The Minnesota Twins acquired All-Star closer Matt Capps (whose 26 saves put him at seventh in the majors), and cash, from the Washington Nationals in exchange for minor leaguers Wilson Ramos and Joe Testa.
Would someone please explain to me the Nationals' logic in doing so, other than the same old story of struggling teams trading their best players to playoff contenders late in the season (which the Pittsburgh Pirates are infamous for, and God knows it works out very well for them)?
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Ramos is a very well-regarded prospect, so getting him for a hit-and-miss closer is a nice deal for Washington. Clippard/Storen can handle the closing duties for the 2011 Nationals, and Ramos is suddenly their catcher of the future once Pudge finally retires.
Matt Capps isn't really great, just an above average reliever put it a situation where he gets a stat people tremendously overvalue. He's already paid $3.5 and going into the third year of arbitration, which means whoever has him next year (1) is going to be paying him north of $5 mil next year with no real assurance he'll be good.
Relievers are tremendously unreliable things. Just look at Capps numbers last season. The Nationals have young guys they want to try, and two months should give them an idea if they need to do more in the offseason.
Ramos was half of the Twins offer for Cliff Lee. Capps isn't half the pitcher of Cliff Lee. And they got another guy.
(1) - and it won't be the Twins, right? Nathan should be back, and even their increased payroll probably doesn't allow for a $5 mil setup man.
Seriously, this is a good deal for the Natinals. As a Mets fans I've seen most of K-Rod's appearances, he's been mediocre and his ERA and WHIP are lower than Capps. Capps has a lot of saves because he plays on a bad team that is rarely going to win by more than 3 runs and that is the only reason he has a lot of saves.
I've heard some people that think Washington will be a contender by 2012. It's not happening. They can contend in the future if they play their cards right, but not that soon. Dunn and Capps will not still be around when they do compete, why not get something for them? In the case of Dunn that doesn't necessarily mean trading him (I think). I believe if he leaves as a free agent the Natinals get draft picks for him.
Building for the future is not a bad thing if you have an owner and GM that REALLY want to build for the future. I don't know much about the Nats owner but I doubt he has no interest in winning if they drafted/paid/are being careful with Strasburg. You can't really compare it to Pittsburgh where they have an owner that has no interest in winning. If the Pirates had the #1 pick they probably would have passed on Strasburg because they wouldn't want to pay him.
Great trade by The Nats. They should move Dunn and Willingham for prospects. The Nats aren't gonna have a chance to compete until 3-4 years down the line and by then Dunn will be in the decline phase of his career. Nats got more for Capps than the D'Backs got for Haren. Twins gave up way too much here.
This is a steal for the Nats. And, if somehow the Twins win the Central, does anyone think Capps goes into Game 2 at Yankee Stadium in the ALDS down 1 game to none, with a 6-4 lead and gets through the inning?
I think that gets a bit overstated. Granted you had Renteria fail here but you also had guys who came from arguable "laid-back environments" like Beckett, Lowell, Ortiz, Pedro, and many others who played well here.