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Indians sign right-hander Matt Capps to minor league deal

Indians sign right-hander Matt Capps to minor league deal
January 31, 2013
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On Thursday afternoon the Cleveland Indians announced that they have signed free agent right-handed reliever Matt Capps to a minor league contract with a non-roster invitation to Major League spring training camp.

Capps, 29, opened the 2012 season as the closer for the Twins, saving 14 of his 15 chances before coming down with shoulder inflammation that resulted in two trips to the disabled list over the final three months of the season. On the year he went 1-4 with a 3.68 ERA (29.1 IP, 28 H, 4 BB, 18 K) in 30 appearances. He will get an opportunity this spring to prove he is healthy not just for the Indians, but for other clubs looking for bullpen depth.

Capps, 29, owns an eight-year career Major League record of 29-33 with 138 saves and a 3.52 ERA in 444 relief appearances with Pittsburgh, Washington and Minnesota (439.2 IP, 439 H, 172 ER, 84 BB, 319 K). He was the winning pitcher in the 2010 All-Star Game for the National League and for the 2010 campaign he posted a career-best 42 saves and a 2.47 ERA in 74 relief appearances for the Nationals and Twins (73.0 IP, 75 H, 17 BB, 59 K). He has posted 14-or-more saves in each of the last six seasons and owns a career 1.7 BB/9.

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User Comments

Andy
February 1, 2013 - 8:15 PM EST
The Indians have a chance if their starting rotation can just be league average. They were 28th out of 30 (Twins and Rockies below them) for starting pitcher's ERA at 5.25 when the AL average ERA was 4.39. A strong bullpen can only do so much without a lead or a power-hitting offense to come from behind. I think the offense has been slightly upgraded overall, with the biggest improvements really only against LH pitching - maybe 25% of games are vs LH starters.

If Myers can keep his ERA below 4.5 this season and make 30 starts, then he'll easily be worth $7MM and his $8MM team option for 2014 becomes a bargain. I think McAllister and eventually Bauer and Carrasco will surprise this season, but that may not be enough with the enigmas that are Masterson and Ubaldo.
Moronic Avenger
February 1, 2013 - 10:27 AM EST
You know what's better than voting someone off the island? When they vote THEMSELVES off the island.

If Bill wants out now, that says it all, doesn't it?

Bye-Bye Bill, Bye Bye. You must be looking forward to the next Aaron Cunningham signing. LET'S GO, PICK UP JOHNNY DAMON!!!
Adam
February 1, 2013 - 9:57 AM EST
Bill-

I do believe Swisher is an upgrade over Choo, by a pretty big margin. He's the better defender and he won't be useless against LHP like Choo has been at times in his career. Swisher should be a much more consistent contributor.

Stubbs has the ability to be just as valuable as Choo was in 2012. If he puts up the numbers he put up in 2011 (not his career best), he's probably going to be good for a 2.5-3.0 WAR, which would eclipse what Choo gave us. So essentially Stubbs could replace Choo's value while Swisher could be an additional 4-5 win upgrade.

Aviles, Gomes, etc. are simply better baseball players than the likes of Cunningham, Lopez, Lillbridge. Aviles was the Sox starting SS last year and was productive. We got NOTHING out of our bench last year so the fact that we have guys who are actually capable of putting up quality at bats...that in it's own right is a huge upgrade.

The biggest upgrade of all might be the manager. Francona has already impressed me more than Acta ever did in his time here, and we haven't seen a game yet.

I'm not saying we're as good as the Tigers, or even the White Sox. All I'm saying is that if you don't think this team has improved since the end of last year, you haven't been paying attention. And I do think we're easily better than the Royals and Twins.
Roger
February 1, 2013 - 9:35 AM EST
i agree with everyone about bill not renewing his season tickets. they have been a disappointment the last half of the last two season however the '13 indians are by far the best team we have had in over a decade. I trust tito when he says you could hear something different when carrasco hit the catchers glove. After all these years of baseball francona knows the sound. To use golf metaphor Tiger Woods circa 2010 they used to say when he used a driver the club hitting the ball sounded different. I think tito heard something while carlos was throwing and he did pitch with sore elbow since he was a teen per what he said. If he is as good as advertized as a 20ish aged pitcher we could have something special. The only tempering aspect to this offseason is the tigers even though they made the world series in '12 have underachieved in the regular season last year. They should have on paper won close to 100 games not the 88 that they did, so not sure that 92-70 will be good enough if we do what balt and oakland did for improvement. Still want to win division instead of a one game playoff. The only thing a wild card gets you is the chance to play one more do or die game, I bet the Rangers can tell you that was not a big deal in retrospect. In summery it is a vast improvement on paper and i am sure it translate to at least 15+ additional wins maybe even 20+ i just hope it is enough the tigers do look awesome again on paper and they have to stay healthy as does everyone else.
Joe
February 1, 2013 - 9:06 AM EST
I agree Carl. It appears this off season, a lot more thought went in to their pick ups. Guys like Rayburn, Capps, Meyers have a fair bit of upside that could contribute to the team. Disappointment the last 2 years came, perhaps, from the fact they over achieved for the first part of the year, then could not sustain it. This year I can see some early struggles, but improvement as the year goes on.There are still some missing pieces to the puzzle, but I am more optimistic at this point of the year than I was the last couple. I believe the rotation will settle in late May or early June, with Masterson, Bauer, Carrasco and Myers, and good things will evolve from there. Ubaldo ??? Not so much, but let's get on from that. An early deal for Cabrera or Perez could really be significant. I think this off season is a solid B or even a B+. And behind all this is an emerging farm system. Looking a lot better going forward.
Carl
February 1, 2013 - 8:24 AM EST
I think some of the skepticism has to be from fact Tribe started great last two years and disappointed us. It is hard to argue though that this not one of the best off seasons that the Tribe has ever had. Francona alone is a big move. Masterson and Ubaldo have to improve for Tribe to be a factor, even with all the moves. We have gone from one of most disappointing seasons to hope for this year. That's all you can ask for. Don't most of you feel Tribe is closer to winning then Cavs or Browns?
Seth
February 1, 2013 - 5:34 AM EST
I agree with you Bill about the upgrades, but this team has potential, as it has the last couple years. The Indians didn't necessarily hugely improve the team on paper in 2013 compared to 2012, but with Bauer and Swisher in the fold now and beyond 2013, that's still quite a successful offseason. I would've liked to see them re-sign Hafner and a better pitcher than Myers, but they did well. Certainly better than the Twins and White Sox, and I think better than the Royals, who overpaid for two average to below average starting pitchers and traded their best prospect for a couple years of Shields ... that trade seems like their version of the Ubaldo trade, and just highly unlikely to work out in their favor.
anonymous
February 1, 2013 - 4:12 AM EST
Good signing. If he's healthy, he can be a back of the pen reliever. Our pen would have tremendous depth.

Bill, no HR hitters? What do you call Swisher and Reynolds? If you're looking for hitters that can consistently hit 40 - 50hrs per, you're in the wrong era.
Bill
January 31, 2013 - 9:57 PM EST
Do you really think Swisher is an improvement over Choo? I will give you Reynolds over Kotchman. But Aviles, Gomez, mc Guiness are really crapshoots. Bauer and Myers...i don't know. I don't see much improvement but time will tell. Still no starting pitchers or home run hitters. Can't get excited about off season moves. Understand we are a small market team but geez...we're no Tigers...not even White Sox or Royals... Or Twins!
Seth
January 31, 2013 - 9:56 PM EST
You can never have too much bullpen depth. Remember 2008? And while it never makes sense to get mad about a minor league signing, I do find some of the perceptions expressed about their improvent to be interesting. Having Bauer around (and Carrasco back) should at least make the pitching staff more fun to watch. But many of the moves for this year have been lateral. I think it's far from clear that Swisher is better than Choo or Stubbs is an upgrade over anything--you know Damon had more WAR than Stubbs last year. And is Aviles, Gomes, Raburn, McGuiness going to be better than Lopez, Donald, Duncan, Hafner? Maybe ... On paper, that's a downgrade though, not an upgrade.
john
January 31, 2013 - 9:01 PM EST
i dont know, sounds to me like bill is trolling. makes no sense to say he is not renewing his tickets after one of the most productive and busy offseasons in year for the indians, if not ever.
Adam
January 31, 2013 - 8:49 PM EST
Bill-You don't see any improvement?

Swisher isn't an improvement over Choo?
Reynolds isn't an improvement over Kotchman?
Stubbs isn't an improvement over Duncan/Damon/etc.?
Aviles, Gomes and McGuiness aren't an improvement over Cunningham, Lopez, Lillibridge/ other bench players from last year?
Bauer and Myers aren't an improvement over Tomlin, Gomez, etc.?

You must have been watching a different team.
MT88 in WI
January 31, 2013 - 8:28 PM EST
I guess people forget that the Tribe's best 2 relievers will be away from the club due to WBC. Adding more backed pen options might be very important in case something goes wring with Vinnie or Chris.
Dennis
January 31, 2013 - 7:24 PM EST
Only problem some deserving relievers will be stuck at a lower level for another year. We have a log jam of pitcher at Akron already. We will never found out if they can develop into a major league reliever.
Bill
January 31, 2013 - 7:04 PM EST
Adam
Not kidding and not purchasing season tickets for the first time in 4 years.
Adam
January 31, 2013 - 6:48 PM EST
Bill...I truly hope you are kidding.

Swisher, Reynolds, Stubbs, Aviles, Gomes, McGuiness, Myers, Bauer are ALL major upgrades over the people who held their spots last season.

Capps was signed to a MINOR LEAGUE DEAL with NO guarantee of making the club. There is no such thing as having enough pitching, whether it's relief or starting...and Capps brings back end experience and strong stuff is he's healthy.
Bill
January 31, 2013 - 6:29 PM EST
Like deja vu. Antonetti making same mistakes as last season. We just sign aging right handed relief pitchers yet it is acknowledged that the bullpen is the indians strong point. Lack of hitting and starting pitching is where we need help. I see no improvement from last season. SOS !
Tony
January 31, 2013 - 6:26 PM EST
Thanks Clarence!
clarence
January 31, 2013 - 6:15 PM EST
TONY ! It is such a breath of fresh air to read the posts here after the negative crap I read on The Plain Dealer. I feel a need to take a bath after reading those posts. Roll Tribe !
Tony
January 31, 2013 - 5:46 PM EST
Agreed Mike....just saying at the moment he is a wildcard and depth option until he proves he is healthy. If he is healthy, then yeah, he likely makes the team and pushes Shaw or someone to Columbus. Solid get....just needs to prove he is healthy.
Iron Mike
January 31, 2013 - 5:36 PM EST
Tony, Mitch Williams on MLB Network says otherwise regarding Capps. I'll take his word for it. As a matter of fact, Capps was singled out on the network during the past days as one of the very best free agents left. If healthy, he makes our team out of spring training. Bet ya a diner at the Red Hawk Grille.
Tony
January 31, 2013 - 5:15 PM EST
Nothing but depth and wildcard if you ask me. Costs no money to find out if he is healthy.....so can't see the harm. Likely has zero impact on the ML team this year, so we will see this spring.
Carl
January 31, 2013 - 5:15 PM EST
I like the signing. You can't go wrong with Minor League deal, no risk only upside. I would like to see some SP signed to same deal. Wonder whats up with Dice K, C Zambrano and few others we should take chance at.
Just Bein' Real
January 31, 2013 - 5:08 PM EST
Another crappy signing.
Homer
January 31, 2013 - 4:52 PM EST
I like the signing, gives them plenty of depth to work with. Low cost investment on part of the Tribe.

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