The Minnesota Twins, who made headlines at the Winter Meetings by trading outfielders Denard Span and Ben Revere to the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies, respectively, also made some noise by inking set-up man Jared Burton to a two-year extension. The deal includes a club option for a third season. Burton, who would have been a free agent at the end of the season, will receive $5.45 million between 2013 and 2014.
The 31-year-old right-hander played a starring role in the Twins' bullpen in 2012, setting up for closer Glen Perkins. Burton tossed 62 innings and allowed just 41 hits and 16 walks while striking out 55 batters. His improvement could be attributed to his major velocity increase. In 2010, Burton was averaging 89.91 mph on his fastball, but in 2012, he averaged 93.67. He has also expanded his pitch repertoire, adding a sinker to his four-seam fastball, slider and changeup. He used the sinker for 13 percent of his pitches.