Trade Bait: Capps to Close In Minnesota

It looks as though the Minnesota Twins are desperate to challenge the White Sox for the AL Central crown.  Last night they acquired Washington Nationals closer Matt Capps in exchange for catcher Wilson Ramos and lefty prospect Joe Testa.

Capps has enjoyed a decent year closing for the Nationals after falling off the pitching wagon for the Pirates.  In 2009 he posted a 5.80 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP, but the rebound has his ERA down to 2.74.  He will immediately take over closing duties for the Twins, pushing Jon Rauch back to a setup spot.  His 1.30 WHIP this season isn’t what you’d expect out of a closer, but he’s countered the ugly amount of hits he’s given up (51 in 46.0IP) with a decent walk rate.  Hopefully, a better defensive infield in Minnesota will help cut down on his hits a little.

Wilson Ramos has been talked about heavily as a trade chip ever since he broke out offensively last season to the tune of .317/.341/.454.  But he’s struggled some this season, hitting .241/.280/.345 for Triple-A Rochester.  Although all the blogs have been drooling over him, I haven’t been AS high on the young catcher.  He needs to improve his plate discipline to be a viable starting catcher in the majors.

Joe Testa is a lefty reliever who’s stats have been all over the place.  Although he’s moved up mid-season each year since he started professional baseball, Joe hasn’t made it past Double-A and has really struggled this season.  He did have very good strikeout rates and a decent WHIP last season though and the Nationals may be taking a flier on him in the hopes of getting him back on track.

Although I don’t like this trade as much as other analysts who drool over Ramos, this is a pretty good deal by Nationals GM Mike Rizzo.  Not only did he get 26 saves out of a pitcher many thought was washed up, he sold high on Capps and received a couple decent upside guys as well.  The Twins improve their bullpen marginally, but the Nationals win this one.

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