As soon as Joe Nathan announced that he would undergo Tommy John surgery, the back end of the Twins' bullpen became a lot less scary. Four months later, the Twins obtained one of the top relievers available, acquiring Matt Capps and $500K from the Nationals for left-hander Joe Testa and highly touted catching prospect Wilson Ramos.
Capps, 26, has 25 saves and a 2.80 ERA with 7.4 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9. He earns a base salary of $3.5MM this year ($1.3MM remains) and can be retained as an arbitration-eligible player for 2011. Capps will close games for the Twins and Jon Rauch will move to a set-up role.
Ramos, 23 in August, placed 58th among all MLB prospects on Baseball America's preseason list. The catcher has hit .241/.280/.345 at Triple A with five homers this season. His offense has fallen off since last year, but Ramos has thrown out 19 of 38 would-be base stealers. Joe Mauer's presence in Minnesota made Ramos expendable for the Twins.
Testa has a 5.50 ERA between high A and AA with a combined 8.3 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9 in 36 relief appearances. The 24-year-old has yet to pitch above AA.
Yahoo's Tim Brown, Scott Miller of CBS Sports, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports all contributed updates to the story as it broke.