COMMENTARY | There was a time in Glen Perkins' career where the Twins thought that it would be best for him to move on.
After a failed two-year stint in the team's rotation, Perkins was furious at the team for keeping him in the minor leagues after he had recovered from an injury during the 2009 and thus preventing him from "Super Two" arbitration status which would give him a hefty payday at the end of that season.
Perkins would file a grievance with the Major League Baseball Player's Association, but eventually pulled it after reaching a settlement.
However, if he wanted to continue to pitch for the team he grew up cheering for, the Stillwater, Minn. native would have to go to the bullpen heading into the 2010 season and prove his worth.
It proved to be the decision that rejuvenated his career as Perkins has gone from dead pitcher walking to All-Star candidate in his first season as the Twins' closer after two successful years as the team's set-up man.
After the Twins 5-3 loss to the Miami Marlins on June 26, Perkins has converted 19-of-21 save opportunities with a career-low 2.20 earned run average and 0.80 WHIP.
Among American League closers, he ranks fifth in saves, sixth in ERA, and second in WHIP. That makes him a legitimate candidate to go to Queens next month.
It will be a fierce competition for Perkins to find his way on the roster as there are plenty of quality candidates that can fill Jim Leyland's bullpen on July 16.
Dating back to 2007, the AL All-Star roster has consisted of five bullpen pitchers in five times during that span. That includes Leyland's last appearance as the AL manager in the 2007 MLB All-Star game.
Addison Reed of the Chicago White Sox could be in the same situation as his team doesn't appear to have anyone else worthy of a selection. (Such a move would fulfill a requirement that every team must be represented in the game.)
With those four written in, there's one more spot that Perkins can compete for along with Oakland's Grant Balfour (18/18 in saves, 2.03 ERA, 1.13 WHIP) and Toronto's Casey Janssen (17/18 in saves, 2.10 ERA, 0.70 WHIP).
Out of those three, Balfour has an edge in playing for a first-place team, but Janssen has the best stats of the group. What it could come down to, however, is the number of saves, which puts Perkins at the top of the list.
With a week to go until rosters are announced on July 6, all three have a chance to pad their resumes to become the final closer on the AL roster. The only thing fans will know until then is their glad they aren't Leyland, who has to make this decision.
If Perkins can add a few more saves in the next couple of weeks, he could be the choice. Such an accomplishment would be a great story for a player who had his toes on the clubhouse threshold just four seasons ago.
Chris Schad is a lifelong Twins follower that has spent a majority of his life cheering the Twins on through the dark '90s and success of five American League Central championships in the 2000s. His work has also been published on Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @crishad.
- Sports & Recreation
- Glen Perkins
- Major League Baseball
- Jim Leyland