Two Out of Three So Far

As the deadline for submitting expectations and offers approached Tuesday, the Twins settled two slots in the pitching ranks by signing one-year deals with Glen Perkins ($1.55 million) and Francisco Liriano ($5.5 million).

That leaves just one arbitration possibility in Alexi Casilla. The Twins and Casilla’s agent exchanged numbers ($1.065 million vs. $1.75 million) and we now wait to see if they can meet somewhere in the middle before a hearing.

It is not surprising that the Twins have come to these agreements. Perkins is a bargain at that rate if he pitches as well as he did last year, and at this point there is no reason to believe he won’t. If he continues to pitch with the confidence and velocity he did last year, he will again get a few opportunities to pick up a few saves while serving mostly as a setup man. We might even see him take over the closer role if Matt Capps falters, although the reported pending agreement with Joel Zumaya would add a real flame thrower to the mix presuming he is able to recover from his injuries. How ever it works out, Perkins is a good signing.

Liriano is a risky investment at that price, but one the Twins had little choice in accepting. This is the final year for him before he becomes eligible to be a free agent and after the bad year, in spite of throwing a no-hitter in 2011, his value is down, so trading him was not going to bring what the Twins would need in replacement. Likewise, releasing him to save money would have almost certainly meant losing him to another team that would be more than willing to take a chance that he would rebound to be the dominant ace he was projected to be in 2006. We are left to hope that return to excellence comes for the Twins.

I must say that Liriano is an example of how the arbitration system is less than optimally structured. If it worked the way it should, he would not get a raise and might even be looking at a cut due to poor overall performance. Instead he gets a raise larger than Perkins’. With a new collective bargaining agreement just approved, the system is not going to change anytime soon, so we will just have to live with it even if it doesn’t make much sense.

I look for Casilla and the Twins to settle at around $1.3 million or so before any hearing is commenced. They are not far enough apart to risk all the potential ill will that comes from taking it all the way to an arbitrator’s decision.


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