Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 11/17/14
Picimg_mlb_mar_20_dfb1

It doesn’t get talked about very often, but spring training serves a dual purpose for many teams. Not only is it a time to get their players warmed up and ready for the regular season, but it’s also a perfect time for teams and players to finalize contract extensions. Free agent acquisitions are finished for the year and the off-season madness is in the past, so teams have the free time to focus on locking up their players. Coming into today, there had already been seven extensions signed since the beginning of spring training…and the Twins just added number eight:

The Twins have signed left-hander Glen Perkins to a three-year, $10.3MM extension, the team announced. The SFX client was already under contract for $1.55MM in 2012, so the deal covers the 2013-15 seasons. It includes a club option for 2016.  (MLB Trade Rumors)

This was a savvy move by the Twins. In his first full season working out of the bullpen, Perkins blossumed into an entirely new pitcher. As a starter, his strikeout rate had hung around 10% as his slider and change-up both generated mediocre amounts of whiffs. His fastballs averaged in the low-90 MPH range, making his overall repertoire middling.

But in the bullpen, Perkins let himself go. His fastball’s velocity jumped up to 94-95 MPH, and he ditched his change-up in favor of throwing his slider 30% of the time. He had never generated more than 28% Whiffs/Swing with any of his pitches before, but in 2012, hitters whiffed on his slider 40% of the time they swung at it. Perkins went from a replacement-level starter to closer material — not something you see happen every day.

The Twins don’t have a deep bullpen, so it makes sense that they’d want to lock up Perkins. His 2.41 FIP and 1.7 WAR led the Twins last season by a wide margin; the next best pitcher in their ‘pen was arguably Joe Nathan, who had a 4.28 FIP and finished the season with zero WAR. Their closer, Matt Capps, saw his strikeout rate plummet last season, and he blew 9 saves and posted a 4.75 FIP. It was a sorry bunch back there, and Perkins was the only consistent, reliable reliever that the Twins had.

By locking up Perkins before the season begins, the Twins essentially just inked their closer-of-the-future to a contract worthy of a set-up man. At the first sign of trouble from Capps, Perkins will likely be inserted as closer, and the Twins will have themselves a great closer signed to a very affordable control.

My only hesitancy is that Perkins is guaranteed money by the Twins for four seasons; that’s a long time to trust that Perkins will remain healthy and effective. Relief pitchers come and go, their performance fluctuates on a yearly basis, and they are a constant injury risk. Teams rarely sign relief pitchers to deals longer than two or three years, and even those sort of deals can blow up in a team’s face easily enough. This is a tad of a risky signing by the Twins — but at least it’s a small risk, as $12 million over four seasons isn’t so bad. Even if he regresses some or has some injury issues over the coming years, Perkins should still easily be worth this contract in the end.

Considering the current state of the Twins’ bullpen, this was a no-brainer decision. They may have six other holes, but at least they have one reliable reliever to count on in the future.


MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Lovie Smith: 2-9 Bucs are still in playoff contention

UCLA QB Brett Hundley likely to enter NFL draft

Bills will return to Ralph Wilson Stadium for Sunday's game

Miller to Oregon transfer rumor originates on Reddit

Valencia FC ditches bat logo amidst DC Comics challenge

Paul Pierce: Celtics' Big Three was like 'Holy Trinity'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Cubs reportedly offer Jon Lester more than $135 million

Colin Kaepernick: Jim Harbaugh will be back in 2015

Jeremy Maclin not happy with Riley Cooper’s contract remark

Broncos reportedly waive kicker McManus, sign Connor Barth

Report: Browns not committed to Brian Hoyer long-term

Pablo Sandoval, Red Sox officially agree to contract

WATCH: Paul Pierce signs autograph during game

Jeremy Hill asks great question about alma mater LSU

NBA rookie rankings after 1st month of 2014-15 season

Statistic about Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler very revealing

Aaron Rodgers blasts those who accused him of trolling Vikings

The century's 10 most one-sided college football rivalries

WATCH: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of NBA's first month

Sherman mocks NFL media policies in press conference

Why Packers' offense continues to evolve despite success

'Fire Idzik' billboard updated with suggestion for Jets owner

Watt buys pizza, shows gratitude to Houston firefighters, cops

College football's post-Week 13 Playoff projection

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Braxton Miller headed to Oregon?

The century's 10 most one-sided college football rivalries

Pierce: C's Big Three like 'Holy Trinity'

Maclin unhappy with Cooper comments

Post-Week 13 CFB Playoff projection

What has Masai Ujiri built in Toronto?

How L.A. should replace Hanley

Lester, Red Sox still talking contract

Why each NFL team should be thankful

Could Kentucky beat the 76ers?

Greatest college football rivalries

LeBron on losing streak: 'I stink'

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.