Agent Paul Kinzer said yesterday that the Mets and Twins are among the teams to express interest in Matt Capps, adding: “I think he’s going to be closing somewhere. I’ll put it that way.”
That’s hard to believe, in part because Capps pitched his way out of the closer job in Minnesota this year and in part because the free agent market is flush with veteran closers.
Jonathan Papelbon signed in Philadelphia and Ryan Madson, Francisco Rodriguez, Francisco Cordero, Joe Nathan, Heath Bell, and Frank Francisco are all looking for closer jobs. Perhaps some team will view Capps as a cheap fallback option, but even then former closers like Brad Lidge, Jonathan Broxton, Mike Gonzalez, and Octavio Dotel are also out there.
Capps was still reasonably effective this year, throwing 66 innings with a 4.25 ERA, but his strikeout rate plummeted to 4.7 per nine innings and he served up 10 homers. Tough to imagine there’s a team out there looking at him as more than a moderately priced setup man.
Rockies reliever Seunghwan Oh recently said to the Yonhap News Agency that he wanted to return to South Korea to finish out his career. He has one year and $2.5 million remaining. His 2019 club option became guaranteed when he reached 70 appearances in the 2018 regular season. It sounded like Oh didn’t want to pitch for the Rockies next season. Oh said, “I am a bit exhausted after spending five seasons in Japan and the United States. I feel like I want to return to the KBO while I still have the energy to help the team and pitch in front of home fans. I can’t make this decision alone. I’ll have to speak with my agency about the next season.”
Rockies GM Jeff Bridich has a different sense of the situation, per Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Bridich said, “From what we have been told, it was much ado about nothing regarding Oh. His comments to the Korean media were not specifically about 2019. It was more about ending his career there. Our understanding is that he has every intention of honoring his current contract.”
Oh, 36, pitched 68 1/3 innings this past season between the Blue Jays (47 innings) and Rockies (21 1/3). In aggregate, he posted a 2.63 ERA with a 79/17 K/BB ratio in 68 1/3 innings. The Rockies have the bulk of their bullpen returning next year, save for Adam Ottavino who is a free agent.