Although the Twins have not officially announced the deal, the team apparently has agreed to sign free agent Matt Capps (pending a physical) to a one year
$4.75 $4.5 million deal with an option for 2013 for $6 million with a $250,000 buyout. The Twins acquired Capps from the Washington Nationals in return for highly rated prospect catcher Wilson Ramos at the trade deadline in 2010 to solidify the closer role when Joe Nathan was out for the season with TJ surgery. Capps appeared in 27 games for the Twins in 2010 and posted a 2-0 record with 16 saves to go with his ERA of 2.00 and a 1.18 WHIP. Capps then started the 2011 season in the set-up role but when Joe Nathan struggled early on, Capps took over the closer role in mid April and had 15 saves before struggling in mid-July and giving the closer role back to Nathan. Capps finished the 2011 season with a 4.25 ERA and a 4-7 record with 15 saves. After the season ended both the Twins and Capps admitted that Capps was pitching with a sore forearm for a good part of the year. When Joe Nathan signed with Texas a week or so ago for 2 years for $14.5 million, the Twins needed a new closer.
A lot of people are going to hate this deal but I like it and I will tell you why. Matt Capps is only 28 and a proven closer who in the five seasons that he has been a closer has accumulated 123 career saves, that is 25 saves a season pitching for teams like the Pirates, Nationals and the Twins the last 1.5 years. If you take away his 5.80 ERA in 2009, Capps has posted ERA’s of 2.28 in 2007, 3.02, in 2008, and 2.47 in 2010. To you or me $4.75 million is a fortune but in the baseball closer world that is a good buy and I have no problem with it at all. I am not overly concerned about the $6 million for 2013 because it has a $250,000 buyout attached. The problem here is that most fans can’t get over the fact that the Twins gave up Wilson Ramos to get Capps but that is life and Twins fans and bloggers just need to move on.
With the Twins coming off a 99 loss season and questions about the health of Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer and others, the Twins and Terry Ryan were smart to get an experienced closer for so little money. Plus, they know what they have in Capps and the man is a straight shooter, someone who is not afraid to stand up and accept responsibility for his actions. I was as frustrated with Capps as the next fan when he pitched poorly in 2011 but after finding out about the injury helps me better understand that situation. In addition, I give bonus points to any Twins player that WANTS to play given what many Twins players showed in 2011.
As for the lost supplemental draft choice? So what, draft choices are just that and how many draft picks realistically make the big league team? If you are lucky, 2-3 picks out of each years draft make it. Let’s also say for the moment that the Twins don’t sign Cuddyer and Kubel, how many supplemental picks is too many? How many supplemental picks can the Twins afford to sign? There is only so much money for draft picks each season. I always say, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”.
So let’s check “closer” off the Twins needs list and move on to more pressing issues.
UPDATE December 7 – The Twins announced today that Capps has passed his physical and the deal is official.