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.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.
Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”
Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.
Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.