MINNEAPOLIS — I was sitting next to a friend, a Royals fan to be exact, and I decided to make him feel better.
It was a 1-0 score and he wanted to see some excitement; when I looked to the bullpen I knew what would cheer him up. I told him the man who’s very talent is making games exciting in a very negative way is warming up and my friend’s wishes of a exciting finish were about to come true.
No less than 4 minutes later did my vision become a reality. It was the fifth straight time I had predicted a Matt Capps implosion, and when that happens changes need to be made.
I was originally referring to Joe Nathan to blow the game, as he has been slowly gaining my confidence back. His ace eighth inning of work and the absolute mess of a job Matt Capps made of things in the ninth only confirmed the rumblings of a collective conscious inside Target Field last night: return Joe Nathan to the closer role.
Now on the surface a knee jerk reaction like this seems like a viable solution, but it’s not that simple.
What complicates things is what to do with Matt Capps if he is forced out of the closer role? At this point he is very much not worth Wilson Ramos and he’s not going to go to Triple A. With the go-to option for struggling bullpen pitchers gone, the only other one the Twins have is to trade him.
But who wants him?
The trade market right now consists of starting pitchers. In addition to that, if a team is in need of a closer, they’re:
A) a contender who would never invest an inning into Capps given is erratic pitching and fragile ego
B) going to go after Heath Bell of San Diego who is a star closer that stomps all over any trade appeal Capps barely has.
The setup role for Minnesota can easily be filled by any number of guys sitting out in left centerfield. Everyone from Anthony Swarzak to Glen Perkins and even Jose Mijares can fill the shoes of a setup man. That would allow Nathan to slip back into his original job of closer and bring a bit of calm back to the end of games.
Which is ironic as it used to be Nathan we huffed and puffed about. Amazing what another guys collapse and utter self destruction can do to your worth.
So the situation with Capps isn’t so much who can fill the gaps shifting him out of the closer role creates (anybody on staff here could fill Capps role at this point), it’s what to do with him. No matter how you feel the Twins should deal with him everyone, much like it was at the ballpark last night, is in universal of disgust with him.