Last year was Capps' worst in the big leagues. The Twins apparently decided that he’s the best player available to fill the vacant closer role that opened up after Joe Nathan left for the Texas Rangers.
Closers are mainly judged on one stat, saves, and last year wasn't a good year in the saves department. For the whole 2011 season Capps only had 15 saves in 69 games; compare that to when Capps came to the Twins halfway through 2010, after which time he converted 16 saves in only 27 games.
So Capps pitched in 42 more games last year for the Twins, resulting in one less save which is unacceptable. It’s hard to save games for a team that lost 99 games, but appearing in 42 more games for the same team one year later should result in more, not less, saves.
It’s not only saves that show Capps had a horrible year; he had a 4.25 ERA (the second highest in his career as a full-time player), gave up 10 home runs (tied for the second most home runs given up in a year by Capps), was on the hook for seven losses (tied for second most in his career), and tallied just 34 strikeouts, the lowest amount in his career.
Capps won’t cost too much for the Twins, as he was only paid about $7 million last year and with the Twins declining arbitration he will receive less than that. No matter what the cost, the Twins should have just let him walk.
If Capps would have been let go and signed with another team, the Twins would have received a sandwich pick between the first and second round of the upcoming MLB Draft as compensation.
It’s not like the Twins don’t have someone ready to toe the rubber as the closer, Glen Perkins looks like he’s very capable of handling the job. He had a 2.48 ERA last year and was one of the few bright spots on a shaky Twins roster.
The Twins did make a signing this offseason, but it sure didn't look like a very good one.