Glen Perkins Rumors

AL Central Notes: Perkins, Ramirez, Almonte, Indians

Twins closer Glen Perkins told reporters today that he can “barely walk” due to back spasms, per La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (Twitter links). Perkins will not accompany the team to Houston for its weekend series and will instead remain in Minneapolis for treatment. Per the Pioneer Press’ Jace Frederick and MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger (Twitter links), Perkins says he is “baffled” by the recurrence of back pain, as he felt fine after recording a save on Tuesday and believed himself to be 90 to 95 percent healed. Instead, he awoke Wednesday to the realization that he could barely get out of bed. It’s not known how long Perkins will be sidelined, but the injury makes the Twins’ acquisitions of Kevin Jepsen and Neal Cotts look that much more important. That duo, along with Trevor May, who has temporarily converted to a reliever (with strong results), will figure to play a key role as the Twins hope to remain in Wild Card contention.

Here’s more from their division…

  • Alexei Ramirez hopes to return to the White Sox in 2016, he tells Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune“This was the team that gave me the opportunity to play in the big leagues and I want to spend the rest of my career here,” said Ramirez via interpreter. Chicago holds a $10MM option with a $1MM buyout on the 33-year-old Ramirez, essentially making it a $9MM decision for the Sox. Ramirez’s .243/.273/.345 batting line would make that seem like an easy call, Ramirez has made things tougher on GM Rick Hahn and his staff by hitting .285/.324/.435 with six homers and seven steals in 53 games dating back to July 1.
  • Zack Meisel of Cleveland.com chronicles Abraham Almonte‘s long journey to the Indians, including his battle with alcohol abuse along the way. Almonte admits that a shoulder injury suffered in 2010 as a minor leaguer with the Yankees led him to drinking nearly every day and candidly recounts the story of how he overcame his problems. Now with the Indians after being traded three times in three seasons, Almonte says he’s having the most fun of his career, and he’s drawing praise from teammates and coaches alike. Almonte, still just 26 years old, is hitting .274/.326/.536 with three homers and three steals in 92 plate appearances as Cleveland’s primary center fielder. His defense, characteristically, has been outstanding according to metrics such as Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved.
  • The Indians will likely promote left-hander Giovanni Soto and infielder Michael Martinez tomorrow, tweets MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. However, neither is on the team’s 40-man roster, meaning they’ll have to make a pair of 40-man moves in order to accommodate the duo. This is my speculation, but moving T.J. House to the 60-day disabled list would clear one spot, but there’s no injury-related move that could free up a second spot (unless the team decides Carlos Carrasco is done for the year), making a DFA seem probable.

Injury Notes: Pressly, Perkins, Pence, Phelps, Greene, Hultzen

There’s been quite a bit of news on the injury front today, with Maikel Franco landing on the disabled list due to a fractured left wrist, and Michael Saunders being shut down for the season by the Blue Jays. That’s only the tip of the iceberg today, though, as a number of players have either been shut down or are heading for MRIs today. Here’s a look around the league…

  • Twins right-hander Ryan Pressly has been shut down for the season after suffering a setback in his recovery from a lat strain, GM Terry Ryan told reporters, including MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger (Twitter link). The 26-year-old Pressly, a former Rule 5 pick by the Twins, was a bright spot in the ‘pen for Minnesota this season when healthy. In 27 2/3 innings, he notched a 2.93 ERA with 7.2 K/9, 3.9 BB/9 and a 47 percent ground-ball rate to go along with a career-best 94.2 mph average fastball. He’ll accrue enough service time to clear two years of service but will fall shy of Super Two status.
  • That’s not the only potential blow facing the Twins‘ bullpen, as the team announced after tonight’s loss that Glen Perkins will return to the Twin Cities to undergo an MRI on his ailing neck. As Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes, Perkins’ symptoms are similar to the ones he experienced late in 2014 when a nerve injury ended his season prematurely. La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune tweets that Perkins will receive a cortisone shot as well. The Twins, who have one of the worst bullpens in all of baseball, can scarcely afford to lose their best reliever for an extended period of time. Perkins has followed up a 1.21 first-half ERA with an 8.10 mark since the All-Star break.
  • Hunter Pence underwent an MRI on his left oblique, per Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area (all Twitter links). Pence will miss a least a few games, and the Giants hope to have his results in the near future. As Pavlovic points out, Pence appeared to suffer an injury in his final swing of last night’s game, as he clutched his side following the plate appearance.
  • The Marlins announced that right-hander David Phelps is out for the season with a stress fracture in the radius of his right forearm. Injuries have caused the Fish to lean on Phelps perhaps more than they’d expected, but in 23 appearances (19 starts) he’s posted a 4.50 ERA with 6.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 across 112 innings — just one shy of his career-high.
  • Shane Greene has hit the minor league disabled list with the Tigers, per John Wagner of the Toledo Blade (Twitter link). Greene is getting checked out by team doctors after reportedly experiencing numbness in his fingers — a potential indicator of nerve damage, among other injuries.
  • There’s continued bad news on the injury front for former Mariners top prospect Danny Hultzen, who will be shut down until Spring Training, tweets Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. As Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune points out (via Twitter), Hultzen will be out of minor league options next season, meaning the former No. 2 overall pick will need to either make the club or be exposed to waivers. Injuries have completely derailed Hultzen’s career thus far, as the Virginia product has thrown just 43 2/3 innings over the past three seasons combined.

AL Notes: Hughes, Tomas, Lewis, Perkins, Leyva

Phil Hughes of the Twins has capped off one of the game’s best turnarounds by topping 200 innings on the year after today’s outing. As Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press notes on Twitter, Hughes picked up a $250K bonus after passing the 195 IP threshold. Needless to say, Minnesota is thrilled that it not only landed Hughes, who just turned 28, but that it did so on a three-year deal that promises him just $24MM in total. As Pedro Moura of the Orange County Register observes (Twitter link), Hughes has struck out 181 batters while issuing a mere 16 walks this year, meaning that he owns an absurd 11.3 K/BB ratio. That is a historically significant mark, and one that would surely have made the righty one of the offseason’s most interesting free agents had he elected to take a one-year pillow contract last year.

  • You can count the Yankees among the teams taking a hard look at Yasmani Tomas, reports George A. King III of the New York Post. Of course, they will be far from the only team doing so. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez provides an interesting look at the much-hyped young slugger, who is preparing for an important showcase on Sunday. “It was really difficult to leave Cuba,” said Tomas (translation from Spanish via Sanchez). “It is for all of us who do it. But it’s difficult there with the way the security is and how they control the players. I made an important decision to fulfill my dream and see if I was at the level of major league players. Here I am, and now I go forward.”
  • Rangers hurler Colby Lewis says that he was told “maybe” when he asked club GM Jon Daniels about the possibility of a return next year, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star -Telegram reports on Twitter. The 35-year-old righty has only a 5.12 ERA over 158 1/3 innings this year, but then again he had been out since July of 2012 with various injury issues. Lewis owns a 4.33 FIP and has notched 7.0 K/9 against 2.4 BB/9 on the season, making him a potentially appealing option for teams looking for a solid innings-eater.
  • Twins closer Glen Perkins will be shut down for the rest of the year but ultimately received good news on his left arm, GM Terry Ryan told reporters including Phil Miller of the Star Tribune (Twitter link). Perkins will use a strength and conditioning program to deal with a forearm strain and nerve irritation, and is expected to be at full strength for the spring.
  • The Orioles are nearing finalization of a deal with Cuban hurler Lazaro Leyva, reports Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter). Leyva has reportedly agreed to terms on a $725K deal to join the Baltimore organization.


Central Notes: Aramis, Indians, Perkins

Here’s the latest out of the game’s central divisions:

  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin denied a report from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com that the team had decided to exercise its end of a $14MM mutual option over third baseman Aramis Ramirez for next season. The option, which comes with a $4MM buyout, has yet to be decided on according to Melvin. As MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports, Melvin expressed surprise at hearing the report and indicated that he had not discussed the option with either team owner Mark Attanasio or Ramirez’s agent, Paul Kinzer. Ramirez, 36, has had a solid overall campaign and remains an above-average option at the hot corner. Needless to say, Milwaukee’s decision on his option will have important ramifications for the third base market.
  • Though the Indians boast an intriguing group of young starters, GM Chris Antonetti said that the team will look to add more arms in the offseason, as Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports“We’ve seen it first-hand this year,” Antonetti explained. “The five who started the season for us aren’t the same five who are pitching for us right now.” Also on the docket for the fall is an effort to improve the team’s infield defense, said Antonetti. According to Fangraphs’ measurement of defensive value, Cleveland ranks second to last in all of baseball. (Of course, one potentially positive sign is that newly installed shortstop Jose Ramirez has received stellar marks from advanced metrics, quite the opposite of Asdrubal Cabrera, who he replaced after the trade deadline.)
  • Twins closer Glen Perkins is set to undergo a “complete look” at his throwing arm, reports Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Fresh off of signing a four-year, extension with just over $14MM in new guarantees before the season, Perkins was strong for much of the year. But things have turned south in the last month, and he has now allowed seven earned runs in his last four outings. Perkins missed time due to neck and shoulder discomfort, and since returning has seen the issue extend to the rest of his arm. “We’re going to give him a test on the left arm, see what’s going on there,” said GM Terry Ryan. “He’s got a little soreness, so we’ll get it looked at. His neck is fine.” Ryan said that the team would wait for an assessment before determining a course of action for the rest of the year, though obviously the future is of greater concern: “[Doctors] are going to give him a complete look, whatever that means. I don’t want to be premature here. If it’s severe, we’ve got issues. If it’s not, then we’ll move forward.”

Olney On Mazzaro, Drew, Morales, Huntington, Perkins

ESPN.com's Buster Olney touched on a number of interesting topics today in his Insider blog and podcast. Among them:

  • One reason that Pirates reliever Vin Mazzaro may have cleared waivers is simply that he stood to be paid nearly twice the league minimum salary. "Once you go to spring training, you’ve spent almost all the money you’re going to spend," a general manager told Olney. "There aren’t many teams with a lot of extra money lying around." 
  • That same fact has a bearing on the situations of compensation free agents Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales. Olney polled executives around the league, finding that none were willing to pay either player at the qualifying offer rate of $14.1MM. The highest figure he heard was $10MM to $12MM AAV for Drew and a $8MM to $10MM rate for Morales on a multi-year deal, with most respondents landing well shy of those amounts. There were many other concerns raised as well, ranging from those players' injury histories to questions about their commitment to a new team (e.g., would they play through a late-season injury?) and worry about "the layoff and need for a modified spring training."
  • Turning to the podcast, Olney spoke with Pirates GM Neal Huntington, who said that the team left its playoff run determined to return with focus. Instead, Huntington said that his concern entering the spring was how to keep positive energy flowing after the front office was criticized for its quiet offseason. Huntington said that the team wanted to do more, but that there "wasn't the right move out there" and he felt the organization needed to continue to "stretch when it's appropriate, stay disciplined when it's appropriate." Looking ahead, the GM said that, "if need be we can go outside because of the depth of our player development system."
  • Huntington also discussed his team's well-publicized use of defensive shifts, saying that it is all about "maximizing our chances to put balls in play and turn them into outs" and indicating that much of the work is in shading out of the standard alignment. The approach for each situation is developed through what he calls a "multi-tiered process" within the organization. 
  • Olney also chatted with newly extended Twins closer Glen Perkins, who is under team control through 2018. Perkins said that he made clear to his agent as far back as his first extension that he was happy to take a deal and stay in town rather than "pric[ing] myself out" of the organization. The lefty says that maximizing money is not the most important thing, and saw value in the possibility of a World Series run with his hometown club while providing for his family's future when he had the chance. He kicked things off by suggesting a new deal to his agent, with a deal coming together quickly thereafter. 
  • Asked for his opinion on the idea of players accepting so-called team-friendly deals, Perkins said that the chances of upside are met (and often exceeded) by the possibility of "blowing your arm out." It becomes somewhat easier to take on risk as a player's earnings rise throughout their career, Perkins noted, but looking for "a little more" is tough when "you're always one pitch away." His ultimate advice to players is hard to disagree with: "get yours while you can."

Twins Extend Glen Perkins

The Twins announced that they have signed All-Star closer Glen Perkins to a new, four-year contract extension that runs through the 2017 season. Minnesota has now promised Perkins $22.175MM in total, including $14.1375MM in new money.

Perkins will earn $4.025MM in 2014, $4.65MM in 2015, $6.3MM in 2016 and $6.5MM in 2017. The contract contains a club option for the 2018 campaign that is also worth $6.5MM and comes with a $700K buyout. If Perkins is dealt, the 2018 term becomes a player option. He also receives a three-team no-trade clause. 

Perkins-Glen

By restructuring and extending Perkins' contract, the Twins have added an additional two years of team control. Perkins' extension overwrites his previous deal — a three-year, $10.3MM extension signed prior to the 2012 campaign that included a $4.5MM option for 2016. Under his old contract, the Minnesota native and Relativity Baseball client was set to earn $3.9875MM this coming season (after the original base salary was bumped up by performance escalators). The escalator and performance incentive provisions of the old contract are not a part of the new deal.

Perkins, 31, had previously been guaranteed $7.8MM over the next two seasons, and that figure now jumps to $8.675MM. Essentially, he receives a raise of $875K over his remaining guaranteed seasons, and the Twins pick up extra two guaranteed years at $13.5MM total, including the buyout on the 2018 option.

Over the past three seasons, the former first-round pick and Minnesota Golden Gopher has pitched to a sterling 2.45 ERA with 10.2 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and a 43 percent ground-ball rate. He made his first All-Star team last season and has saved 52 games for the Twins since taking over as the team's full-time closer midway through the 2012 season. ERA estimators FIP (2.71), xFIP (2.90) and SIERA (2.51) all agree that his skill-set over the past three years has been that of a sub-3.00 ERA pitcher.

From his standpoint, it's not hard to see why Perkins would be interested in guaranteeing himself financial stability through at least the 2017 season; relievers are rarely extended in the first place — particularly when they're at least two years away from free agency. Indeed, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reports (via Twitter) that Perkins approached the Twins about working out a new deal.

On the other hand, the Twins effectively secure a pitcher who has emerged as one of the game's best late-inning relievers for a price that likely would have been inflated on the open market. This winter, situational left-handers such as Boone Logan and Javier Lopez signed contracts that guarantee them $16.5MM and $13MM, respectively, over three seasons. Were he to have hit free agency with the capability to neutralize both right- and left-handed batters and also with a good deal of closing experience, Perkins' open-market value would likely have exceeded those deals.

However, with two guaranteed years and an option remaining, there was quite a bit that could have gone wrong in the meantime, and Perkins clearly prioritized financial security and the allure of pitching in his home state. This could be a win-win extension, should Perkins continue on his current trajectory, as he would receive an abnormal amount of security for a reliever at a rate that he potentially could have topped on the open market.

MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger tweeted the annual breakdown and added that the 2018 club option will become a player option if Perkins is traded. Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune tweeted the value of the option year buyout. Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweeted the details of the no-trade clause, added that the new contract did not contain incentives or escalators, and broke down the new money added through the deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


AL Central Notes: Thome, Perkins, Twins, Ervin, Peralta

Though he's yet to officially retire, 43-year-old slugger Jim Thome would like to be a big league manager at some point, writes Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times. Thome, who took a position in the White Sox' front office last summer, told Van Schouwen: "I want to look at what the next phase is for me getting back on the field, competing at a high level. There is a side to me that wants to manage someday and prepare myself for it if that opportunity came calling." More out of the AL Central as Spring Training picks up steam…

  • Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes that one conversation three years ago changed Glen Perkins' future with the team entirely. The bad blood between Perkins and his hometown Twins was well documented, as he had been weighing a grievance against Minnesota regarding his service time. Perkins approached pitching coach Rick Anderson and manager Ron Gardenhire and simply told them he had no desire to play elsewhere. Anderson tells Souhan: "He came to me right here and said, ‘Can I talk to you? I was born and raised in Minnesota, I’ve spent my entire life in Minnesota, I want to be a Twin. I want to be a better teammate, I want to be a better pitcher, don’t give up on me.’" Perkins, a 2013 All-Star, has developed into one of the game's best closers since that time.
  • The Twins have signed 18-year-old Australian first baseman Jack Barrie to a six-figure bonus, according to a report from Australian news outlet SBS. Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN confirmed that it's a six-figure deal and adds that the team still has money left in its 2013-14 international free agent budget after the signing (Twitter link).
  • In the latest edition of his "Hey, Hoynsie!" mailbag, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tells one reader that he would be "stunned" if the Indians made a late play for Ervin Santana. Though Cleveland's name has been connected to the former Angels and Royals hurler, Hoynes says that the team values its first-round pick too highly to make such a move.
  • Jhonny Peralta was planning on appealing his suspension last season in order to remain with his teammates through the playoff push, writes USA Today's Bob Nightengale. However, when the club acquired Jose Iglesias from the Red Sox, Peralta says he "knew [he] had to take [his] suspension." Nightengale spoke with GM Dave Dombrowski, who told him: "We talked to his agent (Seth Levinson, at the time) and we knew he was thinking of appealing. There was a time I was thinking he was going to appeal. And at that point, we wouldn't have made a trade. But my gut told me the closer we got to the (trade) deadline, and talked to them, he wasn't going to appeal."

AL Central Notes: Morneau, Ryan, Konerko, Indians

Happy birthday to Hall-of-Famer Paul Molitor, who turns 57 years old today.  Though Molitor only spent the final three of his 21 seasons with an AL Central team, the St. Paul native has been closely tied to the Twins franchise and currently serves as a special assistant within the organization.  Here's the latest from around the division…

  • The Twins don't have any trade talks percolating about Justin Morneau right now, Minnesota general manager Terry Ryan tells Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  “I can put that out there,” Ryan said. “I don’t see [a trade], but there is always a possibility."  Morneau has cleared waivers and has revived his trade value after hitting .303/.326/.618 in 92 PA in August.  The former AL MVP has drawn varying levels of interest from the Yankees and Orioles in recent days.
  • Ryan added that "I don’t think you have to worry about" Glen Perkins being traded.  The closer drew attention before the July 31st deadline, but it's hard to see how Minnesota could get Perkins through waivers without another club blocking the move.
  • The Twins GM also covers a number of topics with Hartman, including his own future with the team.  Ryan said he's still enjoying all aspects of his job, except for the Twins' poor record on the field.
  • Adam Dunn thinks there is "zero chance" his White Sox teammate Paul Konerko will retire after this season, Dunn tells Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (Twitter link).  Konerko has hinted at retirement throughout the season, as this is the last year of his White Sox contract and the veteran has struggled with injuries and a .662 OPS in 393 PA.
  • The Indians recently gathered several front office members to discuss September promotions and any possible August trades, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.  "We're looking at opportunities to improve, internally, externally, whatever those might be," GM Chris Antonetti said. "I continue to like the group of guys we have, but if there is an opportunity to improve, we'll pursue it."

Latest On Perkins, Willingham, Morneau

The latest on Twins trade chips Glen PerkinsJustin Morneau and Josh Willingham (who is currently on the DL)…

  • The Twins are receiving lots of calls on Perkins but still telling teams they won't trade him, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The team is also receiving interest in Willingham, despite the fact that he's currently on the DL.
  • Berardino writes that Willingham is drawing interest, and one rival talent evaluator told him he could see a scenario where Willingham is dealt. GM Terry Ryan spoke to the media about trade chips last night, adds Berardino. While he didn't mention Willingham's name, he referenced the recent trade of Jesse Crain and a previous trade the Twins had made with injured players: "We did that once with the Dodgers, way back in the day, so it can be done."

Earlier Updates

  • An August trade of Morneau is a more likely outcome than a deadline deal, according to Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The Rangers are a long shot to make a run at Morneau, the Orioles have cooled on him and the Pirates have other targets atop their wish list at this time.
  • The Pirates, Orioles and two unidentified teams make up the market for Morneau at this time, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The Rangers don't appear to be a fit, as they're seeking a right-handed bat, and the Yankees are content with Lyle Overbay as a lefty swinging option at first base.
  • Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets that the Twins are willing to eat some of the remaining $4.6MM on Morneau's contract if it means receiving a decent return.
  • Reports from earlier today stated that Morneau wasn't a fit with the Orioles due to his contract and lack of production.

Relief Market Rumors: K-Rod, Wilson, Duensing, Coke

With just over a week to the trade deadline, there's still been only one significant move for a reliever — Boston's acquisition of Matt Thornton. Plenty of teams are on the lookout for bullpen help, however, including the Tigers, Red Sox, Braves, Diamondbacks and more. With a potential Jason Grilli injury last night, more bullpen rumors could begin to circulate. Here are the latest relief rumblings from around the baseball world…

  • The Red Sox, Dodgers and Tigers are all keeping close tabs on Francisco Rodriguez, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. The Sox and Dodgers, in particular, were said by Crasnick to have scouts "all over" Rodriguez this week. Detroit, meanwhile, isn't as interested as it once was due to the strong recent performance of Joaquin Benoit and Drew Smyly (Twitter links).
  • Former closer Brian Wilson threw for Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti and bullpen catcher Billy Hayes yesterday, according to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com. The session was a personal favor to Wilson and not an indicator that a deal is coming, Baggarly writes. However, Wilson looked nearly Major League ready, and Baggarly feels that the willingness to afford Wilson this favor suggests that any ill will between the two sides following Wilson's offseason non-tender has subsided.
  • The Braves continue to search for left-handed relief help, tweets Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio, who lists Oliver Perez, Mike Dunn, Glen Perkins, Scott Downs and James Russell as potential targets. Bowden notes that Perkins is unlikely, likely because of the numerous reports that the Twins won't move their closer.
  • While the Twins aren't interested in moving Perkins, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Braves may have interest in another Minnesota lefty who may be available — Brian Duensing (Twitter link). Duensing has two years of team control remaining and will be arbitration-eligible for the second time this offseason.
  • One more note from Crasnick, who tweets that the Braves also checked in on Phil Coke in their quest for lefty relief help, but nothing came of the talks with the Tigers. Coke has had a brutal season because of overexposure against right-handed hitters, but he's held lefties to a .231/.271/.346 batting line.
  • For more on the relief trade market, check out my examinations of the market for left-handed relievers and the market for right-handed relievers. Also, for all fantasy players out there, be sure to follow @closernews on Twitter to keep up to speed with closer injuries, performance, usage and more.