|Matt Capps has 109|
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.