The Twins' offense hasn't really showed up this far in Spring Training, but yesterday, Francisco Liriano had a great 3-inning start against Tampa Bay, striking out five and, most importantly, walking none. Additionally, the three innings took only 34 pitches to get through. Sure, many in Tampa Bay's lineup weren't major league hitters, but it's still encouraging and hopefully is a sign of things to come.
The big Twins news yesterday, of course, was that the Twins and left reliever Glen Perkins agreed to a 3-year, $10.3 million extension, which keeps him in a Twins uniform through 2015, with a team option for 2016. This should prove to be a great signing, I think. First, if last year (and this year, so far) has taught us anything, it's that you simply cannot completely destruct a bullpen and easily rebuild it from scratch -- there has to be some continuity, some returning veterans. This contract ensures a veteran bullpen presence for the foreseeable future. Second, the value of the contract is reasonable, especially if Perkins pitches at the same level he did most of 2011. Third, although the contract reportedly contains escalators if Perkins finishes games (takes over as closer), his base salary for 2014 and 2015 is only $3.75 million. In other words, even if you tack on, say, an extra $1 million if Perkins ends up assuming the closer's role in another couple years, $4.75 million for a (hopefully) effective closer is a bargain for the Twins. And even if Perkins just continues to be the late-inning, high-leverage situation guy for the Twins, which is, for now, where I think he's most valuable to the Twins, it's still a great contract. Now I look for Perkins to take that next step and really become a bullpen and clubhouse leader. Congratulations, Glen.
It was a busy week for the Twins, and also for Twins bloggers. Here are a few links that I enjoyed reading this past week.
First, respected Twins' veteran blogger Aaron Gleeman lost 150 pounds this year. Amazing. Congratulations, Aaron.!
Capital Babs from Knuckleballs is at Spring Training right now, and on her honeymoon. She has some good pictures and posts from attending the Twins' B-game, which really featured a lot of the A-lineup.
NoDak Twins Fan analyzes the scenarios under which the Twins could either keep Francisco Liriano through all of 2012, or trade him before the deadline. Personally, it's a lot easier for me to imagine the scenarios where we trade Liriano, than it is to imagine the scenarios where we keep him, especially as he nears free agency. Time will tell.
John J. Parent at Call to the Pen wrote a great season preview for the Twins. Spoiler alert -- he's concerned with the health of Mauer and Morneau. This is a very well done piece.
The Common Man reviews MLB 12 the Show, which is about the only video game series that I enjoy playing. I think I might save the $60 and not buy it this year, though, as I bet the Twins are pretty awful in it.
Last but not least, Minnesota's own Lindsay Guentzel was selected for the starting 9 in MLB's 2012 Fancave. Some of the other winners include Yankees and Braves fans, so things could get ugly fast. In all seriousness, though, this is a big deal, and hopefully will help Lindsay in her journalism career. Congratulations, Lindsay!