Pirates free agent target: Glen Perkins

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Glen Perkins
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Glen Perkins /
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Could a former All-Star that has had injury issues the past two seasons be a potential free agent target for the Pittsburgh Pirates this offseason?

On Wednesday, the Minnesota Twins announced that the would be declining the 2018 option of Glen Perkins. This made the left-handed reliever a free agent, as well as a pitcher the Pirates should pursue this offseason.

Prior to beginning to battle with injuries in 2016, Glen Perkins was one of the best left-handed relief pitchers in baseball. If healthy, there is no reason to believe the career Twin will not have a successful 2018 season.

A little Ray Searage magic could help Perkins bounce back from his injury-filled 2016 and 2017 seasons. The past two seasons Perkins has appeared in just ten games, pitching 7 2/3 innings. He allowed 13 hits, he walked six, and he struck out five in these 7 2/3 innings pitched.

Perkins began his career as a starting pitcher. Then in August of 2010 the Twins moved him to the bullpen and he has been a dominant reliever ever since.

Since moving to the bullpen Glen Perkins has pitched 338 innings. Perkins has allowed 312 hits, 33 home runs (0.88 HR/9), and he has generated a 39.9 percent groundball rate. He has walked 82 batters (2.18 BB/9), struck out 357 (9.51 K/9), and he owns a 3.12 ERA and a 3.10 FIP.

As currently constructed, the Pirate bullpen has three left-handed pitchers. The Bucs, of course, have arguably the best left-handed reliever in baseball in Felipe Rivero, but the other two are Jack Leathersich and Wade LeBlanc.

Leathersich was a September call-up for the Pirates and pitched well, but probably should not be counted on to be a big part of the bullpen in 2018. As for LeBlanc, the Pirates should decline his option making him a free agent.

Glen Perkins would give the Pirates a much needed left-handed option out of the bullpen. This is especially important in the National League Central that features left-handed sluggers such as Anthony Rizzo, Joey Votto, Kyle Schwarber, Matt Carpenter, and Travis Shaw.

On top of being able to be used against left-handed hitters, Perkins is more than capable of retiring right-handed hitters as well. In his career right-handed hitters own a .305 on-base percentage and an 18.8 percent strikeout rate against Perkins. Meanwhile, left-handed hitters own a .346 on-base percentage and a 21.1 percent strikeout rate.

Due to the injury issues Perkins has had the past two seasons, odds are, he will come at a relatively cheap price. He will also be likely to accept a one-year deal in an effort to rebuild his value. This should allow the Pirates to be able to afford Perkins. Plus, Pittsburgh has become a destination in recent seasons for pitchers like Perkins who are looking to rebuild their value.

Next: 2017 position breakdown: first base

One of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ biggest needs this offseason is a left-handed reliever. Free agent Glen Perkins would fit this role perfectly for the Pirates. Hopefully, when free agency starts Neal Huntington will get on the phone with Perkins’ agent.

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