FORT MYERS, Fla. – Glen Perkins is a closer, and a Minnesotan, and an All-Star. And Friday, he officially became something else, too: a bargain.
But if $22 million over four years is a Wal-Mart price for a Nieman & Marcus extravagance, the Twins’ closer didn’t sound disappointed by his new contract. Heck, it was his idea.
“I’ll take a $22 million discount [price] any day of the week,” Perkins said shortly after agreeing to a four-year contract that figures to keep him in the Twins’ bullpen through the 2017 season, at least. “That’s more money than I’ll ever need.”
It’s probably a few million less than he might have received a couple of winters from now, when his previous three-year deal was to expire and make him a free agent. But Perkins realized over the winter that he had no desire to play anywhere else, no interest in chasing every last dollar he could squeeze from somebody. And last week, the former Minnesota Gopher and 2004 first-round pick made the Twins an offer, rather than the other way around.
“It kind of caught me off guard a little bit. But I understand what he was talking about,” said assistant general manager Rob Antony, who met Thursday with Perkins’ agent, John Courtright, and finalized the deal Friday morning.
“He was reasonable with what they wanted to do and why they wanted to do it. It made some sense for us. When he signed his initial deal, it was as a setup guy with protection if he became the closer. This way, he gets treated like a closer, he gets some security and we get a deal that we’re very comfortable with.”
Perkins, who has saved 54 games in two seasons, is comfortable, too.
“All I wanted was to get in a room with them. I said, ‘I think they’ll be pleasantly surprised with what I’m asking for,’ ” said Perkins, who was due to earn $3.75 million this season and next. “I did some homework and came up with a plan, and we were able to work it out.”
They worked out a raise to $4.025 million this year and $4.65 in 2015, modest raises over his setup-man salary. Then they added two more seasons at $6.3 million and $6.5 million, and a $6.5 million option that the Twins can trigger for 2018 or pay him $700,000 to cancel it.
That’s a total of $22.175 million in guaranteed money, plus something even more valuable to the native of the tiny town of Lakeland in Washington County: Staying home.
“I want to be here. I grew up in Minnesota, and there’s nowhere else I’ve ever wanted to play,” the 31-year-old Perkins said. “And now hopefully I’ll get to play here my whole career.”
That’s the Twins’ plan, too, even though the below-market-value contract arguably makes him even more tradable, even though it contains a no-trade clause to only two teams, even though a ninth-inning specialist strikes some as a luxury on a 96-loss team.
“There have been trade rumors for years. We’ve been getting calls, but we haven’t really ever explored doing anything [about] him, to be honest,” Antony said.
“I don’t see any reason why we would entertain any trade thoughts. And second, we don’t plan to be a 96-loss team forever. We believe he’ll be part of turning this around.”
After seeing Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano in the clubhouse this spring, after watching free-agent acquisitions Phil Hughes and Ricky Nolasco pitch this month, Perkins agreed.
And his good fortune was his team’s, Mike Pelfrey said.
“He’s pretty unbelievable. I don’t think it’s going to be one of those contracts where they regret it,” the righthander said.
“It’s a bargain no matter what he signs for. He’s pretty dominant, by far one of the best closers in the game. He’s an All-Star.”
An all-star bargain.