January 9, 2013
The Keeper Reaper
Relievers for 1/9/13
Glen Perkins | Twins
Twins lefty Glen Perkins isn’t one of the first closers who comes to mind when thinking of keeper candidates, but he probably should be. After bouncing between the bullpen and rotation during his first few seasons in the majors, Perkins has settled in nicely as a high-leverage reliever over the past couple years. He got a shot at closing in 2012 and, in news that could only draw the attention of dorks, by season’s end had eventually earned the confidence of his manager and GM to be the team’s long-term answer in the ninth inning.
And really, that was all that was left to be answered about Perkins heading into 2013—whether manager Ron Gardenhire and GM Terry Ryan were willing to commit to him unconditionally as their closer. When closer Matt Capps went down with an injury in June of last season, the Twins initially divvied up the saves among Perkins and Jared Burton, a righty. That didn’t seem to bode especially well for Perkins fanboys, yours truly among them. Typically, with all things being equal, the right-hander will eventually begin to see the bulk of save chances in such an arrangement. Burton’s final save of 2012 came on August 4, however, and Perkins gobbled them up the rest of the way.
Burton’s continued presence—he signed a two-year extension last month—is my only slight reservation about Perkins this spring. To be clear: I think the job will be Perkins’ to lose, and his strikeout, walk and ground ball rates over the past two seasons suggest he’s more than capable of holding down the job. If he should falter on account of the vagaries of relief pitching, though, the Twins have a solid alternative at the ready in Burton.
If you can keep Perkins on the cheap, the potential payoff justifies taking on some minor risks.
Jared Burton | Twins