Glen Perkins: Now Is the Time to Give Him the Keys to Twins' Closer Role

Chris SchadContributor IIIJune 22, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 20:  Glen Perkins #15 of the Minnesota Twins closes out the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates during interleague play on June 20, 2012 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Twins defeated the Pirates 2-1.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

In spring training, Glen Perkins signed a four-year contract extension worth $11.85 million with the Minnesota Twins.

Coming off a stellar season as a setup man (2.48 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 61.2 innings pitched), it looked like Perkins was being rewarded for turning his career around after a near fallout with management earlier in his career.

However, when you look closer at the Twins reliever situation, it seems like the Twins were making a more forward thinking move than just rewarding a guy coming off a good year. Set-up relievers (well, at least the ones the Twins go after) don't make that kind of money.

In other words, do the Twins believe that Perkins can be an effective closer in the major leagues?

I'm saying, yes and that the time is now to trade current closer Matt Capps before the July 31 trade deadline to let the Perkins era begin.

As I mentioned before, Perkins has revived his career after being put in the bullpen role. His pitches have gained an extra bite coming out of the pen, and hitters are having trouble hitting it.

Over the past two seasons, Perkins has racked up impressive numbers in ERA (2.66), WHIP (1.25), and strikeouts per nine innings pitched (10.1).

That still doesn't mean that Perkins would be an effective closer, as the pitcher who slams the door must have a different mentality than the other relievers.

Perkins has that different mentality, and he showed it Friday night in the Twins' 5-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Perkins came into the game protecting the lead and immediately gave up a single to Scott Rolen. After a sacrifice bunt by Wilson Valdez, Perkins gave up another single to pinch-hitter Ryan Hanigan. This left two men on with one out in a one-run ballgame.

Perkins stood his ground and was able to get Zack Cozart looking at a 96 mile-per-hour fastball and then Chris Heisey on an 85 mile-per-hour slider to end the game. It's been another example how Perkins doesn't get rattled like Capps has over the past two seasons.

A trade for Capps would also help reload the Twins' meager farm system that hasn't produced much in terms of major league talent.

The Twins aren't going anywhere in the near future, so the Twins should give Perkins the opportunity to fulfill the vision that they saw in him when they gave him the extension.