In 2008, we saw the foundation being built for the future of the Twins' rotation. Johan Santana and Carlos Silva had departed in the previous offseason, and young hurlers like Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey and Nick Blackburn were stepping up to pick up the slack while Francisco Liriano embarked upon his comeback from Tommy John surgery. One entrenched figure in that '08 group, though, has seen his stock drop dramatically to the point that he's now not much more than an afterthought.
After an impressive rookie campaign in 2008, Glen Perkins opened the '09 season with three consecutive eight-inning gems and appeared poised for an outstanding sophomore year. Then, the wheels came off. Perkins struggled over the next few months, battling injuries and posting a 7.34 ERA over his next 15 appearances (14 starts). When he was sent to Triple-A in August, Perkins and his agent cried foul, claiming that the demotion was a ploy to delay his arbitration clock and rob him of future earnings. The Twins, who certainly had legitimate reason to send Perkins down given his terrible performance, were clearly annoyed by the accusations. When the Twins assembled a vast array of past and present players late in the season for a ceremony to bid farewell to the Metrodome, Perkins did not attend. Many saw it as a foregone conclusion that the lefty, a Stillwater native and University of Minnesota alum who had seemed destined to play out his career as a Twin, would be dealt during the offseason.
Perkins wasn't dealt, perhaps due to a lack of demand, and he entered spring training this year ostensibly vying for the fifth spot in the Twins rotation. It's impossible to say whether or not the Twins truly viewed him as a candidate for that spot, but Perkins did himself no favors by performing poorly in Grapefruit League play before being sidelined by yet another injury, and he found himself in the minors to start the season. Things have continued to cascade for him there. After allowing two runs over three innings in his first start for Rochester, Perkins was pounded on Monday night, allowing seven runs (five earned) on seven hits over just 3 1/3 innings. Perkins' ERA with the Red Wings now sits at 9.95, and it's tough to imagine at this point that he'd be even third or fourth in line to be called upon should one of the Twins' current starters falter or suffer an injury.
The Twins have a tough call on their hand with Perkins. He seems to be languishing in this organization. Whether due to confidence problems, lingering injuries or some other combination of issues, the 12-game winner with the Twins in 2008 can no longer seem to get Triple-A hitters out. At age 27, Perkins' career may hang in the balance. With Blackburn's arm hurting and the Twins dealing with some injuries in the bullpen, the opportunity definitely exists for him to get back onto the major-league roster and resurrect his career. But first, he needs to get on track in Rochester. Despite all the bad blood that seems to now exist between him and the Twins organization, I'm really hoping Perkins gets another chance -- if not here, then elsewhere.