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.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.