The Minnesota Twins and reliever Matt Capps have agreed on a one year contract with an option for 2013. It’s expected that Capps will be the team’s closer, if for nothing else than to enrage Twins fans who booed the reliever off the field on multiple occasions in 2011 after he blew nine saves.
Earlier today, I warned against judging relievers on one season’s worth of data. However, Capps’ 2011 season is a better indicator of his true talent level than 2007 or 2010, the two best years of his career. This past season the twenty-eight year old right hander struck out a mere 34 batters in 65 and two third innings, while losing a mile per hour in velocity off his four seam fastball from a year ago and putting a career low in swinging strike percentage.
He put up similarly poor numbers in 2009 as well, but that had a lot to do with his inability to throw strikes. Capps didn’t walk nearly as many batters in 2011, but he got hit hard as both his home run and fly ball rates went way up.
It will be interesting to see exactly how much the contract is for. Capps made $7.15 million last year, and the team was saved by changes in the collective bargaining agreement from having to make a decision on whether or not to offer Capps arbitration. It’s hard to believe that he would get a raise on the open market from the salary he made last year .
Updated: The Associated Press is reporting that the deal is for $4.75 million.