Glen Perkins: Contract Breakdown and Bullpen Fallout

This morning, after Joe Christensen broke the news of the Twins extending Glen Perkins, I posted a news brief. The reactions were mostly positive, and I have to agree: it looks like a pretty good deal right now. Here's the contractual breakdown by season.

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016 *

Salary

$1.55 M

$2.5 M

$3.75 M

$3.75 M

$4.5 M

Age

29

30

31

32

33

* = option year, $300 K buyout

This contract buys out Perkins' final year of arbitration eligibility, and essentially buys out what may be the best remaining years of his career. At the same time, the Twins have committed multiple years and multiple millions of dollars to a relief pitcher who has logged one truly good season.

Both sides are taking a bit of a risk here. The Twins clearly believe that Perkins can be a productive reliever over the next four or five years, regardless of whether he's a closer or not. If he's not a closer Perkins will be paid well, but there's also the potential for money being left on the table by Perk. If he'd put together two more good seasons in 2012 and 2013, it's more than feasible that somebody out there would have paid millions more than the Twins will to have him close for them.

More after the jump.

Instead, both sides gave a little something. We're still not sure what Perkins' incentives are for finishing games, but it's doubtful they'd be lucritive enough to make this contract unpalatable. Glen comes away with enough money to set him up for life, and the Twins gain financial stability and, potentially, a very good relief pitcher/closer at what would seem to be a very fair price.

When you compare Perkins' extension to the outcome of negotiations with other relief pitchers, this contract looks even better. The Reds extended Sean Marshall to the tune of three years and $16.5 million, with Marshall having just one additional year of service time. Last March, the White Sox inked Matt Thornton to a two-year, $12 million dollar deal. In March of 2010, the Giants decided to keep Jeremy Affeldt in San Francisco for two years and $9.5 million.

Perkins' extension allows the Twins to do a couple of things. First of all, it gives them insurance for Matt Capps. If Capps faulters this summer, the path is now clearly laid for Perk which would likely mean the end of the Capps era in Minnesota. Even if the front office picks up Matt's 2013 option, this extension lays the framework for how they'll build their bullpen in the next few years. Minnesota clearly believes that whatever differences there may have been in the past are now behind them, and that Perkins is the guy they can built a bullpen around.

This move also opens the door wide open for any other pitcher in the organization. Suddenly, every relief pitcher knows they have just one more opportunity to play for. None of these guys were magically going to turn into closer material, but if they prove themselves they may be able to pitch themselves into a set-up role one year from now.

The only way this turns out to be a bad deal is if Perkins falls off the table, and right now that doesn't seem likely in spite of the fact that Perk has turned in just one great year in relief. This was unexpected, but considering the details, this certainly seems like another smart extension from the Twins.

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