How About Capps? – Phillies Nation

How About Capps?

Matt Capps was non-tendered by the Pittsburgh Pirates today, meaning he is a free agent.  Capps pitched in 57 games in 2009, but struggled, finishing with a 5.80 ERA.  However, the three years prior to that, he was a very respectable back-end relief pitcher.

The 27-year old made $2.454 million in ’09 and after coming off of a sub-par season, his number may not go up much when it comes to contract demands. He could be a perfect fit for one of the remaining vacancies in the Phillies ‘pen.

Also non-tendered was D.J Carrasco by the White Sox.  Carrasco is 33 and came off a year in which he went 5-1 with a 3.76 ERA in 49 games.

OPINION (11:40 pm): After finding a lot of Capps “haters” following the launch of this post, mostly on facebook (for what its worth), lets break down the pros and cons of the 27-year old former Pirate:


  • Will come cheap: And this means a lot at this point when Billy Wagner is getting $7.5 million and pitching figures as a whole have seemingly skyrocketed.
  • Decent track record:  His combined ERA from 2006-08 was 3.05.  He allowed just 18 earned runs in 2008 and sported a miniscule 0.97 WHIP, which was good for 6th best in the NL.  So, we’re just one year removed from a very, very steady season by Capps, and a great three-year run overall.
  • His age means he can still return to his form from a couple of seasons ago.


  • His batting average against suggests he’s very average. Capps career BAA is .261, however, last season it ballooned to .324.  Still, in ’08, it was just .234
  • Ten home runs allowed in just 54 innings is cause for concern, especially in our little bandbox. Before ’09, however, Capps gave up just 10 in 2007 and 2008 combined.
  • Hits per/9 in ’09: 12.1.  Yikes.  But, again, those numbers are deviate from his career stats.

Overall, if you break Capps down, he seems to make some sense as a possibility.  Last season appears to be an anomaly compared to the rest of his career, which has been surprisingly stellar, even in Pittsburgh.




    December 13, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    Both Capps and Carrasco look good to me…..Sign ’em both up !!!!! We need a kick-ass bullpen.

  2. The Dipsy

    December 13, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    I want Mike Gonzalez.

    The Dipsy

  3. Pat Gallen

    December 13, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    Dipsy, I’d much rather have Capps who has a god track record and will cost less. Plus, he can close, will have a smaller number, and is 4 years younger.

  4. The Dipsy

    December 13, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Ok. Gonzalez has closed for both the Bucs and the Braves. He is a better pitcher. But using your metrics I would agree. Gonzalez kills lefties and you could mix him in with Lidge and Madson. He will cost money, though.

    The Dipsy

  5. Corey Seidman

    December 13, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    Are the Phils even pursuing Mike Gonzalez? I’ve seen nothing to support the assumption that they’re even interested. Many reports had the Phils interested in Soriano, Lyon, Valverde, Putz, etc., but nothing concrete ever emerged with Gonzalez.

  6. Pat Gallen

    December 13, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    Corey, I’m not sure it even matters if we’ve heard about it through the media. Half the crap out there is just that anyway. Even the stuff reported sometimes isnt concrete. That said, not sure I’m much of a Gonzalez fan more than Capps.

  7. Corey Seidman

    December 13, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    No, I know, but the Phillies under Amaro don’t do anything quietly. We’ve known about every move in advance, and the fact that there’s been nothing on Gonzalez leads me to believe that they aren’t interested.

    Which is good. Because you don’t need two wild lefty relievers.

  8. The Tom

    December 13, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    I dont know how true but some clown on is saying Roy Halladay is gonna have a Physical this week at the Maryland based Rockville insitute. Now again I’m not the source they got it from twitter. We will see. Capps is a low risk and High reward.

  9. Geoff

    December 13, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    For how much hell cost, Id stay away from Gonzalez given his injury history. Id be all over Capps, a cheaper option. Could close. Id also be hard after Wang. Cheap, could be a big surprise if he returns to form. They still need another SP, they still need to sign a reliever or two.

  10. Geoff

    December 13, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    was that a columnist, or a comment post?

  11. Socius Philliarum

    December 13, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    “Id also be hard after Wang.”

    He’s worth signing just for the inadvertent innuendos.

  12. Mike

    December 13, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Capps is absolutely terrible, McDougal from the natinals is a much Better choice.

  13. Manny

    December 13, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    Gonzalez will probably be much, much more expensive than Capps…

    Capps would be the way to go. DJ Carrasco would work, too.

  14. PhilsWin

    December 14, 2009 at 12:30 am

    Capps sucks. Didn’t we absolutely trash that guy every time we faced him? Even before that he did just as bad against other teams. Personally I think Capps is a step down from Lidge.

  15. Pat Gallen

    December 14, 2009 at 12:40 am

    Capps isnt the answer at closer, he’s a 7-8 inning option. Plus hes a ton cheaper than Rodney and Valverde and some others looking for work. Had one bad year.

    If you recall, JC Romero and Scott Eyre were released, came here, and transformed into reliable relievers. Lidge has been up and down. And so what if the Phillies trashed him, he wouldnt have to face our batters anymore, which would be a good thing.

  16. derekcarstairs

    December 14, 2009 at 1:56 am

    I’d like to bring Chan Ho Park back, once he comes to his senses and realizes he’s an effective reliever and a poor starter. I’d take him over Capps and MacDougal for 7th and 8th inning situations and multiple innings. I think he made $2.5 million last year and turned down a $3 million offer from the Phils. Let’s negotiate with Park, maybe pay him a little more than $3 million, and get him back.

  17. WFC010

    December 14, 2009 at 4:21 am

    Given the current options out there, and their asking prices…

    I feel Capps is worth at least looking into, even if his 2009 numbers make me feel very uneasy.

  18. The Dipsy

    December 14, 2009 at 7:38 am

    Just don’t tell anyone Wang is jewish.

    The Dipsy

  19. NJ

    December 14, 2009 at 7:59 am

    Capps is a perfect fit given the situation but that goes for several teams. He’s a hard thrower and he’ll slot right into the back of the bullpen and be able to spell the guys we have there with a lot of of upside for not ‘that’ much salary. Gonzales would be a terrible move, type A free agent in-line for Brandon Lyon money if not more’s just not worth it. Would be great to have Park back but we have to accept he wants to start.

    There’s only so many cooks you can have in the kitchen, we need a back-end reliever sure and Capps fits the profile of what we need. A bullpen full of high price set-up guys and no-one knows what their role is. We just need to round out the pen with situational arms (preferably from within) which is how this bullpen has had success, low-expectation free agents coming in to pitch situationally exceeding expectations and earning tough innings.

  20. George

    December 14, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Capps, McDougal, Carrasco. All are options, but they’ll also be options for other teams, and may not come as cheaply as we’d like. It depends on just what the front office will spend for what amounts to a backup plan for Lidge and Romero.

    I’m probably one of few who doesn’t see Wang as very useful. For one thing, he’s still rehabbing and won’t start until May. For another, his problems started with his foot, and may have caused a change in his mechanics. It may take him the entire year to get back anywhere near his former abilities. He may never get back. Shoulder problems have ruined many careers. If he does, fine, but to me he’s too big of a gamble for the salary he’ll probably get.

  21. ColonelTom

    December 14, 2009 at 10:08 am

    MacDougal is horrible – are there really people who think that walking more guys than you strike out isn’t a massive red flag on the guy?

    Park would be great if he’s willing to come back purely as a reliever and stay at or under $3M/year, but I don’t see that happening. Carrasco’s a good fit as a swingman if he fits within the budget, though rumor is he wants a clean shot at a rotation spot like Park. The $2-3M earmarked for Park should go to Capps if he’ll take it. Capps would be a nice fit because he doesn’t walk people, a significant problem for the Phils’ pen (Lidge, Romero, and Durbin in particular).

  22. Adam

    December 14, 2009 at 10:25 am

    I really don’t want Capps. I think he was exposed last year for what he is: a one-trick pony. If you didn’t like Lidge only throwing his fastball in Game 4 of the WS, then you really won’t like Capps. I’d much rather get Rodney or even just bring Chan Ho back

  23. Jeff of Nova

    December 14, 2009 at 10:37 am

    You know what I would love and it is basically from a fans perspective.

    Here we go.

    I would love for the Front Office to make an announcement that they are no pursuing Halladay at all, or just do it and be done with it.

    Stop dancing around it drives me insane. (remember totally from a fans perspective not what they should do for good business)

    exstension for Cliff Lee!

    exstension for Jayson Werth! (tired of hearing the possibility of him gone after this year, such a valuable Right handed bat)

    Sign one low risk High reward pitcher, aka John Smoltz

    Don’t overpay for any of these bullpen arms, Bullpen pitcher are by nature inconsistent, only about 5% are consistent and deserve big money. So a Rodney would be a waste of money.

    Remember our best bullpen arms in 08 were guys just trying to make the team, Romero, Durbin, Condrey etc.

    We have a boat load of arms in the system, many ready to make their mark, Mathieson, Kendrick etc.

    It is okay to not have all 25 guys set on the roster when we start Spring, I would prefer that, good competition keeps it real!!

    Many want an Allstar lineup at every position, we are not a NY market team, period. So guys like Kendrick, Drabek, Taylor, Mayberry etc come very important when veterans want the big bucks

    So that is my thoughts
    Just my thoughts as a fan.

  24. Pat Gallen

    December 14, 2009 at 10:41 am

    The moral of the story is, there isnt much out there for cheap. Honestly, I thought Condrey would stay at that price. I think, for the money, Capps has the potential.

  25. Catch 22 f/k/a H Man

    December 14, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Mike MacDougal is, to me, such an obvious choice. He can fill a variety of roles and he can flat out bring it. He throws in the high 90s and my sense is that he’s a late bloomer, with little wear and tear on his arm (given his age), who is just about to get into his prime years. If I were the Phils, I’d sign him to a two year contract right away. He is great insurance for Lidge and he allows you not only some flexibility, but also to permit Madson to stay locked into his set-up role, where he thrives.

  26. derekcarstairs

    December 14, 2009 at 11:09 am

    The good news about MacDougal is that he misses bats and does not give up many homers. The bad news is that he misses the plate too much, yet also gives up a fair number of hits. It’s difficult to watch a guy who is constantly getting into jams.

  27. Bob in Bucks

    December 14, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Pat –

    Somehow you are ignoring a 5.80 ERA! That is horrible, no matter how you spin it. Might he return to form? Sure he might but it would have to be an incentive type deal. Bring up one of the boys from the minors, cheaper and I think they might beat 5.80 ERA

  28. Rex_2000

    December 14, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    I don’t see why we can’t use guys like Bastardo or Mathieson instead of overpaying for relievers.

  29. Crazy Curt

    December 14, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Any chance they take a look at McDougal who was non-tendered by the Nationals? I know he is coming off hip surgery but should be ready by Spr.Training. He went 20/21 in SV opp last year!

  30. Chuck

    December 14, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Capps??…..IIIIIII (yes,that’s a stutter) don’t know. He’s got potential….I’ve just seen him blow TOO many games for me to be comfortable….but then…maybe he’s got something to prove….coming to a contender..


    December 14, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    “SLEEPING AT THE SWITCH”– I hope this label does not apply to Ruben Jr. Seems like a lot of activity is going on regarding bullpen pitchers and the Phils are not being mentioned. I think we need a solid bullpen before we need a back-end starter. Maybe I am getting paranoid or overanxious. I do like Ruben, jr., but I am starting to worry.

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