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.