The 2012 season was certainly a big disappointment for the Minnesota Twins, but one area that improved from 2011 was the bullpen. Collectively the Twins’ bullpen had a 3.77 ERA this past season after posting the worst bullpen ERA in the majors (4.51) in 2011.
One of the additions to the Minnesota bullpen that made a significant impact was Jared Burton, who was signed as a minor league free agent last offseason and earned an Opening Day roster spot during spring training. He had missed a large portion of the 2011 season after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder in April and had spent the majority of the 2010 season in the minors, so any positive contribution he could make the Twins would have certainly been happy with.
Burton set career-highs in appearances (64) and innings (62) with the Twins in 2012, along with a 2.18 ERA and 18 holds. He also had five saves during the middle portion of the season after closer Matt Capps was sidelined by shoulder issues, but ultimately moved into a late-inning setup role with Glen Perkins becoming Minnesota’s primary closer.
Burton is arbitration-eligible this winter, and will get a raise from the $750,000 he made this season. Still, the cost for the Twins to keep him for 2013 will not be great and he should be back barring something unforeseen. He did make over 50 appearances for the Cincinnati Reds in both 2008 and 2009, including a 5-1 record and 3.22 ERA over 54 appearances in 2008, so as long as the shoulder problems he had are behind him there’s no reason to think he won’t be an important piece of the Twins’ bullpen again next season.