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Come To Think Of It: Cubs Interest in Matt Capps Hits Snag

Bob Warja@@bobwarjaSenior Writer IDecember 15, 2009

ST. LOUIS - APRIL 6:  Matt Capps #55 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals during Opening Day on April 6, 2009 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Pirates beat the Cardinals 6-4. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The sudden interest in former Pirates closer Matt Capps really has me scratching my head. I guess teams smell blood, and want to seize an opportunity to sign a pitcher recently given his walking papers by a team badly in need of pitching but who realizes his value in arbitration would be over-inflated by his save totals.

It may seem a cheap and easy way for the Cubs to improve the bullpen. But not so fast.

Sure, he saved 27 games last season. But if there is a stat more meaningless than saves, then I haven't seen it yet.

Even more bothersome is the fact that his once above league average fastball doesn't have the movement it once had. Yes, he still throws hard, but they are 94 mph meatballs.

Didn't the Cubs see enough of that with Kevin Gregg?

Capps had two 1-2-3 innings last year, and one was in a non-save situation. Yet his age (26) and the hope that he will come relatively cheaply appeals to a team that has little or no payroll flexibility like the Cubs.

Capps has been vulnerable to left-handed hitters, who torched him in 2009 for a .342/.373/.641 (AVG/OBP/SLG) line, by far the biggest platoon split he's shown; he gave up eight home runs to left-handed hitters, all on fastballs

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Sure, teams like the Cubs are not viewing Capps as a closer but as a set up man. In that role, he's worth a flier as a right-handed specialist who has late-game experience. I'm just afraid that the sudden attention could price him beyond his worth.

If Capps could be acquired at a reasonable price, then I would say "go ahead." That isn't as likely as it may have initially appeared however, and I wouldn't give him closer money.

Meanwhile, while teams are signing the John Lackeys of the world, Chicago is spending all of their time trying to trade Milton Bradley without having to pay his entire salary. 

And that "capps" a very disappointing offseason so far, come to think of it.

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