Perkins, Liriano get raises; Twins talking with Casilla

The Twins avoided arbitration with lefthanders Francisco Liriano and Glen Perkins and exchanged figures with infielder Alexi Casilla on Tuesday.

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Francisco Liriano, who went 9-10 with a 5.09 ERA last year, received a $1.2 million raise. He will make $5.5 million in 2012.

Photo: Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune

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The Twins avoided arbitration with lefthanders Francisco Liriano and Glen Perkins and exchanged figures with infielder Alexi Casilla on Tuesday.

Liriano, who made $4.3 million last season, will make $5.5 million in 2012. That's right, he gets a raise after going 9-10 with a 5.09 ERA in 2011. Of the three arbitration-eligible Twins this offseason, Liriano has the most to gain by having a bounceback season in 2012.

He threw a no-hitter May 3 in Chicago, but the rest of his season perplexed the Twins. In 134 1/3 innings, he gave up 125 hits and walked 75 batters.

Liriano, 28, was supposed to take it easy during the offseason but instead has spent the past two weeks pitching for Escogido during the Dominican Winter League playoffs. He gave up three runs in just two-thirds of an inning on Monday.

If he can pitch more like he did in 2010 -- when he was 14-10 with a 3.62 ERA -- his value would skyrocket.

"It's important to us because if we want to win some games we need to have him pitch more like 2010,'' said Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony, who negotiated the deals.

"The better the season he has the more attractive he is to us and to anyone else in case he ends up on the free agent market. It's a big year for him.''

Perkins, 28, will make $1.55 million in 2012. He thrived in a bullpen setup role last season, when he made $700,000, going 4-4, 2.48 with 65 strikeouts in 61 2/3 innings. According to www.fangraphs.com, Perkins' fastball averaged 94 miles per hour and his slider was 83.6 miles per hour, both career highs.

While speaking to fans at Holy Family school in Sauk Centre on Monday during the Twins' winter caravan tour, Perkins said he's already started a throwing program and pitched off a mound last week for the first time this year.

"You can't tell because of this jacket,'' he said, "but I've been working on my abs.''

Perkins will be relied on to help stabilize a bullpen that will have several open spots this season.

The Twins can still avoid arbitration with Casilla, but Tuesday was the deadline for teams to exchange arbitration figures with their own players. Casilla filed for $1.75 million while the Twins have offered $1.065 million.

The teams could settle at or near the midpoint, which is $1.407 million. Casilla, 27, made $865,000 last season while batting .260 over 97 games.

Casilla and the Twins should learn the date of their arbitration hearing sometime next week.

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