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  • Capps Redux?

    In recent days, the Twins have announced a few procedural moves that weren't especially surprising. Among them were the decisions to decline 2013 options for Scott Baker and Matt Capps, which would have paid $9.25 million and $6 million, respectively. With both hurlers coming off seasons severely affected by injuries, there was no incentive for the Twins to pay such a high price when they could easily negotiate a better deal in free agency.

    They have already begun trying to do so with Baker, who told reporters that his side has been talking with the club and that "we're not close, but we're definitely closer than when it started."

    There's been no such steam surrounding Capps, who unlike Baker actually pitched this year, although his health and effectiveness were issues for a second consecutive campaign. Even if they're not currently engaged with Capps and his agent, I wouldn't be surprised if at some point in the offseason the Twins opened a conversation to see what kind of deal could be struck. And, despite the justifiably negative connotations that surround the former closer here in Minnesota, that wouldn't necessarily be the worst idea in the world.

    Capps was overpaid in 2011, when he earned $7.15 million to post a 4.25 ERA over 65 2/3 innings, converting only 15 of 24 saves while misguidedly pitching through forearm pain. He took a pay cut this year, re-signing for $4.75 million, but again proved overpaid as shoulder problems limited him to less than 30 innings.

    After back-to-back disappointing seasons, Capps figures to land a reduced contract as a setup man during the offseason. And, on those terms, he's really not a terrible bet.

    It bears noting that when he was healthy this year, the right-hander pitched reasonably well, posting a 3.68 ERA while allowing only 28 hits and four walks in his 29 1/3 innings of work. This continued a career-long trend of limiting baserunners, as Capps has registered a 1.19 WHIP in his seven uneven seasons as a big-leaguer. Keeping mean off base has generally been a reliable skill for him, and is a good recipe for success even when you're not able to rack up many strikeouts.

    By no means is Capps a great pitcher, and after the last few seasons I'm sure most Twins fans would eagerly watch him walk off into the sunset never to return. Nevertheless, as a 29-year-old with his value as low as it's ever been, he could be a relative bargain if signed later in the offseason to a one-year deal, provided the Twins aren't tempted to pay him as or use him as a closer.
    This article was originally published in blog: Capps Redux? started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 26 Comments
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      I think if the Twins were interested in bringing back Matt Capps, they wouldn't have paid him $250,000 to go away.
    1. TRex's Avatar
      TRex -
      So what you are saying, John, is that you think the Twins will be unable to sign Capps for less than $5.75 million (his $6 million option minus the buyout)? Otherwise, buying out his option has nothing to do with whether you want him back or not.
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Quote Originally Posted by righty8383 View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by johnnydakota;60611[/QUOTE View Post
      harmon would be benched for not going the other way
      You had some good points going until this part. Please tell me you were grossly exaggerating just to make a point.
      yes i was pushing the truth , but look at the way he manages, would cal ripkens have been the new iron man?
      would ken griffey jr. made his major leaque debute before the age of 25?

      on another note ....r i p pascual perez , may god bless and keep your family safe

      god bless america go twins
    1. righty8383's Avatar
      righty8383 -
      No, Cal Ripken would not have been the iron man. But to say Griffey would not have made his debut before 25 is preposterous. Would he have debuted at 19? Maybe not, but like Mauer, he would have been up before he could legally drink.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      I think if the Twins were interested in bringing back Matt Capps, they wouldn't have paid him $250,000 to go away.
      I fail to see how that's relevant. There was no way they were going to pick up the option so buying it out was a necessity regardless of their interest. This wouldn't be the first time a team bought out a player's option and then re-signed him to a more reasonable deal just look at Jake Peavy.
    1. Fire Dan Gladden's Avatar
      Fire Dan Gladden -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Fire Dan Gladden View Post
      3) It would be an unmitigated PR disaster. Capps is the poster child for all of the poor decisions made in recent years by the Twins. Bringing him back would be a reminder of the loss of Ramos, the draft pick, and $13 mil for 12 blown saves.
      This shouldn't be a consideration, in my opinion. The Twins shouldn't let public perception of a potential move dictate whether they do it or not. If it's a good baseball decision, you make it happen. Certainly they should move on if he's looking for anything more than a couple million, but I'm not sure he'll be able to do so. He ranks pretty low on the list of free agent relievers and the Twins won't be all over him early driving up the price again.

      Also, saying a "middle-handed reliever is not needed right now" is awfully cavalier based on out-of-nowhere performances from a couple injury-prone guys in their late 20s. I like Burton and Fien as much as the next guy but it doesn't hurt to hedge your bets a little bit.
      Like it or not, PR is always a consideration. Are you telling me the Joe Mauer contract had nothing to do with PR? Signing Capps at this point is a lose-lose situation:
      Capps pitches poorly and the FO will get hammered by fans and the press, it will be considered another terrible move in a list of recent questionable decisions.
      Capps pitches well and everybody will be waiting for the shoe to drop. He could be perfect the entire year, and the fans would still be questioning. There is no reason to have this distraction on the team.

      And no, a right-handed middle reliever is not needed right now. We have Swarzak to fill that roll just fine. Could we use a reliever that we could trust in a high leverage situation? Yep. Would you put Capps in a high leverage situation? Nope. Not cavalier, just common sense. If the team does need somebody for that spot, guys like that are a dime a dozen without Capps baggage.
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