Glen Perkins to undergo surgery, pens note to Twins fans

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Twins reliever Glen Perkins will undergo surgery on Thursday to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. He’ll miss the rest of the season, but he hopes to be back in time for spring training next year.

Perkins penned a note to Twins fans keeping them up to date on his mindset as he prepares for surgery and the rehab process. It was very honest and considerate:

Perkins wrote, “Am I disappointed that I can’t contribute to our team this year while getting paid a sh*t ton of money? Yes, it makes me sick. Getting paid for not doing anything to help was the thing I feared most when I signed my contract. I didn’t want to be the overpaid guy.”

Some people just aren’t comfortable receiving anything, whether it’s money or a place to live or gifts, if they don’t feel like they’re earning it. It goes back a long way, probably related to the whole Protestant work ethic thing. Athletes in particular receive this message often, not just from the higher-ups from their teams, but from the fans and the media. It’s toxic.

Perkins’ teammate, Joe Mauer, has been a lightning rod for criticism since he signed an eight-year, $184 million contract in March 2010. Mauer battled injuries and a decline in performance due to a concussion suffered in 2013. He admitted he has been dealing with blurred vision stemming from that concussion. That didn’t stop Bob Sansevere of the St. Paul Pioneer Press from accusing the former catcher of being brittle, sulking, and coddled. Mauer, now a first baseman, has had a resurgence this year, entering Wednesday night’s game batting .279/.378/.406, but he has still been the number one target for criticism among Twins fans and members of the media. It’s very likely Perkins is trying to avoid having to deal with angry fans and columnists questioning his level of effort for collecting a paycheck while injured.

While Perkins is not at all wrong to feel the way he does, it is dispiriting to see athletes feel badly about getting paid while injured. Team owners, the media (which often goes to bat for owners), and fans (who often inexplicably side with ownership) have created a culture in which this is fair game. Between 2011-15, Perkins racked up at least 57 innings and compiled an aggregate 2.84 ERA with 120 saves. He’s earning $6.3 million this season as well as $6.5 million next year before potentially hitting free agency. Last year, Major League Baseball had nearly $9.5 billion in revenues, as Maury Brown reported for Forbes this past December. With owners regularly bilking taxpayers out of more and more money to pay for unnecessary new stadiums, it’s incredible that a player earning $6.5 million could ever feel guilty of stealing money.

Earlier this month, Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall said he won’t “steal” money late in his career. He said, “Some players, they know they don’t got it anymore and their heart is not in it, and they still take the money. That’s taking advantage of your team.” He continued, “I get that it’s a business and get everything you want, but you’ve still got to hold yourself accountable and be accountable to your teammates. When I no longer have it, I’ll walk away.”

In baseball, players and teams agree to contracts — which are guaranteed, unlike the NFL — knowing that injuries are a possibility. It’s accounted for in negotiations. An oft-injured player who hits 40 home runs per season will command less money and fewer guaranteed years than a player who has been healthy while hitting 40 home runs a year. A player doesn’t owe his team, the media, or fans anything if he gets injured, and he should happily cash his paychecks for putting his body on the line on a daily basis.

Perkins’ sentiment is appreciated, but he owes it to current and future athletes to stand up for himself and get paid while injured.

Brown hired as general manager of Houston Astros

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HOUSTON — In joining the World Series champion Houston Astros, new general manager Dana Brown’s goal is to keep the team at the top of the league.

“I’m coming to a winning team and a big part of what I want to do is sustain the winning long term,” he said. “We want to continue to build, continue to sign good players, continue to develop players and continue the winning success.”

Brown was hired by the Astros on Thursday, replacing James Click, who was not given a new contract and parted ways with the Astros just days after they won the World Series.

Brown spent the last four seasons as the vice president of scouting for the Atlanta Braves.

“He is very analytic savvy,” Astros’ owner Jim Crane said. “He’s a great talent evaluator based upon what we’ve seen at the Braves, seasoned at player acquisitions, seasoned at player development and retention. They were often able to extend some of their player contracts… he’s got great people skills, excellent communicator and, last but not least, he’s a baseball player and knows baseball in and out and we were very impressed with that.”

The 55-year-old Brown becomes the only Black general manager in the majors and joins manager Dusty Baker to form just the second pairing of a Black manager and general manager in MLB history. The first was general manager Ken Williams and manager Jerry Manuel with the White Sox.

Brown said he interviewed for GM jobs with the Mets and Mariners in the past and that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told him to stay positive and that his time to be a general manager would come.

“It’s pretty special,” he said. “We understand that there are a lot of qualified African Americans in the game that know baseball and that could be a big part of an organization and leading organization in baseball operations. So at the end of the day, I think it’s good for our sport to have diversity and I’m really excited for this opportunity.”

Crane was asked about having the league’s only Black general manager.

“Certainly, we are very focused on diversity with the Astros,” he said. “It’s a plus, but the guy’s extremely qualified and he’ll do a great job. It’s nice to see a man like Dana get the job and he earned the job. He’s got the qualifications. He’s ready to go.”

Brown doesn’t have a lot of connections to the Astros, but does have some ties. He played baseball at Seton Hall with Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, who spent his entire career with the Astros and serves as special assistant to the general manager. He played against fellow Hall of Famer and special assistant to the general manager Jeff Bagwell in the Cape Cod league during a short minor league career.

Brown said he spoke to both of them before taking the job and also chatted with Baker, whom he’s know for some time.

“Dusty is old school, he cuts it straight and I like it,” Brown said. “And so that means I can cut it straight with him.”

Brown worked for the Blue Jays from 2010-18 as a special assistant to the general manager. From 2001-09 he worked as director of scouting for the Nationals/Expos. He began his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he spent eight years as their area scouting supervisor and East coast cross checker.

Click had served as Houston’s general manager since joining the team before the 2020 season from the Tampa Bay Rays.

Brown, who has been part of drafting a number of big-name players like Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman and last season’s National League rookie of the year Michael Harris, is ready to show Crane that bringing him to Houston was the right choice.

“Baseball is all I know, it’s my entire life,” he said. “So I want to empty myself into this city, the Astro fans and let Jim Crane know that he made a special pick.”