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Multiple reports suggest that free agent reliever, and current Chicago Cubs top target, Matt Capps will be deciding between contract offers from the Cubs and the Washington Nationals later today. The values of the contracts are unknown at this point, but if I had to guess, Capps is likely deciding between a one-year deal and a chance to close with the Nationals, and a two-year deal and a chance to win with the Cubs.

Capps’ former bullpen-mate John Grabow has been on the horn, trying to sway Capps’ decision.

“I basically told him about the organization and how the guys are in the clubhouse,” Grabow said Tuesday from his Arizona home. “If he comes to the Cubs, he’s coming to a contender.”

The Cubs starting pitchers do go deep in games, which, Grabow said, could mean a lot of meaningful innings for Capps. The difference could come down to what Capps wants to do. The Nationals are looking for a closer, while the Cubs already have named Carlos Marmol as their closer. Marmol took over in mid August for Kevin Gregg, and went 11-for-11 in save situations. Marmol also walked a lot of batters.

Grabow said Capps is exactly what a manager wants — he’s durable and throws strikes.

“I told him, if you come to the Cubs, you might not close right away but things happen,” Grabow said. “[Capps] is a great guy. He’ll take the ball every single day. He’s a bulldog. He’s the sort of guy you want in your bullpen.” Muskat Ramblings.

Oh, well if he’s a bulldog…

I’ve probably been too hard on Capps given how tremendously good he was prior to last year. If he pitches like he did from 2006 to 2008, we will all be thrilled with this signing. My gripe is less with Matt Capps being signed, and more with the idea that the Cubs apparently have such limited funds, and are spending $8, 9, 10 million to add to the bullpen.

That all said, boy howdy was Capps bad last year. The articles you read that report his ERA last year (5.80) really only tell you part of the story. Prior to last year, his career WHIP (walks and hits per inning – gives you an idea of how many batters he lets on base per inning) was hovering around a very, very good 1.000, but last year that number exploded to 1.656. That’ll happen when you give up 12 hits per 9 innings, and your walks per nine doubles from where it had previously been.

Some of the comments have suggested that Capps was dealing with injury issues last year, so let’s hope that’s all 2009 was: an injury-wrecked aberration.

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