Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

The Forums

Game-Thread 8/5: Minnesota Twins (9-2) @ Pittsburgh Pirat...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:22 PM
Catch-Up What if I told you being tied for the best start in club history was not the leading headline for the Twins yesterday. What if I...
Full topic ›

Past Twins Players & Teams

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 01:19 PM
I was watching the Twins game with my father and talking about this Twins team compared to previous Twins teams. Two teams that we zeroed...
Full topic ›


Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:01 PM
Two things are already obvious about this patchwork simulation of a MLB season. The regular season is already a fiasco with numerous viru...
Full topic ›

Where are they now? Ex-Twins in 2020

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 01:04 PM
I said in the 2019 thread that I would start this forum thread...    Let's start populating it. How many former Twins are on ro...
Full topic ›

Glen Perkins Looking To Move On

Minnesota Twins closer Glen Perkins was in a very enviable position a year ago.

He was coming off two consecutive very strong seasons as the Twins closer, a representative at his first All-Star Game in New York, and had just signed a contract that kept him well-compensated and in a Twins uniform for the next five seasons. But after a superb start to the 2014 season, an injury torpedoed the latter portion of the year.

Now, recovering from injury and a decline in velocity, Perkins is looking to make adjustments that will ensure he remains one of the game’s premier closers.

“You are always trying to adjust. And if you want to be successful you have to adjust ahead of the curve and not behind it. That’s in the back of my mind.”

When he thinks about it, Perkins believes that the knee surgery he had in the offseason prior to 2014 may have played a role in his velocity decline last year. At the same time, as a consumer of baseball analytics and advanced research, the Twins closer is also acutely aware of the realities of getting older.

“I felt like I was playing catch-up a little bit all last year,” Perkins said. “I felt I was out of my comfort zone, kind of the whole season. I’m probably around the same [velocity] this year than I was last year so maybe it has got something to do with being 32 instead of 28.”

Research has found that starting around the age-30 season, a pitcher’s velocity tends to make a southward turn. No one stays young forever. Save for a catastrophic arm injury, it typically is a gradual decline, but a decline nonetheless. A reduction in velocity does not necessarily doom a closer, either. For instance, former Twin Joe Nathan saw his velocity begin to slip after 2007 and followed that in 2008 with just as successful a season if not better. He continued to produce at high levels even after having Tommy John surgery and with a slower fastball.

Whereas Nathan remained primarily fastball-slider pitcher, Perkins entertains the idea of adding to his pitch selection, even if not in the near future. The change-up has become the pitch du jour and Perkins toys with it when playing catch with guys like Brian Duensing just to ensure he can pull it out when necessary.

“I play catch with it, I work on it, but I don’t throw it until I have to,” said Perkins. “I’ve already started to work on that because it was a good pitch when I was a starter and became a bad pitch when I was a reliever. It’s something that I don’t all of a sudden want to be like ‘oh crap, I can’t throw a fastball by anybody I need to throw a change-up, how do I throw a change-up?’”

The new change-up revolution in the Twins clubhouse intrigues Perkins, to say the least, and pitching coach Neil Allen’s theories have grabbed his attention.

“I don’t want to give away all his secrets. I know that he’s a little bit analytical but not really but the stuff that he tells me that I see from an analytical side and it’s stuff that makes a lot of sense. I talk to hitters when we are playing cards after the game or standing in the dugout or whatever and the kinda things they are thinking, so he’s thinking from a hitter’s perspective on it.”

Perkins does not feel like he needs to a third pitch at this point in his career. He will cross that bridge when he gets to it. More importantly, he needs to stay healthy.

“Last year, for five months, whatever my velocity was I was probably having my best season as a reliever up until August.”

From April until the end of June the closer was striking out 32 percent of all opponents faced while walking 4 percent. Those figures put him among the American League’s elite relievers. Even with a slightly slower fastball he was in the middle of what was shaping up to be a career year. However Perkins said his forearm started to respond differently after outings, bullpen sessions and throwing in general.

Perkins described the injury and the effect on his pitching as the sensation of after maxing out on arm curls. His forearm would be exhausted and numb. It was difficult to engage the muscles and resulted in an overall lack of connection with the ball. For pitchers, this is a significant problem.

“You can’t finish a pitch,” he said. “I would try to throw a slider I just couldn’t get the last little bit of the whip. You don’t have the spin. So you lose movement, you lose the life. The life and movement is the spin. Guy with late life spins the ball faster than a guy without late life.”

The lack of that “last little bit of whip” on his slider played particularly poorly in the second-half of the season. While it had been the premier pitch in his arsenal in the first-half, racking up a swing-and-miss rate of 43 percent and a .118 opponent average, it became a considerable liability in the season’s back-end. The swing-and-miss rate dropped to 21 percent and hitters managed to levy a .282 average off of it.

Attached Image: strike-zone (4).png

Attached Image: strike-zone (5).png

You do not have to be a baseball expert to see the contrast between his slider location as the season progressed. Without the slider diving down, his ability to induce swinging strikes suffered.

Like most baseball players who thrive on competitiveness and pride, Perkins continued to try to take the ball whenever summoned. He went out to pitch “five or six times” while trying to get additional treatment and a few extra days of rest. Each time he would hope to rebound and that the muscle inflammation would go away and he would return to being the team’s shutdown closer. It was then when he started to consider the alternatives.

“You try to tell [the staff] how you feel and it’s not getting better, it’s getting worse and you are hoping that they say ‘you know what? let’s shut it down’ and then it’s not me doing it. Even though that’s what I wanted, that's what I needed to do.”

On September 16 Perkins was called on to hold a 2-0 lead against Detroit. After allowing several base-runners, Perkins was close to escaping the inning when he surrendered a three-run home run off the bat of JD Martinez. It was a 92 mile per hour fastball that didn’t come out of his hand well, like others before that one. That was the moment he knew he had gone from shutdown closer to shut it down, closer.

“I had no business being out there. I knew I had no business getting major league hitters out.”

Tests revealed that he had a combination of muscle and nerve irritation and inflammation in his forearm. One was getting inflamed and irritating the other. The consequence was a disconnect when finishing his pitches.

“It wasn’t a hurt, it wasn’t a pain,” he said trying to make sense of the ailment. “It was a lack of any pain or feeling. Pitchers talk about feel and there wasn’t any of that. There was no feel for pitches, no feel for getting out front, no feel for being able to finish a pitch.”

That, Perkins says, is no longer an issue at this point.

In his outing on Wednesday, throwing in consecutive games for the first time in the spring season, Perkins was hitting 91 to 92 with his fastball. Down but not entirely unexpected for this time of year. An oblique strain slowed his spring this year and limited his appearances. He’s aware that he has been behind but is catching up quickly. Even with time off, Perkins feels that he is in a much better place now than at this time last year. Manager Paul Molitor agrees that his closer is starting to return to form.

“It seems with each outing he’s been a little crisper,” Molitor observed after the game. “His breaking ball was a little better today that’s one pitch that I think has been a little slow for him to come around with.”

At least on paper the Twins bullpen appears shaky, From his perspective Glen Perkins feels that he is more than ready to provide the same high-quality pitching he did prior to the second-half of 2014.

“I feel a lot better," Perkins says reflected on how he felt this year compared to a year ago. "I always felt like I was a week behind and my arm wasn’t catching up. As far as this spring from last spring, I feel a lot better. I just don’t want to have this forearm thing to crop up. If I can avoid that, I’ll be just fine.”

  • mhanson93, Brananorama and Bill Tanner like this

  • Share:
  • submit to reddit
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email


Woah, bad headline! ;-)  I read it and initially thought he was asking for a trade! However, great analysis Parker!!

    • ashbury and HitInAPinch like this
Parker Hageman
Apr 02 2015 07:45 AM
Woah, bad headline! ;-)I read it and initially thought he was asking for a trade!



"Parker, you old clickbaitin' so and so."


    • Mike Frasier Law and HitInAPinch like this
Apr 02 2015 08:01 AM

April Fools... this read is not about "moving on" but rather keeping up. 

Apr 02 2015 08:12 AM

Glad to hear Perkins is getting better, but the continuing health issues are a big concern.The Twins really need to consider moving Perkins around mid-season.A rebuilding team has no need for a closer and should not be riding him into retirement. 

    • troyhobbs likes this
Apr 02 2015 08:20 AM

I'm so glad the Twins didn't trade him when his value was high...

    • jctwins, Major League Ready and jimmer like this
Giles Ferrell
Apr 02 2015 08:27 AM

Glen Perkins: Always a lock to lead the league in unzipped pants.

    • James likes this

The is a most interesting question. Perkins has a very acceptable contract, even if he moves into just a set-up role as his Twins years continue. Yet, what is his true trade value now.You can see how fast his value diminished when he shut down at the end of the season. He should always have some value, being a lefty, but if he really shines in the first half and the Twins are going nowhere, do you move him and for what? Plus, who is in the wings to take over the closer role.

Apr 02 2015 10:42 AM


The is a most interesting question. Perkins has a very acceptable contract, even if he moves into just a set-up role as his Twins years continue. Yet, what is his true trade value now.You can see how fast his value diminished when he shut down at the end of the season. He should always have some value, being a lefty, but if he really shines in the first half and the Twins are going nowhere, do you move him and for what? Plus, who is in the wings to take over the closer role.


IMO, of course you trade him, and you try and get as many minor league power arms as you can.It was silly of the Twins to not move him at the deadline last year, and would be silly for them not to move him if his value ever increases this year.Glen Perkins will not be a top end player when this team is competitive.That, and Alex Meyer is looking more and more like a bullpen arm every day.We have other power arm talent in the minors out of the pen.No reason to not move him.

    • jimmer likes this
Parker Hageman
Apr 02 2015 12:15 PM
RE: Trading Perkins

The reason this hasn't happened or won't happen in the near future is

1. The Twins have made it clear they don't want to sign long-term contracts and flip the player. This is why Willingham was not traded after year one. For whatever reason, they do not want to treat players like commodities.

2. The Twins are often overly optimistic about their chances of being competitive. If you think you are close to competing, you would need a closer.

Frankly I don't see it happening unless Perkins eventually asks for a trade. And even then because of his contract which states his last year becomes an option if traded (he could lose money) and playing in his backyard, I don't see that happening.

Reason 3: You don't sign a guy to what is widely viewed as a hometown deal, and then trade him. Not lightly, at least, and not because he's at some perceived peak in value.

Similar Articles

by Seth Stohs , 13 May 2020

by John Bonnes , 11 Jan 2020

by Nick Nelson , 29 Dec 2019

by Cody Christie , 15 Jul 2019

by RandBalls Stu , 05 Jul 2019