• Matt Capps signs for $7.15 million, avoiding arbitration:  Hooray for overpaid middle relievers! Good thing he has closer experience, which will make it much easier to unload him for marginal prospects at the trade deadline, since the Twins  certainly won’t be contending this season.  On one hand, I don’t necessarily blame Bill Smith for keeping Capps and dealing Hardy.  The organization only has so much money to spend, and while I would have preferred they kept Hardy because of his value on defense, Hardy obviously had more trade value than Capps.  The Twins also needed relief help more than they needed a middle infielder, with half of the bullpen departing via free agency.  The Twins don’t exacly have a shortage of infield depth, with a bevy of cheap, replacement-level middle infielders in Trevor Plouffe, Luke Hughes, Matt Tolbert and Alexi Casilla. Perhaps an infield of Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Alexi Casilla isn’t ideal, but the organization had to save money somewhere, and the front office clearly felt that Hardy would seek more a deal worth more than $6 million.  Unfortunately, they were wrong.
  • J. J. Hardy signs for $5.85 million, avoiding arbitration:  Because that trade didn’t look bad enough to begin with, Hardy signed a one-year contract with the Orioles for a ridiculously low price. I am sure he will have a spectacular season and will earn Type A free agent status too, meaning the O’s will more than get back the middling prospects they surrendered in the deal.   I am really, really hoping that Jim Hoey and Brett Jacobsen turn out to be the second coming of Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera, or Bill Smith will have traded an elite defender and power-hitting shortstop for nothing.