Twins closer Glen Perkins has a broader view of the organization’s long rebuilding process while also experiencing it from within. He said there’s “more optimism now than at any time in the last three years” within the clubhouse, but he also knows the Twins have a long way to go. He chatted with the Star Tribune’s Michael Rand:
Q In 2011, 2012, 2013 you guys were treading water through 100 games, then everything fell apart. How important is it for that to not happen this year?
A It’s important because we’re going to start seeing younger guys. In the last few years, we’ve done the same thing where we’ve called guys up and it hasn’t led to success on the field. … Hopefully as we see some guys, and even the guys we have here, [Oswaldo] Arcia, [Eduardo] Escobar, getting [Ryan] Pressly up here for the bullpen, Danny Santana, for them to keep having success and becoming part of the core, that’s what we need to see. We saw that with Brian Dozier last year. … It’s not a fun situation to be in, but when I re-signed, I knew what I was getting into. … Our chances of making the playoffs are getting slimmer, and with us trading guys away, it gets slimmer.
Q Does the trade of Kendrys Morales change the clubhouse dynamic?
A It makes guys see that the front office has a plan, and it becomes less about where we’re headed this year and more about giving guys opportunities to play. This is going to let some other guys DH. I’m sure we’re going to see [Josmil] Pinto back — guys that need to get better and need to be here, deserve to be here and have earned their way.
Q You signed a long-term, fairly team-friendly deal that can go all the way through 2018. Within the framework of that, what was your goal?
A First and foremost, it was to stay home. … But you can make that money for 29 other teams. I realized the direction we were going, and I liked that. I was on board with it. It’s not as short-term as everyone wants, but it’s not as long-term as everyone is assuming.
Q You’re Glen Perkins, the GM. Would you trade Glen Perkins, the closer?
A No, I wouldn’t. I think you need core players. I know the argument is, “What’s a closer on a 90-loss team?” But teams can go from being not very good to very good fast. … And that’s one less thing when we’re competitive that they’re going to have to worry about. The last thing you want is a team that can score runs and has a good starting staff but a dumpster fire of a bullpen.
Q Does the urgency of winning pull at you more because your personal rise has coincided with the fall of the team?
A Probably the thing that made me most urgent was getting to pitch in the All-Star Game and seeing what the atmosphere was like for that. I remember sitting in the bullpen for Games 1 and 2 against Oakland in 2006, and Game 163 in Chicago in 2008. Then 2010 here, I didn’t have a chance to play but being a part of it. That makes me want to get back there more than the fact that I haven’t gotten to participate much in the playoffs. I know what it can be like. Like I said, I’m on a four-to-five-year plan here. The sooner we can get back, the better, but I’m confident that in my time here I’ll get to experience that. And that’s what I’m hanging onto.