By La Velle
Lefthander Glen Perkins is believed to still be on the trade block. The Twins spoke with San Diego earlier in the offseason about a Perkins for Kevin Kouzmanoff swap, but the Padres wanted more.
To the Twins’ credit, they didn’t add more. Perkins and Kouzmanoff are similar players in that they are still looking for their breakthrough season. Suggestions that the Twins should have added Alexi Casilla to the deal are crazy.
But why is Perkins still with the Twins? He’s left-handed, talented and 26 years old. The Twins should be able to find infield help or a package that included a good backup center fielder.
There are people in the organization who feel that Perkins has to go. The coaching staff wasn’t happy with him when he didn’t say anything about his shoulder until after a rocky start at Oakland. He also got into it with the front office over service time while he recovered from shoulder tendinitis. He still didn’t recover enough service time to qualify for arbitration.
The offseason isn’t over, and something could happen before pitchers and catchers report in about five weeks. But each day Perkins isn’t dealt you have to wonder if he’ll end up coming to camp with the Twins.
Indications are that Perkins knows he’s got to mend some broken fences if he ends up in Fort Myers. He might start doing some of that during TwinsFest at the end of the month. The Twins, historically, have been able to forgive and forget in some cases. The question: Is this one of those cases?
The other layer to this is that lefthander Brian Duensing showed enough last year to have some with the club feel he’s ready to be the fifth starter. I’ve spoken with one person who feels Duensing is just as good, right now, as Jarrod Washburn, whom the Twins offered $5 million to.
And, while winter ball stats aren’t the end-all. Francisco Liriano has pitched well in the Domincan Republic this offseason. Liriano, in four postseason starts for Escogido, has tossed 22 scoreless innings on 11 hits with 2 walks and 24 strikeouts.
Perkins would fight with Duensing and Liriano for the final spot in the starting rotation, and one spot in the bullpen.
This will be an interesting case. Perkins could be dealt somewhere and take off. Or the Twins could give him another chance. After all, it’s hard to give up on a lefthander who will just turn 27 this year.