Two seasons ago, it seemed like Minnesota Twins reliever Glen Perkins would never pitch for the Twins again. Now, it appears, he will be the number one option out of the bullpen for the foreseeable future.
The Twins announced Thursday morning (via Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com) that they had reached a three-year extension with the Minnesota native that will keep him in the Twin Cities until 2015 with a deal that guarantees Perkins $10.5 million.
After disappointing management on the mound and filing a grievance against the Twins for sending him to the minors (1-1, 5.83 ERA, 1.569 WHIP...4-9, 5.81 ERA, 1.581 WHIP at AAA Rochester) instead of keeping him on the major league roster and sending him on a rehab assignment, Perkins emerged as a reliable late-inning reliever last season, going 4-4 with a 2.48 ERA in 65 appearances. He struck out 65 and walked 21 in 61.2 innings.
Perkins, a first-round pick by the Twins out of the University of Minnesota in 2004, is now that anchor of a depleted Twins bullpen that saw Joe Nathan leave via free agency, has Matt Capps looking to rebound from a disappointing 2011 campaign and lost Joel Zumaya for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
"Everything has changed over the last couple of years," manager Ron Gardenhire said earlier this spring. "He's content. He understands more about the game than he ever has. He understands what he wants out of the game more than he ever did before."
After Perkins dominated out of the bullpen in a 99-loss season for the Twins, and with Joe Nathan and Matt Capps hitting the free agent market, there were talks that Perkins would shift into the closer role this season. Twins GM Terry Ryan put an end to those rumors during the winter meetings, telling reporters that he would prefer to sign a closer with some experience. The Twins re-signed Matt Capps (124 career saves) 14 days later.
Perkins will come out of the bullpen as the set-up man for Capps when the Twins open their season at Baltimore on April 6th.