The Twins are doing better than expected in 2013, but after a five game losing streak they find themselves 36-46 and 9 games out of first place. They hung in there for quite a while this year and that is commendable as even though nobody with the Twins was willing to admit it 2013 was always going to be a rebuilding year. The Twins classically overachieved over the first three months and it left Twins fans wondering can this team be last years Baltimore and just shock everyone. After the last week we pretty much know the answer to that question. The Twins aren’t hitting and their bullpen has imploded from overwork caused by the Starting staff doing so horribly the first two months. With that being said the reason for this article is to discuss whether the Twins should trade their best pitcher Glen Perkins.
Glen Perkins was a 1st round draft pick out of the University of Minnesota in 2004. He came up as a starter and had 43 strarts between 2008 and 2009 where he went 18-11 with a 5.15 combined era. He then got injured and split 2010 between AAA and the disabled list and had problems with the Twins front office. So when he came into 2011 most were counting the days until he would get traded as must felt it would happen either in Spring Training or soon after. Instead he won a job out of the bullpen and really hasn’t looked back since. Since opening day 2011 until today Perkins has went 8-5 with a 2.34era in 167 games along with 38 saves. To now being if not the best than one of the best left handed closers in the game. He has established himself as likely the second best player on the Twins behind Joe Mauer. With the Twins having a losing record the question has to be asked should the Twins consider trading Glen Perkins?
First, let me state the reasons you don’t trade Glen Perkins because there are many viable reasons why you say thanks, but no thanks. The Twins are a year or two from contending for the playoffs again if you believe in the prospects like I do. I believe they are playoff bound as early as 2015 so do you want to have to develop another closer when you have a developed one already. The next one and likely the biggest two reasons are first his age as he is only 30 years old and has another 5-6 years of elite closing still to come. It appears he is just hitting his groove and right now to be honest he is just about unhittable with a 95mph fastball and a slider that is just filthy. Then there is probably the number one reason why you don’t trade him and that is his contract which is quite possibly the most team friendly contract in baseball. In 2013 he will make 2.5m, then in 2014 he will make 3.75m, In 2015 he will make the same 3.75m, and finally the Twins have a team option at a robust 4.5m with a 300,000 buyout. So for you math wizzes out there he is guaranteed 10.3m the next 4 years, but more likely he will be paid 14.5m for the next four years. Compare that the other closer name that is brought up in trade discussions and that is Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon who is owed 52m over that same four year stretch if his option vests. I would have a hard time arguing that Papelbon is better Perkins straight up let alone the difference in salaries and I would much rather have Glen Perkins. You may ask with all these reasons why are we even having this discussion. For all the reasons why the Twins should not consider trading Perkins I have some compelling reasons why they should.
At this point you must think I am crazy for even considering trading Glen Perkins and my reason is simple Law of Averages. I firmly believe that every pitcher only has so many pitches in his arm before he is going to get hurt. Perkins is 30 years old and has not gotten hurt in a major way and the Twins have been very lucky. Next, value as Glen Perkins value will never ever be higher than it is right now. He is under contract for four years and is a likely all-star and the Twins will never get as much for him as they can right now. Twins fans are upset that the Twins did not trade Josh Willingham last winter and now they can’t trade him. Just think for a minute the Twins decide not to trade Perkins and in August he blows out his shoulder or elbow and the Twins will be stuck with nothing. Finally, what is the point of having a close down closer when the Twins are likely going to lose 90+ games again. The biggest reason I would trade Glen Perkins is what you could get for him. Buster Olney said if the Twins made Glen Perkins available he would be the number 1 trade chip on the market. With that in mind the Twins could get a haul for a team looking for a shutdown closer or a unhittable set-up man. We have heard the Tigers names mentioned and Reusse and Mackey brought up a package that would get me excited of super power outfielder Nick Castellanos and power closer Bruce Rondon for Perkins. I don’t know if you can get both for Perkins, but I would definitely see. You hear rumblings that the Rangers are letting teams know for the right package that super prospect Jurickson Profar could possibly be had. You have teams like the Red Sox, Tigers, Indians, Rangers, Pirates, Dodgers, Giants, and Rockies that have some interesting pieces that would look really good in a Twins uniform. I am not saying I would definitely trade Glen Perkins, but if you can squeeze some of those young players out of a team I would do it because to me seeing Nick Castellanos playing LF on a daily basis is more appealing than having a closer sit at the end of the bullpen waiting for chances that a young team likely can’t give him.
I asked a few baseball experts their opinions on if I am crazy about trading Perkins and here is what they said. Brandon Warne of 1500 Espn said, “No, I wouldn't trade Perkins. And while it's conventional wisdom that a shutdown closer is a luxury that should only be afforded to contending teams, it would be a PR mess to trade him. Not only has Perkins turned into one of the very best closers the Twins have ever had -- this year's 12.5 K/9 is second-best in team history -- but he's signed to an extremely affordable contract that should allow him to be a part of the next good Twins run, which should only be a couple years away.” That is an interesting take as I get what he is saying, but to me PR should have nothing to do this as I know he is a Minnesota guy and wants to be here, but sometimes you have to make tough decisions and this is one of those times you take the PR hit to make the future of the Twins brighter. I then asked the draft expert Jeremy Nygaard of Twins Daily and he said, “I wouldn’t unless the return was mind blowing.” I agree with Jeremy as Glen Perkins is the Twins biggest trade asset so they need to get this right so not trading him at all is better than trading him for a bad package. Finally, I asked Jim Crikket of Knuckleballs blog his perspective and he said,” Not many players I’d refuse to trade, but would take something pretty good to let Perkins go.” Pretty much everyone is in agreement that if the Twins are going to let Perkins go they need a huge return. That is where we differ though as I feel the longer they keep Perkins the better the chance of him getting hurt is. So at the end of the day if I am Terry Ryan and I get an offer that makes me say wow that sounds pretty good he needs to pull the trigger and worry about the fallout later. Let me know if you agree or disagree with me. You can leave me a comment on here or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading and have a great day.