heard the Twins made the transaction?

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