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  • In Perk We Trust

    Ron Gardenhire told reporters over the weekend that he would have "no problem" with Glen Perkins assuming closer duties for his club moving forward.

    Well, you'd hope not.

    Since Matt Capps was officially placed on the disabled list on July 17, Perkins has received the lion's share of save chances, converting all seven of his opportunities while registering a 1.74 ERA and holding opponents to a .136 batting average. In 20 2/3 innings during that span, he has posted a stellar 19-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
    Perkins has backed up his breakout 2011 campaign by posting nearly identical numbers here in 2012. Last year, in 61 2/3 innings, he allowed 17 earned runs (2.48 ERA) on 55 hits while striking out 65 and walking 21. This year, in 60 1/3 innings, he has allowed 17 earned runs (2.54 ERA) on 52 hits while striking out 66 and walking 15. Eerily similar.

    With that consistency, the lefty has established himself as one of the league's best relievers, and if there truly is some mystical mental trait required to successfully pitch in the ninth inning, he's got it. He has "closer" written all over him.

    That's great news for the Twins, especially from a financial standpoint. Back in March, they signed Perkins to a three-year, $10.3 million extension with a team option, so they control his rights through 2016. Here's how his salaries would reflect on payroll compared to other designated closers over the past six years:

    Year
    Closer Cost
    2007 Joe Nathan $5.25M
    2008 Joe Nathan $6M
    2009 Joe Nathan $11.25M
    2010 Jon Rauch & Matt Capps ~$4M + Wilson Ramos
    2011 Joe Nathan & Matt Capps $18.4M
    2012 Matt Capps $4.75M
    2013 Glen Perkins $2.5M
    2014 Glen Perkins $3.75M
    2015 Glen Perkins $3.75M
    2016 Glen Perkins $4.5M

    Clearly, the Twins place a premium on the value of the closer role and they've paid handsomely for reliability there over the years. So the idea of Perkins locking up that spot over the next few seasons is exciting. It should be noted that, in his case, the above numbers are slight underestimates (he has performance bonuses built into his contract for games finished that haven't been made public), but nevertheless he'll be the most inexpensive ninth-inning man the Twins have employed for many years.

    This is as it should be. There's certainly no guarantee that the Twins will be competitive next year, and it makes no sense for a non-competitive team to spend big money for someone to close out wins. The funds saved on a closer can be redirected toward strengthening the bullpen's overall depth (they'll need a new "relief ace" type to fill Perkins' previous role no small matter) and supplementing other areas of the ballclub.

    I think it's safe to say nobody has a problem with Perkins taking that closer role and running with it for the next several years.
    This article was originally published in blog: In Perk We Trust started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 19 Comments
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      I believe we still have Jared Burdon for the 8th inning next year. That gives the Twins two years to find extra relievers, by then some will hopefully come from the minors, as many of the better relievers in the minors are already in New Britian.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      I could have told you that before the season began and before Capps was signed to that ridiculous contract.
    1. Highabove's Avatar
      Highabove -
      A few months ago, a good number of people wanted to see Perkins traded for a Prospect. Whats changed???
    1. Top Gun's Avatar
      Top Gun -
      Maybe Slama will be ready in a couple years!
    1. Montecore's Avatar
      Montecore -
      Perkins has earned the job. And Jared Burton would be a solid set up guy. Its starters they're hurting for.
    1. CDog's Avatar
      CDog -
      Do we have any idea about the size of the "closer incentives" in the Perkins contract? I've been wondering about that ever since it was signed, but haven't been able to find it anywhere. Do we even know kind of sort of? We talking hundreds of thousands or millions or doubling the base or what? Anyone?
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by CDog View Post
      Do we have any idea about the size of the "closer incentives" in the Perkins contract? I've been wondering about that ever since it was signed, but haven't been able to find it anywhere. Do we even know kind of sort of? We talking hundreds of thousands or millions or doubling the base or what? Anyone?
      I looked around and couldn't find anything. I don't believe these details have been made public. That might mean the incentives are not terribly significant, but maybe not.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      I was really hoping they'd find a way not to use him as the dedicated "closer."
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by snepp View Post
      I was really hoping they'd find a way not to use him as the dedicated "closer."
      It's true that Perkins was more valuable to them in his "bullpen ace" role, but he gives them a cheap solution at closer and removes the temptation to once again overpay for one ridiculously. You can find pretty good setup men for a fraction of the price that the Twins have paid for established closers like Nathan and Capps.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      I agree, I was just holding out hope that they'd find a way to do both (not overpay for one AND continue the more optimal usage).
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Now that Perkins got a few saves, I guess he is a "proven" closer in the head of the manager of the millennium, so he has no problem using him...

      Still... As far as closing/late inning relieving prototypes, I think that the 1988 Davey Johnson Mets were about as successful as anyone (other than those 3 headed closer Reds who came later.) They had a two headed closer beast: Roger McDowell RHP and Randy Myers LHP (Plus a great set-up guy in Terry Leach). Use the two closers whereever appropriate the 8th or the 9th inning, plus have a beast of a setup man to take care of the 7th. So all you need is your starters to go 6 with a lead. I'd love to see the Twins find a RHP compliment to Perkins (Burton ain't it) and keep Burton as the set up guy. Maybe one of those kid closers they drafted this year will fit the bill in 2014-15. (Or #FreeAnthonySlama meanwhile )
    1. DPJ's Avatar
      DPJ -
      I'd much rather see Perkins be the 7th, 8th inning guy who can come in and calm things down. I have little to no faith in Burton repeating his 2012 season and it's not like there's a gaggle of quality arms in the pen to step up and fill the set-up role.

      But I guess who really cares, 96 losses or 98?
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      Maybe Gardy doesn't trust Perk as much as we thought?

      http://www.twincities.com/twins/ci_21510807/minnesota-twins-hope-see-matt-capps-pitch-again



      Granted, it doesn't say the Twins are itching to bring Capps back, but it does say that Gardy thinks finding a closer for 2013 is a key priority....
    1. DPJ's Avatar
      DPJ -
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      Granted, it doesn't say the Twins are itching to bring Capps back, but it does say that Gardy thinks finding a closer for 2013 is a key priority....
      Of all the things the Twins need to add to this team, a closer is at or near the bottom of the list. The fact that there's even consideration to bringing him back for 6 million dollars is depressing.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      Quote Originally Posted by DPJ View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      Granted, it doesn't say the Twins are itching to bring Capps back, but it does say that Gardy thinks finding a closer for 2013 is a key priority....
      Of all the things the Twins need to add to this team, a closer is at or near the bottom of the list. The fact that there's even consideration to bringing him back for 6 million dollars is depressing.
      And I agree with you that Perkins is more valuable as a 7th or 8th inning guy. But the Twins already have him, and going out and spending a few million on a closer again seems like a huge waste of resources.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      Maybe Gardy doesn't trust Perk as much as we thought?

      http://www.twincities.com/twins/ci_21510807/minnesota-twins-hope-see-matt-capps-pitch-again



      Granted, it doesn't say the Twins are itching to bring Capps back, but it does say that Gardy thinks finding a closer for 2013 is a key priority....
      No way is Capps $6 million option picked up. If it is, it's time to clean house. The two million needed to resign him could be better spent, there is already going to be a bullpen crunch come 2013 and adaquate arms are already going to be sacraficed to make room. I'd rather fill the spot with a minor leaguer making league minimum, odds are they would be as productive and as healthy. Time to cut the cord on Capps; a year late but better than never.

      Gardy also says he wants Capps to be able to come back by the end of the year. Why? They have already made it abundantly clear there is no room for Slama or Guerra to eat up innings, why the hell would they want to waste them on Capps?
    1. DPJ's Avatar
      DPJ -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      Gardy also says he wants Capps to be able to come back by the end of the year. Why? They have already made it abundantly clear there is no room for Slama or Guerra to eat up innings, why the hell would they want to waste them on Capps?
      Cause Gardy likes Capps...this franchise has been making moves for years based off who Gardy likes and who Gardy doesn't like.
    1. RegFCat's Avatar
      RegFCat -
      I'm bored to tears with Gardy's approach both to his "favorites" and his black hole of a doghouse.

      Time to move along, a fresh voice is needed here. Or are we waiting for him to set the ejections record?
    1. glennholt's Avatar
      glennholt -
      Trusting Perkins is a bad idea. Mentally he's a set-up guy, nothing more (think
      Ron Davis).

      Also, even though most have forgotten, two years ago Perkins was suing the
      organization -- the Twins should have cut him on the spot when he did.
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