One of the bright spots for the 2013 Minnesota Twins’ season, so far, has been the performance of their bullpen, specifically their closer Glen Perkins. With this being the first full season that Perkins has been the closer for the Twins, Perkins has performed like a stable and clutch veteran and the rest of the league certainly has taken notice. According to a Tweet sent by ESPN Baseball Expert Buster Olney, if the Twins were to make closer Glen Perkins available this July, prior to the trade deadline, a major bidding war would break out. Olney told 1500 ESPN that he’s spoken to several people who think Perkins would be the “No. 1 guy on the market”.
While that information certainly shouldn’t be shocking to Twins’ fans or baseball fans around the league, due to the low amount of impact closers available or impact relievers available for that matter, it should make fans wonder if it’s worth it to trade Perkins. In addition, it does also pose the question as to what the Twins could receive if they ever did decide to make Perkins available. Some of the teams that have been rumored to be interested in Perkins, or could have strong interest in Perkins based on their current bullpen situation, are Detroit, Toronto, Colorado or Pittsburgh. Those certainly aren’t the only teams likely interested in Perkins, but they are some of the first teams that come to mind, with Detroit being at the front of the list.
This year, Perkins is 1-0 with a 2.12 ERA, 20 saves, 41 strikeouts, a 0.84 WHIP and a 5.86 strikeout to walk ratio over 29.2 innings. The Twins currently sport a 35-40 record and with Perkins saving 20 out of those 35 wins, with only two blown saves, his value and consistency have demonstrated how important Perkins has been to the Twins and how attractive he has become to other teams. Perkins is currently making 2.5 million dollars with three years and 12 million dollars—the last season being a team option for 4.5 million dollars—left on his contract. That affordability, coupled with his value and performance out of the bullpen, is what makes him such an attractive and sought after commodity to many teams.
What could the Twins expect to get in a trade for Perkins? I would say it all depends on the team and their willingness to sacrifice future pieces for an emerging closer. If I were the Twins, I would demand two things: a player who is close to being ready to contribute in the majors or is young and already contributing in the majors and/or a top three prospect in the organization. Now the price may be a little steep and there could be other movable parts included in the deal, but the value that Perkins currently sports for the Twins and the value that he could have for the team as they return to contenders over the next few years is very high. It is rare that you find a young and affordable closer like the Twins currently have and in order to be a contender, you have to be strong in the backend of the bullpen; thus, trading Perkins is a complicated situation.
The question the Twins must now ask themselves is: is it worth sacrificing a current and future asset now in order to hopefully maximize his value and get future rebuilding pieces in return? I personally would say no, unless the deal includes a big-league ready youngster—who must develop into an impact player—and an organization’s top three prospect who would preferably be a pitcher. Even at that rate, I’d be hard-pressed to trade away a proven closer that may only get better over the next few years.
It certainly is a tough situation for the Twins to be in, but it is a situation of privilege and shows that’s the Twins do possess valuable players that may return them to contention once the prospects in their minors progress and are ready to contribute.