For a couple of days the reports have been consistent that the Twins have re-signed Matt Capps to a one-year deal for $4.5 million and a $6 million option for 2013 with a $250,000 buy out provision. After passing a physical, it is finally official today.
Most of the blogosphere has gone ballistic about this and not in a good way. I must admit my first reaction was negative as well.
Now that it is a given for the coming year, I’m trying to understand the reasons behind this signing and figure out what the most likely results will be.
As for reasons, Terry Ryan said more than once after Joe Nathan signed with Texas that the Twins were looking outside the organization for someone with closer experience. Obviously, the Twins need someone to be the 2012 closer and that is the number one reason for this signing. Second, considering the other closer options still on the market, it is almost assured that Capps is the most affordable. Since the Twins are trying to stay within some semblance of a budget, that is not an insignificant factor.
A third reason is the Twins’, especially Ron Gardenhire’s, comfort level with Capps. I wish that was more as a result of his superior performance, but it is mostly because he fits into what Gardenhire sees as the Twins mold. The best spin I can put on this is his reported positive influence in the clubhouse. There is no doubt that a chance in culture is needed from last year, and Capps’ willingness to deal with the media – after good and bad performances – and take responsibility when he screws up is an important leadership component.
Projecting results moves us to the realm of speculation, but most of us expect Capps to have much better year in 2012 than he did in 2011, especially if he is healthy and remains so. It remains to be seen if that happens and to what extent the Twins will compete. He could be a good trade chip in June or July if the Twins are out of contention. If that happens, it will have been more than worth this deal because he almost certainly would then bring some decent propect(s).