FORT MYERS, Fla. The Minnesota Twins have signed reliever Glen Perkins to a three-year contract extension worth a guaranteed 10.3 million, the team announced Thursday. The contract also includes a club option for the 2016 season.
That means Perkins, who grew up in Stillwater, Minn., will be staying with his hometown team for the foreseeable future.
"I think the most important thing for me was taking care of my family, first and foremost, and getting that out of the way," Perkins said Thursday. "I think to be able to have that in the back of my mind, you worry about a lot of things. To know that I can, the clich, go out and pitch and not worry about anything else, I know where I'm going to be and what I'm going to be doing for the next three, four years. I think that's awesome."
Perkins, 29, signed a one-year, 1.55 million contract to avoid arbitration this offseason. The contract extension he signed Thursday will kick in for the 2013 season.
"We had interest in extending him. He was absolutely interested in trying to do something," said Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony. "He likes it here. He lives here. He's from here. This was an opportunity for Glen to get security. It was an opportunity for us to lock up a key piece of our bullpen for the next four years-plus."
Perkins would have been eligible for free agency after the 2013 season and could have commanded more money if he continued to produce out of the bullpen like he did in 2011. In the end, though, it wasn't all about the dollar amounts for Perkins.
"I've always maintained that that's enough money for me," Perkins said of his 10.3 million deal. "To come out and play baseball not to take away from anybody making more money than that but that's enough for me to be able to just go play baseball."
Perkins had a breakout season in 2011 and was perhaps the Twins' best reliever all season. The left-hander became Minnesota's setup man and posted a 2.48 ERA in 61-23 innings.
Before 2011, however, Perkins struggled. He was a starter for Minnesota in 2008 and 2009 but was moved to the bullpen in 2010. Along the way, he and the organization have butted heads over differences on various issues. He filed a grievance against the team in 2009 when it optioned him to Triple-A Rochester after activating him from the disabled list in August of that season.
The 2010 season was also tough for Perkins, who again spent time at Rochester after struggling in the majors. He pitched only 13 games for the Twins that year and posted a 5.82 ERA.
"That was probably the low point," Perkins said of his 2010 season. "I mean, I had some success at the big leagues and to not have a clue in Triple-A, that's pretty tough. It's one thing to struggle here, but it's another if you've had success here to go back and struggle there. You really have to check yourself. There were times where it was hard to motivate myself to keep doing it because the struggles were immense struggles."
But after the year he had in 2011, all the wrinkles have been ironed out between the two sides.
"We came into spring training (last year), and we didn't know if he was going to make this club," Antony said. "He was out of options. We were hoping he would and we were looking for somebody to step up in the bullpen, and he did just that."
Like the Twins, Perkins is happy no bridges were burned during the period when the two sides didn't see eye to eye.
"I'm glad with all the stuff we've been through, the ups and downs, to keep those relationships intact and strong enough that they wanted to do something like this," he said. "It's exciting for me that we were able to overcome some things and stay here because I'm a Minnesota guy. Through all that, I never really wanted to play anywhere else."
Perkins recorded his first two career saves last season, but he'll again be used in the setup role in 2012 ahead of closer Matt Capps. If Perkins does become Minnesota's closer at any point during his new contract, he'll be paid accordingly. By comparison, Capps will make 4.75 million for the 2012 season.
"This thing is structured to protect him so if his role is he becomes a closer, there's language for him to be compensated better," Antony said. "The 2012 contract is in place, so it would become 2013 (when) he has protection if he becomes our closer."
Antony also noted that Perkins, a former Golden Gophers pitcher, plans to donate money to both the University of Minnesota and the Twins Community Fund.
"Obviously, with the Gophers baseball team, those guys have had as big a part of getting me here as anyone," Perkins said. "I owe them a lot. They're going to get a lot. I'm glad that along with being able to take care of my family, those guys are part of my family, as well."
Before Perkins headed to the locker room following the Twins' morning workouts, manager Ron Gardenhire announced to a group of autograph-seeking fans that Perkins, the team's new 10.3 million man, would sign for them after talking to the media. Gardenhire noted Perkins' involvement in the community, even without his manager's urging.
"Our organization is all about the community. We know that. We're very involved," Gardenhire said. "Perk, unlike a lot of the other guys, is from here. So he knows to get involved and does a really good job of that."
Perkins was also asked if he would be buying dinner for his teammates Thursday night, now that he's signed a new deal.
"My salary this year didn't change," Perkins said with a laugh. "I think I'll still hit Carl (Pavano) up for that."
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