Glen Perkins Rumors
- 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."
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.
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.
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."
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."
- 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."
- 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.
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.
While earlier reports have said that the Twins are likely to trade longtime first baseman Justin Morneau, the 2006 AL MVP isn't drawing significant interest, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Multiple teams that make sense as landing spots are "cool to the idea" at this time, Heyman writes.
The Rangers and Yankees prefer to focus their efforts on acquiring right-handed bats. The Orioles could use an extra bat, but they don't want to pay the $6MM remaining on the final year of Morneau's six-year, $80MM contract. ESPN's Jim Bowden recently connected the Rays and Pirates to Morneau, but Heyman says the Pirates "aren't heavily involved yet," and the financial element is a deterrent to the Rays as well.
Twins-connected sources tell Heyman there's almost no chance that Josh Willingham will be dealt, and closer Glen Perkins is likely to stay as well. The southpaw told Heyman over the All-Star break: "I'd love to be part of the future. And from what I gather, [the Twins] feel the same." Even Kevin Correia, halfway through the first season of a two-year, $10MM deal, doesn't sound likely to be dealt at this time, according to Heyman's contacts.
The trade deadline is just two weeks away, and with the All-Star Game in the rear-view mirror, Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio writes that the market will pick up rapidly beginning Friday. Here are some highlights from the highly informative article penned by the former GM of the Reds, Expos and Nationals (ESPN Insider required and recommended)...
- Bowden hears there's an 80 percent chance that Matt Garza will be traded before his next scheduled start (Monday or Tuesday of next week). The Rangers, Red Sox and Diamondbacks are still involved, He describes the D-backs as "dark horses," adding that their odds in the Garza sweepstakes would increase if they were willing to part with left-hander David Holmberg.
- The Rockies could also be interested in Garza, but they're not clear-cut buyers right now, and the prospective cost is prohibitive to them. If they were to sell, Rafael Betancourt and Matt Belisle could be had. Michael Cuddyer could be moved, but only if Colorado is "blown away."
- The White Sox have been "extremely disappointed" with offers for Alex Rios thus far. Bowden feels that offers will improve as the deadline draws closer.
- The Justin Morneau era in Minnesota is coming to an end, and the Twins are prepared to trade the former MVP, according to Bowden. The Rays, Pirates and Yankees are said by Bowden to be possible destinations for Morneau.
- The Cardinals, Reds, Dodgers and Braves have all inquired on Twins closer Glen Perkins and been turned away. Those four teams are all monitoring the health of Jesse Crain as well.
- The Yankees are trying to use Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and catching prospect J.R. Murphy to acquire a bat but have had no luck thus far. None of those players figure to interest the Twins in regards to Morneau, Bowden adds, given the impending free agency of Hughes and Chamberlain and the presence of Joe Mauer behind the plate for the Twins.
Here's a look at the latest out of the AL Central..
- Twins GM Terry Ryan says that he's willing to trade anybody, including coveted reliever Glen Perkins, writes Mike Beradino of the Pioneer Press. "If somebody overwhelms you with something, then you've got to listen," Ryan said. "There's no question. You just can't say, 'No.' It's not just Glen Perkins. It would be anybody in this situation. If somebody wants to talk about a guy, I'm all ears. Go ahead." Perkins is under contract for a combined $10.3MM through 2015 with a team option for 2016 at $4.5MM.
- In today's column, Buster Olney of ESPN.com (insider sub. req'd) writes that rival GM continue to believe that the Twins don't want to part with Perkins. However, the left-hander's value is at its zenith and he would bring in a nice haul for Minnesota.
- Jim Margalus of South Side Sox breaks down the newly-acquired Brandon Jacobs, who came to the White Sox in the Matt Thornton deal.
In a Twitter blitz this morning, ESPN.com's Buster Olney dropped several pieces of information about the developing non-waiver trade deadline market. (All Olney links via Twitter.)
- We learned on Thursday that the Diamondbacks are more interested in younger, high-upside, controlled starters like the Brewers' Yovani Gallardo and Cubs' Jeff Samardzija than short-term veteran rentals. Olney, who noted the Gallardo interest a week ago (on Insider), now adds that the Dbacks like the marketability of Gallardo's Mexican heritage.
- Olney also reports that Arizona had brief discussions with the Cubs regarding Samardzija. When the Cubs inquired into the availability of top Dbacks prospects Archie Bradley and Tyler Skaggs, however, the clubs ceased their talks. Nevertheless, Olney says that others in baseball do not believe that Skaggs is untouchable.
- Meanwhile, the trade value of Cubs starter Matt Garza is undeniably trending up as the pitcher demonstrates that he is healthy and capable. Olney says a Garza trade is "expected soon" and, according to MLB executives, will likely return "more than the value of a first-round draft pick" to Chicago.
- It is worth bearing in mind the Cubs' alternative strategic options. The team could decide to hold off on trading Garza, instead exploring a long-term extension with him. Should that not work out, Chicago could make him a qualifying offer. If he signed elsewhere in free agency, then, the Cubs would receive a compensatory first-round choice. Hence, the Cubs will likely be inclined to demand what they view as better value than such a pick in a mid-season trade.
- The Giants may be focused on adding a starter, but that is far from the team's only need. According to an Olney tweet, San Fran is surveying the league for a right-handed outfield bat.
- For the Rays, the club is still waiting and watching to decie on a trade deadline approach, says Olney. Sitting at seven games back in the competitive AL East, the team will wait to see how things play out when it returns David Price and Alex Cobb from the DL.
- Finally, Olney expands upon yesterday's notes on Twins closer Glen Perkins. He reports that teams that have inquired have been told that the club's premier reliever is not presently available. With Perkins signed to what Olney describes as an "incredible team-friendly contract," it will be interesting to see whether Minnesota is interested in trying to entice a contender to send a significant prospect haul to supplement its promising minor league system.