Published on December 8th, 2011 | by Thompson0
Matt Capps is Back…Deal With It
Despite my undying efforts, Matt Capps will be in a Twins uniform next season, but that’s not the biggest problem. Capps, who signed a one year deal worth $4.5 million in 2012 with a club option for $6 million in 2013, is still being considered for the closer role in 2012 despite struggling last season. The option includes a $250,000 buyout, so Capps is guaranteed to make $4.75 million.
I wouldn’t have gone higher than $3 million on Capps, and certainly wouldn’t have offered a club option. Latroy Hawkins signed a one year deal worth $3 million with the Angels and performed better than Capps last season. I also would have taken that supplemental draft pick at the end of the first round, but then again everyone knows I would rather have Wilson Ramos back. I’ve come to grips with the fact Ramos is gone forever now that Drew Butera has been replaced by Ryan Doumit, but I still have a problem with Capps.
Now, I know I’m not the only Twins fan that thinks Capps has a below-average, flat fastball that he constantly elevates, but we’ll have to quickly get over it, because like it or not, Capps is here to stay. This is the first deal of Terry Ryan’s that I really have a problem with, and he’s going to hear it from Twins fans until the season starts unless he inks Michael Cuddyer soon, but I really think Ryan could end up looking like a genius on this gamble. If Capps is healthy and returns to form he could end up being a bargain at $4.5 million. And if he does perform well, that $6 million option could look really good at the end of next season.
Capps was really good in 2010, which is why his performance last year was so disappointing, but he wasn’t awful statistically in 2011. His ERA rose from 2.47 to 4.25, but his WHIP actually decreased from 1.26 to 1.203, which tells me he can still limit walks and hits. He just had trouble avoiding the homerun last season, giving up 10. Now we’re hearing Capps was playing hurt as well, which could have certainly affected his mechanics and location. At minimum, even if he eats up 70 innings, that’s a load off Perkins and whoever else Ryan gets to piece together a bullpen now that Hawkins is off the market.
Piecing together a bullpen is going to pose the biggest challenge for Ryan. With Glen Perkins the only sure-thing as setup man, Ryan will have to work some magic to find guys to pitch the sixth, seventh, and ninth innings because the Twins starters seldom pitch through the sixth. Capps could fill one of those innings and hopefully, Jose Mijares will return to form and at least get lefties out again, but Ryan will now have to investigate a trade for a closer. There’s also been talk of acquiring a starter and moving Brian Duensing to the bullpen. Any talk of Liriano being moved to the bullpen is simply ridiculous. I’d like to see the Twins make a move for Hisashi Iwakuma and move Duensing to the pen to tag team long relief with Anthony Swarzak. That would give the bullpen plenty of depth (except at closer, of course) and provide a boost to the starting rotation.
Ryan has a long road ahead of him, and the one piece of advice I would give him as a 7-time World Series Champion on MLB: The Show…sign Michael Cuddyer. You may end up paying more than you’d like, but his return will help Twins fans forget about this little deal you made with Capps.