Glen Perkins Extension Analysis


Minnesota Twins set-up man Glen Perkins is under contract for the 2012 season and will be paid $1.55 million, but the Twins have decided to hand him a three-year extension from 2013-2015. He will receive $10.3 million during those seasons, and some are skeptical that the 29-year-old lefty is worth that much money.

Glen Perkins was worth 1.7 WAR last season in a career year for the reliever after being worth a career-low -0.1 WAR in 2010. He is projected as a 0.7 WAR reliever next season, which means that his overall value is at $3.2 million for next year. However, the extension doesn’t kick in until 2013. He should still be worth around that much in 2013, so 0.7 WAR is a fair projection for that season.

The expectation of Glen Perkins in this contract is $3.4 million per year, but the problem is that his starting year projection is under his overall per year extension. He’s likely only going to get worse after the age of 30, and Perkins is going to be 32 in the last year of this contract.

Things look worse for Perkins when looking at his numbers last season, because they were unusually good and can only be viewed as anomalies. He has never struck out a high amount of batters before, yet the man with a career average K/9 of under 6 struck out over nine batters per nine innings last season. Perkins had an unlucky .323 BABIP, but his 4.3 HR/FB% was far more lucky than his BABIP was unlucky.

One of the reasons for Perkins’s success last season is legitimate, because he traded some fastballs for more sliders and greatly improved his slider’s ability. His fastball velocity is back up, which means that his improvement isn’t completely due to luck. In fact, a new strikeout pitch is the reason for his improvement. However, the Twins are giving a multi-year deal to an older long reliever based on one improved season.

Looking at the plate discipline statistics, there is even more evidence to suggest that Glen Perkins isn’t simply getting lucky. He has been getting more batters to chase with each season, and his O-Swing% ballooned to a total of 37.8% last season. Perkins also gave up less contact than usual and brought his SwStr% over 10% for the first time in his career.

The improvements are legit, but Perkins is still just a 0.5 WAR reliever who doesn’t deserve $10 million over three years. It’s always risky giving a reliever at or above the age of 30 a three-year extension, but that’s exactly what the Twins are doing. It isn’t as bad as the horrible contract given to Matt Capps, and Perkins can and should close over Capps at some point. However, that is unlikely at this point given the Twins love of Capps. Perkins is a solid, high-leverage reliever, but he doesn’t deserve to be paid like a 0.8 WAR player per year. He won’t be worth 2.4 WAR over the duration of this contract and will most likely be worth under 2 WAR from 2013-2015. Most extensions help teams- nearly all of them, in fact- but this was one of those rare, poor extensions given to a solid reliever who is getting too much. You should never overpay for a reliever who is already on your team, but that’s exactly what the Twins are doing. Glen Perkins is a good reliever, but he doesn’t deserve $10 million.

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