Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Nationals Signed Capps

In a transaction that completely flew under my radar during the holiday season:

The Washington Nationals signed right-handed pitcher Matt Capps on Wednesday to a one-year deal worth $3.5 million. TSN

That's it?! ONE year and $3.5 million? Speculation was that Capps was capable of receiving a multi-year deal. From

Ken Rosenthal of feels Capps will choose to close for the Nationals, who will give him a multi-year deal, despite the Cubs offering more money per season.

I was against giving Capps a multi-year deal as well. But for him to have signed with the Nationals for only $3.5 million dollars and one year is a big-time mistake for the Mets. In early December, we wrote here about Capps:

He is a perfect candidate for the Mets, a team with bullpen problems and a big wallet. He was coming off injury last year, and there are a lot of reasons to believe that he was just unlucky. His fastball last year was the best it has ever been... he got swings on 29.7% of his pitches out of the zone last year... [and] he may have been a little unlucky with home runs - 13.5% of fly balls against him went for home runs, an unusually high rate.

The Mets should scoop this guy up quick, even if he is a due a slight raise. He'll want a one year deal to reestablish his value, and he'll provide insurance for K-Rod.

Well, he got his one year deal. And according to Cot's Contracts, he is only able to earn an additional $0.425 million in incentives at most.

For those who want to criticize Minaya for "fighting the last war" or not being proactive, this is a great example. Although we have a "proven closer" in Francisco Rodriguez, as we have pointed out here before, K-Rod's peripherals have been declining steadily in recent years.

I think this link tells you EVERYTHING you need to know about K-Rod... Simply put, there is no reason to believe that he is more likely to be 2006 K-Rod next year than a repeat of 2009 K-Rod. And 2009 K-Rod walked 5 batters per nine innings, had an ERA of 3.71, and had a WHIP of 1.31.

There is no insurance beyond K-Rod, a vulnerability which may become extremely obvious should he continue his decline. That Capps was available on a contract which was short in length and reasonable in dollar amount, and that the Mets were not more heavily involved, is not a good sign.

postscript: And please don't tell me that I should be excited about Kelvim Escobar or Ryota Igarashi. Both I felt were good risks for the Mets to take, but both are clearly a notch below Capps.

Escobar in particular has a chance to be good, but for his career has a 4.44 ERA as a reliever with a 1.42 WHIP. Granted, those appearances are interspersed through his career, and his numbers are better as a starter -- but still, that's not the dominant profile that I think people associate with his name. He'll also be coming back from injury -- all of these, reasons why he signed for so little. He is not adequate insurance for K-Rod either.

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