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Why Matt Capps Should Sign with the Washington Nationals

Josh LevittSenior Analyst IDecember 23, 2009

After sorting through a litany of teams that were interested in his services, Matt Capps has narrowed his choices down to two teams: the Nationals and the Cubs.

Ten days after he landed on the free-agent market, Capps has to decide whether he wants to be a closer for the Washington Nationals or a setup man and fallback closer candidate for the Cubs .

Agent Paul Kinzer said Tuesday that Capps plans to confer with his family and decide between the competing offers by Wednesday night.

"Matt is really comfortable with those two [teams] at this point,'' Kinzer said. "When it comes right down to it, he has to decide whether he's going to a place where he's definitely going to be the closer, or he's a setup man with a chance to maybe close.''

Capps, 26, amassed 66 saves from 2007 through 2009 in Pittsburgh.

Now, even though Capps has a much better chance to win with the Cubs in 2010 (and perhaps 2011), there is no doubt in my mind that he should sign with the Nationals.

Here's why: if Capps wants to maximize his earning potential, then he needs to be a closer. Sure, right now the market for closers is pretty weak, but historically closers have made far more money than relief pitchers, no matter how good the set-up man.

If Capps can be an effective closer for the Nationals for a year or two, he will be putting himself in a great position to earn big bucks down the road at 27 or 28.

In addition, there are so few closing jobs available this offseason that it would be foolish not to take one when it's offered. Right now, there are only a handful of teams other than the Nationals that need a closer, yet the market is over saturated with experienced closers.

Bottom line: there will be pitchers who expected to close games in 2010 who will not have that opportunity. Capps is one of the lucky few who can choose his own fate.

In short, despite the Nationals' past/future struggles, this is a opportunity that Capps needs to jump at because it's what's best for his career and his future earning potential.


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