Twins Interested In Matt Capps

The Twins have interest in Nationals closer Matt Capps, reports ESPN's Tim Kurkjian.  Kurkjian finds a deal unlikely -  he feels that the Nats would want catching prospect Wilson Ramos in return, and the Twins would be unwilling to make that deal.  I wouldn't blame them - they may be aiming to replace Jon Rauch, but Capps is not a shutdown stopper either.  In their search for another late-inning arm, the Twins have also been linked to Scott Downs of the Blue Jays.

Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told MLB.com's Bill Ladson recently that he is not looking to trade Capps, Josh Willingham, or Adam Dunn, but he does receive a lot of calls on them.  Rizzo said he'd make a deal "if there was an opportunity to improve and impact the ballclub."  Two days ago ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted the sentiment of rival executives: Capps stands a good chance of being traded, even though he is under team control for 2011.

The Nationals have a quality catching prospect at High A ball in Derek Norris.  25-year-old Jesus Flores is promising as well, but he has yet to make his 2010 debut as he tries to recover from shoulder and elbow surgeries.  Ramos would be a welcome addition, as a team can never have too much catching depth.


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56 Comments on "Twins Interested In Matt Capps"


Potrzeba
5 years 1 month ago

We’ll trade you papelbon.

Nicolas_C
5 years 1 month ago

The Nats are asking for Wilson Ramos? Are they out of their minds? I couldn’t see them getting anything near a top 100. Since April his ERA isn’t extremely impressive (though he’s having a good July).

DMCj
5 years 1 month ago

What if we threw in Cristian Guzman?

[Man – I kill myself sometimes.]

Nicolas_C
5 years 1 month ago

I think it would still take a little more, I’m thinking along the lines of Jason Marquis.

DMCj
5 years 1 month ago

Do we have to send both arms?

BWOzar
5 years 1 month ago

I think the Twins should only make that deal if the Nats include Adam Kennedy and Pudge Rodriguez…

DMCj
5 years 1 month ago

Stop it. Now you’re just teasing me.

$1529282
5 years 1 month ago

Considering they’re asking for Gordon Beckham to rent Dunn for a couple of months, this should be no surprise.

I’m surprised the Twins are interested at all though. Capps is going to make quite a bit in arbitration and Joe Nathan will be back from Tommy John next year. He doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and he’s hardly been a shutdown closer or anything.

They’ve called up Slama… he’s struggled through his first three outings, but I’d rather just see him get the chance to be Rauch’s replacement, if anything. There’s really no good ninth-inning arms available, and even if there were, they’re going to cost more than a closer should, because baseball as a whole still has some misplaced value on saves. It’s a stupid stat in the first place, but teams will always overpay for it. Fernando Rodney, anyone?

Nicolas_C
5 years 1 month ago

Yea, you’re right. It seems that the Nats are content to stay put, and will only make a move if they’re overwhelmed. But then again, Rizzo might just be bluffing and will significantly lower his asking price as the deadline draws nearer. Anyone that trades for Capps will likely overpay just for the overrated save total, as your mentioned. If I was a GM I probably would never be able to trade for a closer unless his stock is very low due to inefficiency in save spots, simply because teams ask for too much.

TwinsVet
5 years 1 month ago

I hope Smith responded to Rizzo with McAuliffe’s line: “Nuts.”

Guest
5 years 1 month ago

Downs for Ramos, who balks?

BWOzar
5 years 1 month ago

Twins would never make that deal – you don’t trade a top 50 prospect, especially at a premium position like catcher, for 2 months of a very good but not exceptional relief pitcher who has been a bit on the lucky side this year (his FIP and xFIP both suggest he should have an ERA over 3).

$1529282
5 years 1 month ago

Twins.

Top 100 MLB prospect that’s good both offensively and defensively behind the plate… you can get more than a rental of a reliever for that.

Besides, the Jays have Arencibia absolutely demolishing the minor leagues. They’d have a different asking price than Ramos anyway.

DMCj
5 years 1 month ago

My guess is Rizzo started with Ramos in order to see what else he could get if and when a counter-offer came … I know I’ve been vocal in other threads about the Nats not trading Adam Dunn, but as a fan of the team I hope they trade Capps – both for his sake (after years on the Pirates and just half a year on the Nats he deserves a chance to play in meaningful games) and in order to save the team the money it will take to keep him, since we have a closer-in-waiting, you know, in waiting.I’ll be in Minneapolis for a wedding this weekend and have tickets to the Sunday game – really hope I get to see Matt Capps in a Twins uniform.

$1529282
5 years 1 month ago

Hope you’re wrong about Capps being in Twins uniform, but enjoy the game… Target Field is fantastic.

whitesoxfan424
5 years 1 month ago

I’ve heard nothing but great things about the new field, from all fans alike. I really want to take a trip to see it myself.

DMCj
5 years 1 month ago

Thanks – it’ll be #27 out of 30 active parks I’ve visited … I actually get to the Twin Cities fairly often so I’ve been over there doing the knot-hole gang thing a lot during construction. Can’t wait.

Plus, it’s Bat Day!

WolandJR
5 years 1 month ago

I like this move for both teams – though it is unlikely that Rizzo get the return he initially asks for, his m.o. is the ask for the moon and work his way down (see his deals for R. Belliard, and N. Johnson last year). Sell high on Capps and see what kind of return you can get. Anyway you cut it, Capps gets results and is highly motivated after being non-tendered by the Pirates.

Guest
5 years 1 month ago

ya but Downs would be more than a simple rental, he’d either bring back 2 high draft picks after the year or he’d be back for at least next year too if he accepted arbitration.

BWOzar
5 years 1 month ago

Always a big gamble to offer arbitration to a relief pitcher. After what’s happened to guys Juan Cruz, relievers are more inclined to accept. Is Downs really a $5 million a year player? Because he’d probably get a bit over $5 mil in arbitration… If you’re a mid-budget team like the Twins that’s a lot of money to invest in a pitcher who will be 35 next years and has a career FIP over 4.

Guest
5 years 1 month ago

Using Downs’ career FIP as an indicator of his skill as a reliever shows no knowledge of Downs’ career path.

$1529282
5 years 1 month ago

Regardless of what stats you’re looking at, it’s just too much of a gamble for the Twins to offer Downs arbitration. They’re going to have no second baseman, Mauer’s salary is going to double, Nathan’s full contract is back on the books, and they’ll probably look at possibly adding a starter as well, with Pavano being a free agent (though I could see him exploring a two-year deal or so with the Twins following this season).

$5MM for Downs doesn’t make any sense. We’ve got relievers coming off the books, and very capable replacements such as Anthony Slama and Kyle Waldrop to replace them. The bullpen is an area where we can save substantial money this offseason. I can’t see them risking having a $5MM reliever.

Mauerneau
5 years 1 month ago

Very Insightful post, I agree all around. The bullpen isn’t what concerns me about this year. I know Rauch has been struggling and he’s not the guy you want to be closing out games in October, but Crain has been pitching well (what did i just say?), Slama should figure things out, Guerrier has gotten a break from throwing every single night, we still have Perkins, Manship, and Waldrop in the minors who could come up and contribute.. Is Matt Capps going to give us a substantial upgrade over what we have now? I don’t think so, and I’m not willing to bet any sort of promising prospects on it.

BWOzar
5 years 1 month ago

You don’t evaluate a player, especially a reliever, in the short term. I grant he’s been a significantly better player over the course of the last 4 seasons, no question about it. But there’s no way a reliever, who in his very best year was worth 1.3 WAR, is worthy of a top 50 prospect at a premium position. Additionally, he’ll be 35 next year, so they’re not particularly likely to offer him arbitration (MorneauVP has wisely pointed out the team’s other needs).

$1529282
5 years 1 month ago

Given the Twins’ needs following this season, I doubt they’d even want Downs hanging around for ~$5MM. He’s also the type of guy who’s cheap enough for a larger-market team (Boston, perhaps) to sign after already signing another Type A, and you could end up with a supplemental and a second-rounder only instead.

The draft pick allure won’t be enough to bring in Ramos, especially when it’s no sure thing. And again, Jays have Arencibia. I’m sure they’d be more interested in a different type of prospect.

BWOzar
5 years 1 month ago

How about David Bromberg, a likely back of the rotation starter, and Joe Benson, a good power and speed, bad plate coverage OF (105 Ks in 344 ABs this year), for Matt Capps…?

$1529282
5 years 1 month ago

I think giving up anything useful for Capps is a mistake, given his salary will jump to probably $6MM-$7MM next season and the Twins will have Nathan coming back.

Twins are high on Bromberg and Benson both, and if nothing else could probably include them in a deal for something better than Matt Capps.

I personally just don’t consider him to be worth much of anything in a trade. He’s pitching over his head a little bit right now, and when it’s all said and done he’s going to be worth about 1 win in the NL. At the $3.5MM he’s making this season, that’s not a bad deal, but I highly doubt he’ll be worth the raise he’ll get in arbitration, especially with a switch to the American League.

BWOzar
5 years 1 month ago

Has any team ever been ‘low’ on a prospect? Of course they’re ‘high’ on them.Neither prospect is Top 100 (or particularly closer to it), Baseball Prospectus ranks them as 3 star prospects. I suggest those two because Bromberg is a righty who sits between 88-91 and doesn’t have any ‘plus’ secondary offerings – he’s far more useful pitchers in the NL than the AL and I question if he’d ever be more than a 6th or 7th starter for the Twins. He’s also fat and has some conditioning issues which hurt his long term outlook. Benson has a number of health issues and his flawed swing makes him a pretty sizable gamble to be a successful MLB OF – he has great physical tools, but the swing is an enormous issue. Seems a reasonable return for a good, not great, reliever.In Capps defense he’s a 3.56 FIP/3.57 xFIP guy this year, and a full win over replacement type player at that rate. His salary will likely be, if I understand arbitration procedures correctly, a lot closer to 5 million next year than 7 – Rafael Soriano got 7 mil last year and Capps should not be in line for as much. The marginal value of that win next year is much greater to the Twins when they’ll likely be in a tight race with the Sox and Tigers for the postseason. Not to mention his value over the next two months or so.

$1529282
5 years 1 month ago

Fair enough on the first comment, but I think they view Bromberg in a much higher regard than that. In regards to him being “fat,” he’s 6’5″ and 240… a bigger kid but we’re hardly talking David Wells here. If the Twins have a real problem with his weight, they’ll likely get him to cut it down (i.e. Boof Bonser, Delmon Young… though Jose Mijares is admittedly a lost cause).

Soriano isn’t the best comparison because he accepted arbitration after he was eligible for free agency. If you do want to use him though, look at his jump from 2008 ($2.65MM) to 2009 ($6.35MM). Capps could finish as one of the MLB leaders in Saves, and he’ll throw a good amount of innings for a closer. He’s also already leading the NL in games finished. Those stats are basic, but those are the stats that will make a big difference in arbitration, sadly.

I’d be very surprised if Capps isn’t paid somewhere around $6-7MM next season. Anything less than $5.5MM would shock me, but my guess is probably $6.25MM.

BWOzar
5 years 1 month ago

I base my comments on his fitness mainly from Goldstein’s comments on him at BP (“He’s beefy to the point of being soft, and conditioning is a long-term concern.”). You’re completely right about Soriano – bad comparison.

And if they’re really unhappy with Capps’ arbitration payday they could always move him (ala Soriano) or cut him during Spring Training (leaving them on the hook for only 30 days worth of his salary).

$1529282
5 years 1 month ago

And just for the heck of it, let’s say he does only earn $5MM. That’s still $16.5MM between two relievers (Nathan and Capps)… hardly seems worth it to me. If Downs doesn’t make sense for $5MM as a setup guy in Minnesota (which he certainly doesn’t), neither does Capps.

BWOzar
5 years 1 month ago

That’s a fair point – I’m more comfortable with Capps because he doesn’t turn 27 until September and could legitimately improve next year, whereas Downs is in his age 34 season and will necessarily decline.

DMCj
5 years 1 month ago

I know nothing about Bromberg other than what’s written here, but the Nats are neck-deep in back-of-the-rotation starters. Here’s hoping Rizzo understands what Jim Bowden never did – that the word “good” is a very important part of “you can never have enough good pitching”.Don’t know if anyone else here ever played APBA, but you can’t turn four 5s into a 20.

BWOzar
5 years 1 month ago

Bromberg is, according to Baseball Prospectus, the Twins’ #7 prospect and #9 according to Baseball America. Benson ranks as #10 for BP. That’s a legitimate haul for a pitcher like Capps – we’re talking about a solid relief pitcher who was non-tendered by a terrible (though stupid) team last year. You’re not going to get a Ramos or Hicks (or comparable prospects from other teams) for a guy like Capps, nor should you. In defense of Bromberg, he’s a better potential #4 starter than anything the Nats have in the pipeline right now. He’s a significantly better prospect than Paul Demny or Brad Meyers – the two best Nats SP prospects coming into this season. You have Strasburg and Zimmermann, obviously, and you can hope for the best from Detwiler, Lannan and Olsen – but the Nats need pitching very very badly. And a solid starting pitching to slot in behind Zimmermann would have immense value to the team.

DMCj
5 years 1 month ago

And now I know a little more – thanks (seriously!) for the details I was too lazy to hunt down myself. Honestly, I’d be happy with anything they got for Capps.

And don’t forget the ageless iLivan! – #5 in the rotation, #1 in our hearts!

Guest
5 years 1 month ago

Downs spent 2 or 3 years as a horrible starter, hard to point to his career FIP and judge him on that.

Guest
5 years 1 month ago

Bromberg and Benson look fairly intriguing, any Twins fans want to comment on their potential upside?

BWOzar
5 years 1 month ago

I’m not a Twins fan but if you look in my conversations with MorneauVP and DMCj a few posts above this I talked a lot about the scouting reports and potential of both players.

Guest
5 years 1 month ago

ah awesome..sorry i didn’t mean to limit a response to ‘twins fans’ haha

Shoeless_Joe
5 years 1 month ago

I don’t get the Ramos love personally. At least the Twins fans like seem to like him, so I guess you guys can keep him.

I would think if they deal for any of the Blue Jays relievers (Downs, Greg, Frasor) it would be for one their toolsy outfielders like Hicks, Revere or Morales. Of course Hicks is the goal, but unlikely and Revere seems like a good target.

Mauerneau
5 years 1 month ago

“Twins fans like seem to like him”

So does Baseball America… 58th overall prospect.

If they wouldn’t give up a top outfield prospect for Cliff Lee, I don’t believe they will be giving one up for Scott Downs.

Soxman17
5 years 1 month ago

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. Ramos is overvalued by the Twins, if not only due to the fact that he has NO SPOT on the major league roster with Joe Mauer on the team. Anywhere. Therefore, teams know that he must be a trade chip. This brings down his value. This same conversation went back and forth when Twins fans were shocked that Seattle didn’t JUMP at the Twins outrageous offer of Ramos and Hicks.

Mauerneau
5 years 1 month ago

Regardless, you don’t give away a top 100 prospect for a mediocre reliever…

Mauerneau
5 years 1 month ago

Ramos for Capps??????????? You’ve. got. to. be. kidding.

DMCj
5 years 1 month ago

We’ve sweetened the deal in the comments … we’ll throw in Pudge Rodriguez, Adam Kennedy, Cristian Guzman, Jason Marquis (and at least one of his arms), and an autographed box score from Strasburg’s 14-strikeout debut.

We’ll even include free shipping. Do you want fries with that?

Mauerneau
5 years 1 month ago

hahahah good stuff

dopefein
5 years 1 month ago

This is one of the more unusual Twins teams in my recent memory (perhaps not yours). As a WS fan, I have nothing but respect for that organization — easily one of the best run in the Majors. Whenever the Sox play them, I’m nervous. That said, the ship seems to have really lost its rutter this year, and with Morneau out for who knows how long, and signs that Rauch is sputtering — not to mention some real questionable starting pitching beyond Pavano and Liriano — I think the wheels are coming off their playoff bus and I see hints of worry coming from the front office when deals like this are even considered. Capps is not your answer, nor is Lilly — but perhaps they are unsure what to do at this point. Regardless, I NEVER write off the Twins — they’re taught never to quite up there. I admire that from professional athletes. Still, the Twins are not in the best shape.

dopefein
5 years 1 month ago

Meant to say “rudder” not “rutter” above. Sorry.

Shoeless_Joe
5 years 1 month ago

Do you still think Ramos is a top 100 after the season he’s had in AAA? I don’t think so.

The Twins wouldn’t give up Hicks + Ramos for Lee, not just a top outfielder. If the Twins do not want to give up Revere they will not get Downs, and if they don’t want to give up Morales+ they won’t get Frasor/Gregg. Otherwise they will get better prospects with the comp picks.

5 years 1 month ago

I don’t know how likely Toronto really is to offer arbitration to Frasor if he hits type A status (according to the reverse engineered numbers on this site, he’s right on the cusp). It sounds backwards, not wanting to do it when there’s a larger compensation attached, but the fact that it would drastically reduce the FA offers makes it far more likely he accepts arbitration. With Downs the Jays would be just fine if he accepted. Frasor at $4M or so is a bit hefty.

twins33
5 years 1 month ago

The Twins don’t need BP help. I don’t know why they are looking for it, or at least rumored to be.

The Twins need a SP and there is not much out there that they can afford. They need to find another Pavano-a pitcher pitching much better than the stats showed last season and for cheap. I just can’t think of anyone off the top of my head.

I’d rather they do nothing than do something dumb.

5 years 1 month ago

Why ask so much for Ramos? I know he’s a good prospect and get you a good return, Twins, but you’re not ever gonna use him at this rate. Do you really want to hold on to a blue chip catching prospect for the next 7 years as a backup catcher?

Mauerneau
5 years 1 month ago

Its better than giving him away for a reliever whos going to be making 6-7 mil next year.

Drew
5 years 1 month ago

Until someone mans up and gives us a DECENT return on him, yes, I’d sit on him for as long as it takes.

crashcameron
5 years 1 month ago

I know it’s in-division but what would KC want for Soria?

And Twinkie fans – even as Delmon seems to have matured, you guys must be tearing your hair (or tearing in your beer) with thoughts of Matt Garza with a TC instead of a TB on the front of his cap

ouch

Mauerneau
5 years 1 month ago

Before Delmon panned out yes. Garza is not an ace, he’s a middle of the rotation guy who didn’t want to play in minnesota anyways. Bartlett is batting like .230 and is hurt. Id say the trade worked out for both teams but its not like we gave up ubaldo