1:57pm: Bollinger tweets that there is indeed a chance that Perkins could return to the Twins on a minor league contract, but he’s likely to retire if such a deal cannot be arranged.
1:26pm: The Twins have informed former closer Glen Perkins that his $6.5MM club option for the 2018 season will be declined, tweets MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger. The three-time All-Star will instead receive a $700K buyout and become a free agent.
It’s not clear what’s next for the St. Paul native, who has spent his entire professional and collegiate career playing in the Twin Cities. This outcome has been seen as a foregone conclusion for some time now, as Perkins has pitched just 7 2/3 innings over the past two seasons after undergoing significant surgery to repair a torn labrum during the 2016 campaign. He did return to the roster and toss 5 2/3 innings out of the ’pen late in the 2017 season.
Upon his activation from the disabled list, Perkins averaged just 90.3 mph on his fastball — a far cry from the 94.9 mph he averaged during his peak years with the club in 2012-13. It’s seems reasonable to believe that the Twins could look to bring him back on a minor league pact in hopes of better health next year, or he could seek out similar opportunities with other organizations if he wishes.
However, Perkins told Bollinger and other reporters in an emotional interview that he may also consider retiring if he is unable to return to the Twins next year. That interview came after a fitting tribute from the team, when the Twins brought Perkins on for the final out of their second-to-last game of the season, and he took the field to his former entrance music as the team’s closer: Johnny Cash’s “God’s Gonna Cut You Down.”
Perkins, 35 in March, struggled as a starter early in his career but emerged as a dominant reliever for Minnesota in 2011. From 2011-15, he pitched to a 2.84 ERA with 9.8 K/9 against 2.1 BB/9. Along the way, he established himself as the Twins’ closer and racked up 120 saves, including a career-high 36 in a 2013 season that was the finest of his professional tenure.