Twins ink Glen Perkins to three-year, $10.3 million extension

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Minnesota and reliever Glen Perkins have agreed to a three-year, $10.3 million contract extension that includes a team option for 2016.

Perkins, who avoided arbitration with a one-year, $1.55 million deal this season, was under team control via arbitration again for 2013 and then would have been a free agent.

By signing him the Twins pre-pay for that final arbitration season and buy out his first two seasons of free agency while giving themselves an option for his third free agent year. It’s a sizable commitment to a 29-year-old pitcher with a 4.41 career ERA and just one season of experience as a reliever, but Perkins added several miles per hour to his fastball in 2011 and logged 62 innings with a 2.48 ERA and 65/21 K/BB ratio.

He’s slated to be Minnesota’s setup man this season, but the extension makes it possible for the Twins to eventually slide Perkins into the closer role without worrying about how racking up saves would have caused his arbitration figure to rise dramatically. Instead he’ll be paid like a setup man through 2015 or 2016, although Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the extension does include incentives for games finished that would up his salary if he indeed becomes a closer.

Last week another left-handed setup man, Sean Marshall, agreed to a three-year extension with the Reds worth $16.5 million, but he has a longer track record of bullpen excellence than Perkins, was making twice as much in 2011 via arbitration, and was also one season closer to free agency.

UPDATE: Christensen has the year-by-year breakdown. Perkins gets $2.5 million in 2013, $3.75 million in both 2014 and 2015, and the 2016 option is $4.5 million or a $300,000 buyout.

Mike Moustakas sets Royals single-season record with 37th home run

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Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.

The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.

Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.

Chris Sale records his 300th strikeout this season

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Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.

Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.

Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.