Minnesota has finally decided to say goodbye to Matt Capps, declining his $6 million option for 2013 and paying the 29-year-old right-hander a $250,000 buyout.
That ends one of the more head-scratching love affairs in recent memory, as the Twins gave up Wilson Ramos to get Capps from the Nationals in mid-2010 and then paid him about $13 million for what turned out to be a total of 122 innings with a 3.61 ERA and 5.4 strikeouts per nine frames.
Capps is a perfectly solid setup man when healthy, but he’s an example of the folly behind labeling someone a “proven closer” based on save totals and he’ll likely have to settle for a modest one-year deal while coming back from shoulder problems.
We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.
McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.
Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.
The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.
Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.