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01/18/11 8:45 PM EST
Twins' Capps, Perkins sign one-year deals
By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com
FARGO, N.D. -- The Twins avoided two potential arbitration hearings by reaching one-year deals with relievers Matt Capps and Glen Perkins on Tuesday. But the club still has work to do in order to avoid an arbitration hearing with its three remaining arbitration-eligible players -- pitchers Francisco Liriano and Kevin Slowey, and outfielder Delmon Young -- since Minnesota couldn't come to an agreement on a deal with those three before contract figures were exchanged on Tuesday. Capps, who saved a total of 42 games last season for the Nationals and Twins, signed a contract worth $7.15 million. The figure is more than double the $3.5 million that Capps made last season after signing a one-year deal with the Nationals as a free agent. In his first year of arbitration eligibility, Perkins agreed to a deal worth $700,000. Twins general manager Bill Smith praised assistant GM Rob Antony for getting a number of deals done before the deadline for contract figures to be exchanged. "We've actually got five of the eight [arbitration-eligible players we had] done, because we had gotten Alexi Casilla, Jason Repko and Pat Neshek signed earlier," Smith said. "It's a process. Rob Antony has done all the hard work on this. He has the responsibility on this. It goes right down to the wire, and in this case, we've got three guys we couldn't get done in advance of the exchange, but we're pleased to have five of these guys signed." Although the Twins exchanged salary figures with Liriano, Slowey and Young on Tuesday, the club still hopes to complete a deal with each player before needing to go to an arbitration hearing. Liriano, who is in his second year of arbitration, is seeking $5 million, while the Twins have offered $3.6 million. Slowey is seeking $3.1 million through arbitration, while the Twins are offering $2.3 million. Young is seeking $6.25 million, while the Twins are offering $4.65 million. A date will be set for the players' arbitration hearings, which run from Feb. 1-21, and if the two sides don't work out a deal prior to the hearing, it will be up to a three-person panel to choose between the offers of the club or the player. The Twins haven't gone to an arbitration hearing with a player since going in 2005 and '06 with Kyle Lohse, and the goal is to avoid the process again this year. "We'll continue to work at it," said Smith. "This process isn't a statement of whether you like each other or not, it's just a matter of planning a fair number to determine the salary for the coming season. It's not a fun process to go through, but it's a necessary thing. And we'll go through the process and continue to negotiate, with the hopes of getting a decent deal that everybody is happy with." After being acquired by Minnesota on July 29 in a trade with Washington, Capps served as the Twins' closer in the second half and registered 16 saves down the stretch. A first-time All-Star in 2010, Capps posted a 2.47 ERA between the Nationals and Twins. With Joe Nathan expected to return after missing all of last season due to Tommy John surgery, the back end of the Twins' bullpen will be anchored by the presence of two proven closers. Perkins appeared in 13 games for the Twins last season. The southpaw went 1-1 with a 5.82 ERA in 2010, mostly working out of the 'pen.