In the wee hours of the morning, reliever Matt Capps made his decision: he signed a one-year deal with the Washington Nationals. Looks like he’s getting a $3.5 million base salary, with incentives that could take it closer to $4 million, which sounds about right. Most folks are guessing that he chose one-year and less total money from the Nats over a two-year and more money from the Chicago Cubs.
And he almost certainly made the right decision.
Thing is, the Nationals are going to make Capps their closer. Capps, in only his fifth year in the league, will have another year of arbitration-eligibility after this year before full-on free agency in 2012. Right or wrong, when it comes to arbitration, if you have “saves” on your stat sheet, all other stats seem to fall out the window. By taking the one-year deal with the Nats, and racking up the saves, Capps stands to make more money in the end than he would have by signing with the Cubs. Let’s just hope he doesn’t expect to, you know, win.
Or does he? From Capps on the decision:
“But I really like the decisions the Nationals have made this offseason and their commitment to winning beyond 2010. I’m excited about what can be.” MLB.com.
That may be the most ridiculous quote ever, for two distinct reasons:
(1) Yes, the Nationals have clearly shown a commitment to winning. You know, by signing… um… Jason Marquis and Ivan Rodriguez. Yes. Clear commitment.
(2) Thickly dripped irony: stating that the reason you’re signing with a team is because they’ve shown a commitment to winning beyond 2010 when you’re signing a one-year deal for 2010.
Look, dude. Your reason for choosing the Nats was perfectly understandable and reasonable. No need to offer some lip-service bs after the fact.
For the Cubs part, this is good and bad. Capps is a good pitcher, no doubt, so it stinks to miss out. Yet, as I’ve made very clear, I think the bullpen is the wrong place for this team to be spending its ever-dwindling remaining payroll. Odds are, though, that Jim Hendry will continue to pursue a reliever, which could result in the Cubs landing a worse pitcher at the same price. So, well, I guess it’s mostly bad, but only because of the guy running the show.
Remember when Jim Hendry had to make certain moves to ensure that Dusty Baker wouldn’t trot the wrong players out there? Well, this is kind of like that, one step up the foodchain. What can Tom Ricketts do to ensure that Jim Hendry won’t sign the wrong players in the first place?