9:10 p.m. EST update: Capps will earn $4.5 million in 2012, according to ESPN 1500’s Darren Wolfson. The option is worth $6 million and includes a $250,000 buyout.
6:55 p.m. EST update: Capps and the Twins have a deal for one year with an option for 2013, Danny Knobler of CBS Sports reports.
Matt Capps will likely re-sign with the Twins, a source tells Steve Popper of the Bergen Record.
While no one else is confirming the news, it could be telling that the Red Sox are now out of the hunt for Capps, according to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.
A Capps-Twins reunion seemed highly unlikely a few months ago, what with Capps routinely getting booed off the mound on his way to blowing nine saves during a rough 2011 season. He did pitch somewhat better late in the year as a setup man for Joe Nathan, but he was never dominant at any point. More discouraging than his 4.25 ERA was the fact that he fanned just 34 batters in 65 2/3 innings. He struck out 59 in 73 innings for Washington and Minnesota in 2010.
Capps, though, is a better fit in Target Field than he would be most anywhere else. He gives up a lot of long flyballs, but most of those turn into outs in Minnesota and he hardly ever walks anyone. It’d still probably make more sense for the Twins to take the draft pick they’d get with his departure and go sign Octavio Dotel instead, but Capps probably will pitch somewhat better in 2012.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.