Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bullpen candidate profile: Matt Capps

Matt Capps has 109
career saves.
Pitcher: Matt Capps
Throws: Right
Age: 27
Roster status: 40-man roster, arbitration eligible
Chance of making team: He only misses if injured

I started this series with one of the few certainties in the Minnesota bullpen (Jose Mijares); I close it with another.

Matt Capps is a Proven Closer, with the $7 million contract such status "earns." But the early indications are that Joe Nathan will be the first choice to close out wins, leaving Capps to be the primary set-up man.

Which figures to be less lucrative in the long run, but carries a different reward. This is Capps' first spring training with a team that thoroughly expects to be in the playoffs come October.

He'll get another run at the closer job someday -- if not with the Twins, with somebody else. But he's not a big strikeout guy, which means he's never going to be looked upon as one of the very best closers in the game. Successful second-tier closers like Capps have a tendency to play second-fiddle to a bigger name down the stretch after a midseason trade. In this case, it's starting in April rather than August.

But this won't last past this year. Nathan is on the last year of his contract; Capps is on a one-year deal. The Twins are paying the two a total in excess of $19 million, which is substantial coin for the privilege of having the closer job backed up.

One of them may well be back in 2012. I doubt both will be.


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  2. Thanks Ed, loved the series! Have a great rest of your time in Florida and enjoy the game today!