Friday, July 30, 2010

A tip of the Capps

The Twins on Thursday night traded Wilson Ramos and a minor league pitcher of little obvious importance to Washington for relief pitcher Matt Capps, who is to supplant Jon Rauch as the ninth-inning saves specialist.

For a Washington-centric view of the trade, click here.

Either Ramos has been badly overhyped in these parts (possible) or his performance this year, and in particular his inability to deal with breaking balls, has lowered his value (also possible). I was envisioning Ramos as the centerpiece of a trade for a higher caliber of pitcher — a Cliff Lee or Joakim Soria — and in that light, this deal is a disappointment. Ramos, I suspect, isn't viewed by other organizations as that good a prospect.

Capps made the National League All-Star team this year, but that's more a reflection of the "All-Star for every team" rule than of his talent. I like Capps, but if the Twins valued him because he's a "proven closer," that's a mistake. In terms of his talent and ability, he's more like Matt Guerrier or Rauch than a healthy Joe Nathan.

That said, I have been increasingly uncomfortable with Rauch in the ninth-inning job. Aaron Gleeman (who does not like this trade) has suggested repeatedly that by limiting Rauch to the ninth inning the Twins have dissipated one of his strengths — his durability.

Capps will still be under team control next season — arbitration eligible — and with Rauch, Guerrier and Jesse Crain all in the final years of their contracts, that was apparently an attraction for the Twins as well, especially with the uncertainty about Nathan's return. But if Capps winds up with 40 saves, he's likely to be an expensive piece of Nathan insurance.

I think Capps will be a slight improvement in the ninth inning on Rauch — and Rauch will be more valuable in the sixth, seventh or eighth innings than, let us say, Anthony Slama. So it's a deeper bullpen, at least for the remains of this year. Whether that's sufficient reason to surrender Ramos ... I'm skeptical, but but it may work out that way.


  1. I'd love to hear what some anonymous scouts/g.m.s would have to say about the potential of Ramos. My first thought was like yours: the Twins soured on him. But why did they wait? Surely his value was never higher after that initial call-up with the Twins? That was the time to trade him. I worry that the Twins fell in love with his "saves". Bad trade unless they really don't see Ramos as a first-rate catching prospect.

  2. They sure must be looking at Capps as a help for this year. They know Nathan won't help them in a pennant race for at least another year. Never heard of Capps, but then, I don't pay a whole lot of attention to the NL. I do think we need to give the guy a chance and see if he is what they think he is.

  3. this day in Twins history

    Minnesota trades Kyle Lohse to Cincinnati for Zach Ward.

    The Mets trade former replacement player and 2-time All-Star P Rick Reed to the Twins for Matt Lawton

    Starter Frankie Rodriguez (10-12) fails to record an out as the Orioles rout the Twins 16-4.

    Allan Anderson (11-9) and the Twins defeat Doyle Alexander (5-11) and the Tigers 14-3 in Detroit. Jim Dwyer and Greg Gagne drive in 3 runs each. Ex-Twin Gary Ward homers for the last place Tigers.

    Joe Decker (11-9) throws a complete game 11-hitter as Minnesota defeats the Royals 7-3. DH Harmon Killebrew (9th) and LF Larry Hisle (16th) hit solo HR's off losing pitcher Paul Splittorff. Killebrew would hit 4 more HRs in his last Twins season before being released in January of '75.

  4. where does Gleeman get the, "focusing on the save statistic," & "in the Twins' minds they traded for an "All-Star closer," use it as a mindset fact of the Twins F0 and then run with it as a reason for the Capps trade?

    Maybe they think Capps has a good arm, good stuff and will be a solid addition to the bullpen. Maybe they think Ramos has some warts which are being exposed. Maybe they think Capps for Ramos is a fair exchange of risk reward between they and the Nationals.

    Seems like a lazy premise to run with.

  5. p.s.

    glad i don't read him if that is what i have been missing.

    heard his ego is out of control now but would not know, i think that is the 2nd article from him i have ever read.

  6. Take a look at the reasons the Twinsgeek hates the trade:

    I think he sums up my reaction to it very well.

  7. Ramos would have actually had to do something, like oh, play well in Triple A to be a centerpiece in any trade for a big name. The Padres were not going to trade Heath Bell to the Twins in exhibition season because Ramos has a good winter league season.

    The timing was wrong for Ramos to bring in a big piece back because he had to play well to do so and he failed miserably. Potential is one thing, but reeking while having potential, those types are all over the minor leagues.

    Ramos is a free swinger, will never hit for a high average because of that, below average on D, with minor lg career trending towards being prone to injury. He has never made it through a minor lg season healthy coming into this season. What has he done to make himself an uber prospect other than get hot during a 1-month winter league season where fastballs are plenty?

    After his hot week this season with the Twins the book was quickly was out on him to not throw him strikes, throw him breaking balls... since that point on he has hit maybe .220 between the majors and minors. He is quickly being exposed as a suspect not a prospect.

    If he wouldn't have been traded soon you would be lucky to get a Brandon Lyon type for him.

    solid trade, not a great trade but a good trade.

  8. Ramos "below average on D"...

  9. plus arm.

    that's it.