Reliever Matt Capps, who had an ERA approaching 6 last year, has drawn a tremendous amount of attention this offseason following his non-tender by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Among the interested teams, the Chicago Cubs want to insert him into the bullpen in a set-up role. With extremely limited funds available to make moves, the Cubs have already sunk nearly $4 million for 2010 into Capps’ former teammate, John Grabow. Surely, the Cubs wouldn’t drop that kind of money again on another far-from-a-sure-thing reliever?
According to MLB sources, Capps will receive somewhere between $7 and 8 million as part of a two-year contact. The Cubs have strong Interest (sic.) in Capps, who would go into the role of the primary setup man from the right side in the bullpen. Capps would also give manager Lou Piniella a solid backup closer to finish games off when Marmol wasn’t available.
With the addition of Capps, the back end of the Cubs bullpen would be among the strongest in the National League. ESPN Chicago.
How many years, following big money free agent signings by Jim Hendry, in a row have we heard some variation of “this year’s bullpen is totally going to be a strength”? It feels like it’s every single year. And it probably is.
If the Cubs land Capps, they will have spent some $8 million of the 2010 payroll – practically all of the amount we were led to believe the Cubs had available to spend – on two relievers, neither of whom is even remotely a lock to be a quality option next year.
Sobering thought – neither Capps nor Grabow has been as successful as any of the following relievers in the years before they joined the Cubs: Scott Eyre, Bobby Howry, Mike Remlinger, LaTroy Hawkins.