Nationals Find A New Closer, Sign Matt Capps

Last week I wrote a post titled “Brian Bruney Strikes Fantasy Gold.” The reasoning behind the post was that with no other options in Washington, it looked like Bruney would become the Nationals’ closer in 2010.

Whoops!

That’s what the kids call these days as “Jumping the gun.” Bruney’s reign as closer in Washington lasted maybe two weeks.

According to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com, the Nationals have signed former Pittsburgh Pirates closer Matt Capps to a one-year, $3.5 million contract. Capps can earn another $425,000 based on the number of games finished.

Capps is the new closer in DC

So far this offseason, the Nationals have added a solid starter in Jason Marquis, an eighth inning set-up man in Bruney, and now their closer in Capps. I won’t mention the Ivan Rodriguez signing because that was a terrible move.

But overall, the Nationals have had a very active and productive offseason. The Capps signing was a good move for both clubs for a couple of reasons.

For Capps, he had offers from the Chicago Cubs and the New York Mets, but chose the Nationals because they give him the best shot to be a closer and to re-establish his value for next offseason.

After having solid 2007 and 2008 seasons, Capps really fell off in 2009. Capps had a 5.80 ERA and registered the highest BB/9 rate of his career (2.8/9).

He also registered the highest K/9 of his career as well (7.6/9). Perhaps Capps just needs a change of scenery. The Nationals will give Capps that change of scenery in 2010.
For the Nationals, this is another move to help try to improve upon a disastrous bullpen in 2009. I don’t mind a rebuilding team signing veteran players as long as A. It doesn’t block a prospect from getting a shot and B. the contract doesn’t become an albatross in the future.
The Capps signing doesn’t do either.
Capps will not block Drew Storen’s development as the closer of the future and Capps only signed a one-year deal. No harm, no foul.
Plus, if Capps does have a bounce back year, the Nationals could always trade him for prospects in July or August. Contending teams always are looking for bullpen help down the stretch.
Capps will be 27-years-old next year and has a career 3.61 ERA in five seasons with the Pirates.
You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg
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