Nationals sticking with Matt Capps as closer

1 Comment

Just two weeks ago Matt Capps was a perfect 16-for-16 closing out games for the Nationals, but yesterday’s blown save was his fourth in six chances since then and his third in four games so far this month.
His overall numbers are still solid, as Capps is 18-for-22 in saves opportunities with a 3.62 ERA and 25/7 K/BB ratio in 27.1 innings, but he’s now allowed 14 runs in his last 10 outings and both Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen are waiting in the wings.
However, manager Jim Riggleman made it clear that Capps will remain the Nationals’ closer despite his struggles. According to Riggleman “he’s throwing the ball well” and “just has to make an adjustment with his sliders” because “he can’t just have his fastball going.”
We’ll see whether Riggleman changes his tune if Capps has another ugly outing or two, because unlike in past seasons the Nationals are near enough to contention that sticking with a struggling closer will get the manager some heat from fans and media members. Of course, with Bryce Harper hours from being drafted and Stephen Strasburg’s arrival a day away Capps can fly under the radar for a bit longer.

Report: Red Sox, J.D. Martinez close to a deal

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
4 Comments

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox and outfielder J.D. Martinez are close to a deal. He takes care to note that the deal is not done yet and the details are not known yet.

Martinez, 30, entered the offseason as the top free agent hitter. Last season, between the Tigers and Diamondbacks, he hit a lusty .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI in 489 plate appearances. He missed the first 33 games of the season with a sprained right foot; one wonders what his numbers might’ve been like if he hadn’t been injured.

The Red Sox were the team most strongly linked to Martinez throughout the offseason, despite the relatively slow-moving market. Martinez said he wants to play in the outfield and the Red Sox are currently spoken for at all three positions with Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts. Hanley Ramirez is also penciled in at DH. Should the Martinez deal become official, the Red Sox may try to trade Bradley and move Benintendi to center field. If Martinez is willing to concede his outfield wishes, the Red Sox could slot him in at DH and move Ramirez to first base.

The AL East is shaping up to be a familiar two-horse race between the Red Sox and Yankees. The addition of Martinez, in a way, answers the Yankees’ addition of Giancarlo Stanton.