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.
Ken Rosenthal reports that the San Diego Padres have traded closer Brad Hand and reliever Adam Cimber to the Cleveland Indians. In return the Padres are getting top catching prospect Francisco Mejia.
Hand, the Padres’ All-Star closer, has a 3.05 ERA and 65/15 K/BB ratio and 24 saves over over 44.1 innings of work this season. In addition to helping an Indians bullpen which has struggled mightily this season, Hand will provide an insurance policy for the next two seasons given that both Andrew Miller and Cody Allen are due to hit free agency this winter. Hand, meanwhile, is under contract for this year and next for a total of $13.5 million, with a $10 million club option for 2021.
Cimber is another fine reliever who, along with Hand, suddenly transforms the Indians’ bullpen. He’s a 27-year-old rookie, but he’s been a very useful one this year, posting a 3.17 ERA in 42 games, with a K/BB ratio of 51/10 in 48.1 innings. He’s pitched even better than that of late and has been particularly hard on righties. He’s under team control through 2023.
In Mejia, the Padres are getting the Indians’ top hitting prospect. A catcher — though not necessarily a great defensive one — Mejia has struggled in brief stints in the big leagues thus far but is a .291/.344/.438 hitter in six minor league seasons and, at times, has shown star potential. He turns 23 in October.
A nice piece for the Padres in the long term and an immediate upgrade to the Indians’ bullpen in the short term. In short: a baseball trade.