• Matt Capps and his looming option year

    In last night's loss to the New York Yankees, Matt Capps made his return to the field after missing almost the entire second half of the season. It was the first action for Capps after not appearing in a game since the middle of July. The season has been injury plagued for the 29-year old relief pitcher and his time with the Twins has been full of plenty of ups-and-downs. Fans seem to hold a grudge against Capps for his poor play in the last couple of years but some of this hatred might be better aimed at the front office for the Twins. The past decisions with Capps have left fans scratching their heads and it's tough to know what the next move will be from the front office.
    Back in 2010 when the Twins traded catching prospect Wilson Ramos for relief pitcher Matt Capps, there was plenty of uproar across Twins Territory. It was tough to see the Twins giving up on one of their best positional prospects for what looked like a mediocre relief pitcher. Capps would be under team control through 2011 so the team wasn't giving up a prospect for a couple months of a relief pitcher. The deal was still tough to swallow and it doesn't help that Ramos has looked good for the Nationals even though he suffered a season-ending injury earlier this year. It could go down as one of the worst trades in team history and it is one of the many things fans hold against former general manager Bill Smith.

    During last offseason, the Twins had the opportunity to part ways with Mr. Capps because the veteran relief pitcher was heading to free agency for the first time in his career. If the Twins had let Capps sign with another team, the organization would have been given a draft pick as compensation for him leaving the team. Instead, the Twins thought it was more important to sign him to a contract for 2012 and the scariest thing is the fact the team has an option for next season. The option is for $6 million with a low buyout of $250,000 so it seems tough to think the Twins won't buy him out but the team has made some surprise decisions with Capps in the past.

    Would the Twins ever consider bring back Capps on a one-year deal for $6 million?

    Some fans might shiver at the thought of Capps being back in a Twins uniform next year especially with how good the bullpen has looked in 2012. Glen Perkins is set-up to be the closer for the next handful of years and the Twins signed him to a cheap deal during last offseason. Jared Burton has burst onto the scene as another very good arm out of the bullpen and he has shown the ability to get some big outs in late-inning situations. Looking to the offseason, the bullpen seems to be the least of the worries for the Twins and the $6 million option for Capps could be better spent on starting pitching or help in the middle infield.

    It's hard to imagine what role Capps would serve if he was brought back for another season in Minnesota. Perkins and Burton seem to have the last couple innings of games under control so this would shift Capps to a set-up role in the 7th inning or earlier. The Twins have gotten a look at plenty of other options to fill-up the bullpen for next season and players like Alex Burnett, Anthony Swarzak, and Casey Fien will all come with a smaller price tag than Capps. There doesn't seem to be a place for him on the 2013 Twins but that doesn't mean he won't be back in Minnesota.

    The front office has made some surprising decisions surrounding Capps in the past such as trading for him in the first place and resigning him when they had a free draft pick sitting in front of them. So even though it seems unlikely, there is always a chance the front office surprises fans again and brings Capps back for next year. When the team signed him last offseason, there were a lot of comments about his attitude and make-up being one of the reasons the team wanted him back in a Twins uniform. After back-to-back poor seasons, his attitude might not be enough to get another multi-million dollar deal in Minnesota.

    Then again, I have been surprised with their decisions surrounding Capps in the past...
    This article was originally published in blog: Matt Capps and his looming option year started by Cody Christie
    Comments 37 Comments
    1. twinswon1991's Avatar
      twinswon1991 -
      Sure glad Terry Ryan gave up a sandwich pick for this guy last offseason. Glad he put no thought into building his terrible minor league pitching staff. Ryan must be fired before the Twins waste all opportunity to cash in vets like Span, Morneau, ans Willy for some hard throwing boom or bust prospects. My guess is the clueless Ryan thinks it is better to lose 95 games with the old vets than to lose 100 with young guys building towards the future. The game has passed you by Mr. Ryan, do the right thing and step down.
    1. OldManWinter's Avatar
      OldManWinter -
      Prospects, even sandwich picks, are still a long way from ML baseball.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      There is just no way they bring him back. No way.
    1. old nurse's Avatar
      old nurse -
      Capps would have been a Type B free agent. That would have netted them the 58th pick. In the middle of the winter they would have expected a Pavano, Liriano and Baker combo to healthy and have 15-16 wins each the next year, being optimistic, and Blackburn to be .500. You do need a closer if the three pitchers returned healthy and in in 2009-2010 form. If you think your squad has a chance, then you need a closer, not a pen of questions. The end result was players stepped forward.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      I hated picking him up for another season instead of taking the pick but what is done is done.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Capps isn't the kind of "closer" that you "need." He's nothing more than a decent reliever, certainly not someone worth what you're paying plus a draft pick.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      I'm sorry, but does this topic(or question) really warrant a 5 paragraph article to whether or not the Twins will pick up Capps option?
      The obvious answer is: Hell no, and everybody already knows it was an awful trade/signing. I think people should focus more on QUALITY then Quantity of the "articles"
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      I'm sorry, but does this topic(or question) really warrant a 5 paragraph article to whether or not the Twins will pick up Capps option?
      The obvious answer is: Hell no, and everybody already knows it was an awful trade/signing. I think people should focus more on QUALITY then Quantity of the "articles"
      Well, Cody does have to find something to write about almost every day .... and unfortunately I never underestimate the ability of the Twins front office to astonish us.

      But I do think that Terry Ryan is too conservative (okay, I mean cheap) to pay Capps $6 million. But that doesn't mean I think there is 0% chance that Capps is back.

      There's also the possibility that the Twins decline the option but bring him back for less money. He seems to be one of Gardenhire & Ryan's "guys" in terms of personality. (Okay, I'm holding my stomach now).
    1. zenser's Avatar
      zenser -
      Maybe bring him back for 2 years. Someone needs to throw in the HR derby in 2014.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Capps is a good pitcher. I certainly wouldn't be opposed to taking the option. For me, the salary isn't a big issue unless it prohibits signing a free agent starting pitcher.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      I'm sorry, but does this topic(or question) really warrant a 5 paragraph article to whether or not the Twins will pick up Capps option?
      The obvious answer is: Hell no, and everybody already knows it was an awful trade/signing. I think people should focus more on QUALITY then Quantity of the "articles"

      It seems obvious to you and me, but the Twins have demonstrated twice now that they've got a love for Capps that goes beyond how he actually performs on the field.

      It was obvious to me that signing Capps again in the offseason was a mistake, but the Twins did it anyway.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by YourHouseIsMyHouse View Post
      Capps is a good pitcher. I certainly wouldn't be opposed to taking the option. For me, the salary isn't a big issue unless it prohibits signing a free agent starting pitcher.
      Even a healthy Capps is not worth the $6.25m difference between the option and the buyout. Pass.

      Scott Baker won't get that much in 2013. Who would you rather see paid that money?
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      You can better spend any of the money. No need to even pay a Capps $2 million. He may be worth that, but bullpen at any price above that, for the moment, is not a necessity. I would rather see the Twins go after, say, a Jon Rauch again if there was the need. But Starting pitching and middle infield are the two places you need to spend. Spend Pavano and Baker money on one pitcher, spend Capps and Casilla money (and Marquis) on another. There, that was easy...........

      Next year you can spend Toshi and Blackburn money on yet another pitcher or hitter......
    1. Craig in MN's Avatar
      Craig in MN -
      The Twins have gotten a look at plenty of other options to fill-up the bullpen for next season and players like Alex Burnett, Anthony Swarzak, and Casey Fien will all come with a smaller price tag than Capps. There doesn't seem to be a place for him on the 2013 Twins but that doesn't mean he won't be back in Minnesota.
      There are always players that come at a cheaper price tag than a veteran....that is only one factor. I'm not a Capps fan, and don't particularly ever want to see him pitch for the Twins again, but what it boils down to for me is that he's just a better pitcher Burnett or Swarzak. The Twins could fill out the bullpen with those other guys, but they'd have a better and deeper bullpen if they had Capps pitching in the 7th inning instead of Burnett. There's no way they should pick up his option, but there's no way any team is going offer Capps even $3 million next year. I'd offer him a $2 million deal with maybe an option/buyout for 2014 and tell him he can earn whatever bullpen job he can get in spring training. No other team will offer him any better than that, and the Twins will be better for having him around, and they should be able to afford the money.
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      My guess is that both Cappie and Pavano will be back; "They both battle and get after it. Go about their business the right way and provide veteran leadership" per Gardy after the signings!
    1. nick5253's Avatar
      nick5253 -
      Quote Originally Posted by old nurse View Post
      Capps would have been a Type B free agent. That would have netted them the 58th pick. In the middle of the winter they would have expected a Pavano, Liriano and Baker combo to healthy and have 15-16 wins each the next year, being optimistic, and Blackburn to be .500. You do need a closer if the three pitchers returned healthy and in in 2009-2010 form. If you think your squad has a chance, then you need a closer, not a pen of questions. The end result was players stepped forward.
      Your logic "If you think your squad has a chance, then you need a closer, not a pen of questions" is solid, but the choice of Capps was obviously incorrect. The Twins could have had a similar bullpen arm AND the pick.

      Here are the 'closers' signed in 2012, their salaries (mil), and finally their 2012 WAR (FG):

      1 YR Deals:
      Matt Capps, 6, -0.1
      Jonathan Broxton, 4, 1.3
      Ryan Madson, 6, 0
      Francisco Cordero, 4.5, -0.8
      Octavio Dotel, 3, 1.5
      Brad Lidge, 1, -0.2
      Jon Rauch, 3.5, 0.4
      Fernando Rodney, 1.75, 2.2
      Francisco Rodriguez, 8, 0.3

      Multi-YR Deals:
      Heath Bell, 6, 0.4
      Frank Francisco, 5.5, 0.1
      Joe Nathan, 7, 1.7
      Jonathan Papelbon, 11, 1.4

      The Twins weren't eveer going to go multi-year on a 'closer', so looking only at that first group, the Twins could have had better production from nearly all of that group AND received a draft pick AND paid less is nearly every case.

      This is why their logical was flawed for signing Capps.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Quote Originally Posted by nick5253 View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by old nurse View Post
      Capps would have been a Type B free agent. That would have netted them the 58th pick. In the middle of the winter they would have expected a Pavano, Liriano and Baker combo to healthy and have 15-16 wins each the next year, being optimistic, and Blackburn to be .500. You do need a closer if the three pitchers returned healthy and in in 2009-2010 form. If you think your squad has a chance, then you need a closer, not a pen of questions. The end result was players stepped forward.
      Your logic "If you think your squad has a chance, then you need a closer, not a pen of questions" is solid, but the choice of Capps was obviously incorrect. The Twins could have had a similar bullpen arm AND the pick.

      Here are the 'closers' signed in 2012, their salaries (mil), and finally their 2012 WAR (FG):

      1 YR Deals:
      Matt Capps, 6, -0.1
      Jonathan Broxton, 4, 1.3
      Ryan Madson, 6, 0
      Francisco Cordero, 4.5, -0.8
      Octavio Dotel, 3, 1.5
      Brad Lidge, 1, -0.2
      Jon Rauch, 3.5, 0.4
      Fernando Rodney, 1.75, 2.2
      Francisco Rodriguez, 8, 0.3

      Multi-YR Deals:
      Heath Bell, 6, 0.4
      Frank Francisco, 5.5, 0.1
      Joe Nathan, 7, 1.7
      Jonathan Papelbon, 11, 1.4

      The Twins weren't eveer going to go multi-year on a 'closer', so looking only at that first group, the Twins could have had better production from nearly all of that group AND received a draft pick AND paid less is nearly every case.

      This is why their logical was flawed for signing Capps.
      For what it's worth, in my 2012 blueprint I had wanted the Twins to sign both Broxton and Dotel for a combined $8 million . . .
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Quote Originally Posted by YourHouseIsMyHouse View Post
      Capps is a good pitcher. I certainly wouldn't be opposed to taking the option. For me, the salary isn't a big issue unless it prohibits signing a free agent starting pitcher.
      You could get two or three Capps for that money.


      Or maybe some middle infield help. Or starting pitching help. Or new carpet in the corporate offices.
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      1)i see you blame bill smith ,even though it is known that terry ryan was his advisior and made all of the transactions during smith tenoras g.m.
      2)guessing what terry(curly) ryan will do is never posible, as he seems to luv soft tossing pitchers, and last night crapps only could muster 89-90 mph
    1. old nurse's Avatar
      old nurse -
      Quote Originally Posted by nick5253 View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by old nurse View Post
      Capps would have been a Type B free agent. That would have netted them the 58th pick. In the middle of the winter they would have expected a Pavano, Liriano and Baker combo to healthy and have 15-16 wins each the next year, being optimistic, and Blackburn to be .500. You do need a closer if the three pitchers returned healthy and in in 2009-2010 form. If you think your squad has a chance, then you need a closer, not a pen of questions. The end result was players stepped forward.
      Your logic "If you think your squad has a chance, then you need a closer, not a pen of questions" is solid, but the choice of Capps was obviously incorrect. The Twins could have had a similar bullpen arm AND the pick.

      Here are the 'closers' signed in 2012, their salaries (mil), and finally their 2012 WAR (FG):

      1 YR Deals:
      Matt Capps, 6, -0.1
      Jonathan Broxton, 4, 1.3
      Ryan Madson, 6, 0
      Francisco Cordero, 4.5, -0.8
      Octavio Dotel, 3, 1.5
      Brad Lidge, 1, -0.2
      Jon Rauch, 3.5, 0.4
      Fernando Rodney, 1.75, 2.2
      Francisco Rodriguez, 8, 0.3

      Multi-YR Deals:
      Heath Bell, 6, 0.4
      Frank Francisco, 5.5, 0.1
      Joe Nathan, 7, 1.7
      Jonathan Papelbon, 11, 1.4

      The Twins weren't eveer going to go multi-year on a 'closer', so looking only at that first group, the Twins could have had better production from nearly all of that group AND received a draft pick AND paid less is nearly every case.

      This is why their logical was flawed for signing Capps.
      Those that signed a one year deal, what was their WAR the previous season? You would be basing your decision on what they have done and anticipate continuation. When used as a closer, what was Capps WAR when healthy? He wasn't this year.
©2014 TwinsCentric, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Interested in advertising with Twins Daily? Click here.