What does Detroit Tigers reliever Phil Coke make you think of every time he takes the mound and coughs up run after run? I know what I think of: Glen Perkins. Perkins is the fireballing left-handed closer for the Minnesota Twins.
To me, Perkins represents the ideal solution to the Tigers’ bullpen issues. So far in 2013 Perkins has posted 21 saves in 23 chances with a 1.82 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, and a sterling 47:7 K to walk ratio in just 34.2 innings of work.
As previously mentioned, I feel that the Tigers not only need a right-handed reliever ala Houston’s Jose Veras, but also a lefty that get big outs in crunch time. The 30-year old Perkins is the prize of the lefty relief class not only because he’s dominant, but also by way of his affordable contract.
He is signed through 2015 and will make just $3.75M in both ’14 and ’15 and also has an attractive club option in 2016.
A few hurdles to acquiring Perkins must be noted:
- He’s a member of the Twins, which means the Tigers would have to trade within the division, which is generally more difficult.
- He’ll require a decent sized package in return.
To point #1, we need not look back too far to see that this is more of a discussion point, rather than a roadblock. The Tigers brought Delmon Young in from these same Twins a few years back with little difficulty. Consider this a virtual non factor.
As to point #2, this is always the tough one. Relievers are a difficult commodity to evaluate. Relievers with long, team-friendly contracts are even tougher. Many fans will instantly think that top prospect Nick Castellanos would have to be a part of the package. I disagree.
Perhaps Andy Dirks or Avisail Garcia could headline such a trade. Or a more prospect-heavy package with guys like Daniel Fields and Eugenio Suarez could also be entertained. Detroit has the pieces to pull a trade like this, but will they?
As we sit here 13 days before the trade deadline you know that GM Dave Dombrowski has his sights set on a small pool of players that he feels will help the Tigers come playoff time. Perkins must be on this list.
Remember back to the playoffs a season ago when the Tigers barely needed more than 3 solid relievers because the starters were going so deep into games? This year it seems that Joaquin Benoit and Drew Smyly just need a little help from their friends to ease the bullpen concerns that have surrounded this team since March.
My gut tells me that Bruce Rondon is going to make a big impact in the 2nd half. Add in Veras and Perkins and suddenly the Tigers have one of the deepest bullpens in the business. Veras, at age 32, won’t cost a ton in return.
Perkins will be more pricy but he is also an investment in the future with over 3 years of team control left on his deal at a very favorable price. Not only that, but it lessens the urgency to have to re-up Benoit this coming offseason at a much more expensive rate than what Perkins earns. Let the aging Benoit walk, slide Perkins into the closer role, allowing Rondon to continue to mature at an easy pace, and now you’re solving multiple problems.
If the ability to acquire Perkins can be had without dealing Castellanos, then sign me up.
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