Friday, June 28, 2013
Twins face decision on Glen Perkins
By Buster Olney
It was a month ago that a longtime scout, in a position of great influence, scanned rosters around Major League Baseball and reached a conclusion. "The guy everybody will want is [Glen] Perkins," he said, referring to the Twins left-handed closer.
|Based on his production and his price tag, Glen Perkins will have many teams interested.|
Sure enough, teams are doing their due diligence, checking in with the Twins -- just in case they're open to the idea of trading him. And if Minnesota ever decides to market him, well, GM Terry Ryan will have a full-fledged bidding war on his hands, because there is so much to like about Perkins.
He's right in the prime of his career, having turned 30 years old in March.
He's throwing the ball extremely well, with an average fastball velocity of 95 mph. It never really worked for him as a starting pitcher, but as a reliever, he has settled in.
He is dominating hitters, holding opponents to a .509 OPS. Right-handed hitters are batting .156, with a .273 slugging percentage.
But beyond all that, there is his contract -- signed when Perkins was just beginning to establish himself in the Minnesota bullpen. Now, at a time when teams have considered Jonathan Papelbon, at $13 million annually, Perkins is an incredible bargain.
He's making $2.5 million this year, with salaries of $3.75 million in 2014, $3.75 million in 2015; his deal includes a team option for $4.25 million in 2016, with a buyout of $300,000. All told, Perkins is guaranteed $10.3 million.
Perkins would be a fit for any team, for those with an immediate need -- the Tigers, Red Sox, Dodgers -- and beyond, such as the Cardinals (who can offer some great talent in return), Yankees, Braves, A's, Rangers, etc. His salary means he could work for any team, from the Dodgers to the Astros.
Perkins is from St. Paul, which is part of the reason some rival officials don't believe Ryan will trade him. But keep in mind: Ryan has been doing an aggressive makeover of the club, trading Denard Span in the middle of a team-friendly deal, swapping Ben Revere. The Twins are probably more likely to contend in 2015 than any time this year, and given the natural progression and regression of all relievers not named Mariano Rivera, there's no telling how Perkins will be throwing.
There would be logic to dealing Perkins right now, and the Twins could get something really good in return.
For the readers: If you were in the Twins' position, what would you do?
• Matt Garza pitched great, again, with a whole bunch of scouts watching. Look, it makes sense for the Cubs to move him now, because his trade value – while not as high as it was last summer – will never be higher than it is today. He's throwing well, he's got experience pitching in the toughest division in the majors, and he has pitched in a lot of meaningful, late-season games.
From ESPN Stats & Information, how Garza recorded a season-high 10 strikeouts:
A. He got ahead early: He threw 21 first-pitch strikes, his second-highest total over the past two seasons.
B. He was tough on lefties: They were just 2-for-13 and accounted for six of his 10 strikeouts. He got them to chase on 33 percent of his pitches, which ties his highest rate this season.
C. His slider was the out pitch: five of his 10 strikeouts came in at-bats ending in a slider, his most this season.
• Over the winter, Kyle Lohse's free-agent market was wrecked because he was tied to draft pick compensation, and that forced him into a three-year agreement with Milwaukee that pays him $11 million annually. Well, now the Brewers could get some return for him if they trade him, because that salary makes him more attractive.
• The Dodgers could be closing in on the first notable trade of the summer. They have had extensive talks with the Marlins about the 30-year-old Ricky Nolasco, and one source with knowledge of the talks places the odds at 70-30 that a deal will get done.
The Rockies are aggressively looking for a starting pitcher, writes Patrick Saunders.
• Yasiel Puig did it again.
I talked with evaluators this week who say that the best way to pitch Puig is readily apparent -- you pound him inside, and off the plate, with fastballs, and you throw soft stuff low and away. But mistakes are made, and even when the pitch is off the plate -- as that game-winning hit against the Phillies last night -- he is strong enough and armed with enough ability to square up the ball in his swing that he can still do damage. "There are adjustments that can be made against him, and they will be made," said one longtime evaluator. "But he's really good."
From ESPN Stats & Information, about the Dodgers' starting pitching: During the team's winning streak, Dodgers starters have gone 4-0 with a 2.40 ERA (3.63 ERA before streak). They've had a lot of success with the curveball as hitters are just 5-for-29 (.172 BA) in at-bats ending with that pitch.
Bruce Bochy talked about Puig's All-Star chances with reporters the other day. Puig seems to be able to put on a show whenever he wants, writes Bill Plaschke.
When Carl Crawford gets back, the best lineup will play.
• Chris Perez was activated from the disabled list. Indians GM Chris Antonetti was on the podcast Thursday, talking about this move, about deal-making among general managers, and about one of the greatest trades in baseball history.
• Jon Lester was hurt during Boston's win, but the Red Sox think he'll be OK.
From Tim Britton's story:
Lester was spinning a gem into the eighth when he was forced out of the game by a jammed right hip -- an injury he incurred while slipping on his landing foot on the mound. The pitcher said he felt fine after the game, and neither he nor manager John Farrell expects there to be any interruption in his usual routine.
"I feel normal," Lester said less than an hour after leaving the mound with a 3-0 count on Emilio Bonifacio in the eighth. "Hopefully that will carry over to tomorrow and we won't have to worry about it."
"We'll certainly check again tomorrow," said Farrell. "Tomorrow should be a normal Day One for him."
The Red Sox seemingly got good news about Clay Buchholz: No structural damage.
• Brian Roberts could rejoin the Orioles this weekend. We've got the Orioles on "Sunday Night Baseball," hosting the Yankees at Camden Yards.
• Derek Jeter says Alex Rodriguez is making progress. But the PR war between Rodriguez and the Yankees continues: The Yankees say A-Rod's behavior is bizarre, writes Bob Klapisch.
This whole episode is insight into a future in which Rodriguez might become this generation's version of Jose Canseco. If the baseball writers hold to their current collective standard in the Hall of Fame voting in dealing with past steroid users, he's not going to be honored at Cooperstown. Rodriguez is going to be mostly shunned in his retirement by the teams he played for, particularly the Yankees, and it's going to hurt.
He could write a heck of a tell-all book, and present his own version of Joe Torre and others -- and it would get a lot of attention, something he naturally veers toward and seems to seek out, even when it's criticism.
• Ian Stewart, who was cut by the Cubs earlier this week, is considering signing a Triple-A contract with the Yankees, who really would have nothing to lose. Stewart is a left-handed power hitter and if he earned a shot at the big leagues, he'd be hitting in a park, Yankee Stadium, that would be tailor-made for his swing. If he didn't hit, the Yankees really wouldn't lose anything by giving him a shot.
• Manny Machado admitted he should've been ejected, as Brittany Ghiroli writes.
• Bartolo Colon starts for Oakland tonight and for the first time in eight years -- eight -- he could pick up his 11th victory in a season. And it's still June.
He's 40 years old.
He's got the best strikeout-to-walk ratio in a career that started in 1997.
Colon, of course, was suspended last year for PED use. Fans ask all time -- and players, too -- if Colon is clean, and my answer always is: I don't know.
But under the current rules, if he or any player at that age wanted to cheat, they'd really have little to lose other than reputation, and a lot to gain, in money. If caught, a player at that age would simply face another suspension and maybe head off into retirement.
Moves, deals and decisions
1. The Phillies picked up one infielder and sent down another.
2. The Pirates signed their No. 1 pick, writes Bill Brink.
3. Robinson Cano needs a big year if he wants a megadeal, writes Joel Sherman.
4. Freddy Garcia is going to stay with the Orioles.
5. Jose Valverde accepted an assignment to Triple-A.
6. The Brewers called up a couple of guys.
Dings and dents
1. Bryce Harper had a long night of work, and he is expected to rejoin the Nationals Monday.
2. With Melky Cabrera landing on the disabled list, a popular Jay returned.
3. Anibal Sanchez could be back next week.
4. A Cubs prospect suffered an injury that might end his season. But Theo Epstein expects him back this year.
1. Derek Holland and the Rangers had a great series in New York, and a great road trip through St. Louis and New York.
2. The Angels had a great series in Detroit, and Jered Weaver led them Thursday.
3. The Phillies continue to drift.
4. Sam Deduno was "the man" for the Twins.
5. When Patrick Corbin pitches, the Diamondbacks win.
• The Yankees' weak bats are hitting a wall, writes Bill Madden. The Yankees rank 22nd of 30 teams in runs scored.
• Wil Myers is getting solid reviews, writes Marc Topkin.
• The Royals' offense continues to fizzle.
• The White Sox make a lot of errors.
• The Astros' Justin Maxwell figures to be back Friday.
• Jurickson Profar is not quite ready for the outfield, says Ron Washington. Meanwhile, Profar had 10 plate appearances in the past 10 days; he hit a home run Thursday.
• Dustin Ackley needs to produce.
• This is how Brandon Moss became a member of the Oakland Athletics, from Carl Steward.
• The Braves' revamped bullpen is surging, writes David O'Brien.
• The Mets are working with Zack Wheeler to help him with his pitch-tipping.
• The Pirates have gotten bang for their buck in signing Russell Martin.
• Edward Mujica is perfect so far.
• The Reds need a right-handed bat, writes John Erardi.
• There was good news and bad news for the Cubs in a public hearing.
• Michael Cuddyer set a franchise record and extended another one with a second-inning single against the Mets. He now has the longest hitting streak in Rockies franchise history, at 24 games. That's one more than current Rockies hitting coach Dante Bichette had in 1995. He also has reached base in a franchise-record 43 straight games.
• Willie Bloomquist has mastered his role, writes Sarah McLellan.
• For the Padres, replacing Everth Cabrera has been tough.
• There is sad news about Darren Daulton.
• Here's a cool story about the Marlins' superfans.
• The onus is flipping onto Pirates fans, writes Dejan Kovacevic.
• Vanderbilt will have a lot of pitching next season.
• The first curveball may have been thrown 2 million years ago.
And today will be better than yesterday.