July 30, 2010

Twins get Matt Capps from Nationals for Wilson Ramos and Joe Testa

Matt Capps was available for nothing this offseason. Non-tendered by the Pirates in December following a career-worst campaign that saw him post a 5.80 ERA and .324 opponents' batting average while serving up 10 homers in 54.1 innings, Capps became a free agent and signed a one-year, $3.5 million deal with the Nationals in large part because they were one of the only teams willing to promise him an opportunity to remain a closer.

And last night the Twins decided to overpay for that closing experience, acquiring Capps from the Nationals for Wilson Ramos and Joe Testa. To be clear, Capps is a good, solid late-inning reliever. He bounced back nicely in Washington with a 2.74 ERA and 38-to-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 46 innings and has a 3.50 ERA in 317 career innings. However, if not for his racking up 93 saves for bad teams I'm convinced the Twins never would have even considered this move.

Much like the Twins turning to Jon Rauch with Joe Nathan sidelined, Capps' reputation as an "experienced closer" comes largely from teams simply giving him a shot to accumulate saves. Rauch has done a perfectly fine job filling in for Nathan, converting 21-of-25 saves with a 3.05 ERA and 27-to-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 38.1 innings, and if given a longer opportunity may have turned himself into an "established closer" just like Capps did. Seriously.

Take a look at their respective career numbers as relievers:

           IP     ERA     FIP    SO/9    BB/9     AVG     OBP     SLG     OPS
Capps     317    3.50    3.80     7.0     1.7    .263    .302    .415    .717
Rauch     402    3.54    3.90     7.5     2.7    .242    .297    .390    .687

Capps has had better control, Rauch has been tougher to hit, and their overall effectiveness is nearly identical across the board. If pressed I'd pick Capps over Rauch because he's younger and has fared better in Expected Fielding Independent Pitching (xFIP), but by far the biggest difference between them is that one has accumulated saves for four seasons while the other has accumulated saves for one season.

No one would ever suggest that trading Ramos for a reliever who's slightly better than Rauch is a sound idea, yet by focusing on the save statistic the Twins have done just that and many fans will instinctively be on board with the move for an "established closer." Now, don't get me wrong: Capps is a quality reliever and represents a clear upgrade to the Twins' bullpen. What he's not is an elite reliever or enough of an upgrade to part with Ramos.

Capps is under team control as an arbitration-eligible player next season as well, which means the Twins essentially traded Ramos and Testa for 1.5 seasons of him. Unfortunately part of his inflated perceived value includes his likely price-tag in arbitration, which is sure to rise from this year's $3.5 million salary to over $5 million (and perhaps well over $5 million) thanks to those same shiny-looking save totals.

Capps makes the Twins better for the final two months of this season and all of next year, but the improvement isn't nearly as large as the "All-Star closer" label would have you believe and the cost involved is significant in terms of both players and money. Next season the Twins will pay a premium for a quality setup man they perceive as something more because of a reliance on a flawed statistic and they gave up a good catching prospect for the right do that.

In fairness, Ramos' value is inflated as well. His historic debut caused the Twins fans who don't know any better to assume that he was destined for stardom and his subsequent struggles at Triple-A have exposed him as a good but not great prospect. However, he still projects as a good defender behind the plate and a 22-year-old being overmatched in his first experience at Triple-A is far from disastrous.

I'm not convinced that Ramos will become a star, but the possibility certainly exists and at the very least he looks capable of developing into a starting-caliber catcher for many years. Joe Mauer's presence meant Ramos had little shot to be that starting-caliber catcher in Minnesota, but that doesn't mean the Twins needed to deal him immediately or when his value was at an all-time low or for an underwhelming return like Capps.

I have no problem with trading Ramos or trading for bullpen help, and in the Twins' minds they just traded him for an "All-Star closer." In reality they traded Ramos for a setup-caliber reliever who accumulated saves on bad teams and is thus overrated and soon overpaid. Among the 93 pitchers who've logged 150-plus relief innings in the past three calendar years, Capps ranks 38th in xFIP, 49th in FIP, 50th in ERA, 61st in strikeout rate, and 85th in opponents' average.

You'd think the Twins would have learned something about the created-not-born nature of the closer role and often spurious value of saves from Rauch's relatively successful stint filling in for Nathan, but instead they just paid a premium for a guy whose perceived value and ability are much higher than his actual value and ability solely because of his role and save total. Capps is a good reliever, but the Twins paid for a great reliever and did so for all the wrong reasons.

  • Bernie

    argh…starring / starting…

  • junkie

    Brian-

    The cards got swept last year by the dogers, who’s team is pretty equivalent to the Twins this year. The phillies aren’t even in the play offs as of now, and if they do make it, Pavano out pitched Halladay earlier this season IN philly. Liriano compares to either Oswalt or Hamels, if not better than them. and their bullpen blows. the Rays have a better staff, but other than crawford, longoria and zobrist, who can hit?

    And well the Yanks, we gotta get lucky there.

    But that doesnt mean you give up.

  • http://thefobl.com Buddy Grant

    “the Twins and their fans overestimate the value of their prospects.”

    I have seen this worthless quote parroted by several defenders of this deal in the last 24 hours. All baseball fans dramatically overestimate their teams prospects, and they hope their teams GM does as well. Instead, the Twins front office tends to do the opposite. Little faith in Neshak or Bartlett, and the assumption that Garza was just another of many interchangeable SP prospects, instead of an elite starting pitcher prospect. Little faith in most of the current minor leaguers they have, including some great looking relief prospects.

    Even if the Twins have lost faith in Ramos, they made a classic bonehead deal here by buying high and selling low. He’s not a Dayton Moore, but this deal and several previous ones make me question Smith’s player valuation ability. I fear we may have one of the bottom five GM’s in baseball.

  • yefrem

    the more i ponder this, the more i like it. CAPPS gives gardenhire a lot more options, and if the twins play their cards right, CAPPS could save the team money in the long-term.

  • Mell

    This is the 1st sign that Twins bullpen will be much different next year. Most likely two of these three will not be on the 2011 roster – Rauch, Crain, Guerrier. It also means that they believe Neshek will be ready and possibly one of the other fellas in the minors. With impending raises they will have to cut money somewhere and paying more $25 million (with Nathan’s salary) for a bullpen won’t happen with this team. Next year could be Nathan’s last year (2012 buyout of $2mil). What we are seeing is the evolution of the bullpen (Capps and Slama) while maintaining a top quality team.

  • JR Cigar

    Gleeman had major issues when the Twins included Eduardo Morlan in the Garza-Delmon trade. Three years later and Morlan hasn’t sniffed the bigs. Meanwhile, we’re seeing Delmon blossom at the ripe old age of 24. Bartlett and Garza continue to contribute for TB. TB still got the best of that trade. Three years from now, it may be different. That’s the beauty of baseball. It’s so tough to project these young guys. We’ll see how Ramos plays out in DC.

  • Gendo

    Fire Bill Smith, hire Kim Ng. Praise Allah.

  • jacksonattack

    Sometimes I wonder why I bother to read these write-ups on the trades the front office makes. Yes, Capps is overvalued because of his position. Sure, Ramos could blossom into a great prospect. But the fact of the matter is that this is a move that could help them win the World Series this year.

    I love you, AG, but at some point you have to give up the ghost on certain prospects and completely 100% fair trades (because they don’t exist).

    To set the record straight, I think we overpaid, but Capps is going to be very valuable down the stretch and he helps shore up some problems AG wrote about earlier this month with the bullpen. Ramos was probably never gonna make it to Minnesota full-time, and everyone needs to realize that… Billy pulled the trigger because they’re trying to make a push… and this deal also shows that opposing GM’s were able to take advantage of Ramos’ depreciated value because of the Mauer situation.

    All in all, I’m totally fine with this.

  • Jake

    I like the general idea. The Twins tried to get Oswalt or Lilly but it just wasn’t going to happen. We kind of needed another setup quality reliever and we got it.

    Ramos is over rated locally I feel. I think most circles don’t peg him as a top 50 or 75 prospect necessarily the way we do. It hasn’t helped for him to struggle at AAA because now he again looks a couple or few years out potentially.

    However, Ramos and Testa is still too much for a year and a half of control over a setup guy that you basically are having to really pay for. Seriously. Why did we have to throw in the second piece? I feel like the Twins just got schooled.

    But let’s look at the bright side. Ramos/Testa weren’t going to help us this season and Capps absolutely will help. Our bullpen looks much stronger now that we have added a guy who in all honestly might now be our best reliever.

    So while long term we kind of got screwed this young man will certainly help this team with the stretch run.

  • TR

    Jacksonattack: I think you summed it up very well. No trade is perfect. Each team has different motivations when they do a deal and you go with what you know at a given point in time. Hey, the Twins think they need some bullpen help and they made a move to fix it. Other teams do this stuff and their fans expect it. We do it and everyone is wringing their hands that we paid too much.

  • Josh

    I’m not wild about this deal, but I don’t hate it like Gleeman. Partly because I was increasingly believing that we were putting too high a value on Ramos, both in terms of his ability/ceiling as a player and more importantly his value as a tradeable asset.

    It seemed increasingly likely that other MLB clubs saw Ramos as a marginal starter, not the high-level player we thought he’d be at the start of the year. we saw this in our attempts to get starting pitching using him as a trade asset: teams wanted another one of our best prospects plus pitching to get anything done.

    Now, I tend to agree that paying much for relief pitching is generally a bad idea, and the Twins experience in this area should be telling. But this team has the ability to get to the post-season and do something while there, and if the bullpen is a mess, it’s not going to happen. I’m not sure rolling the dice a bit to try and make it happen this year is a poor idea, especially since this hardly cripples us as a franchise.

    we’ll see. I don’t think it’s great, but I think it’s a move that will help this year, gives some roster flexibility for next season, and doesn’t wreck anything long-term (which is what giving up someone like Hicks would be, IMHO).

  • Scott

    Jake,

    Ramos was rated the #58 prospect in baseball by Baseball America, so clearly his perceived value is not just being touted locally. Also, the fact that Ramos was not going to contribute this year (or any) is not the point that people against the trade are making. Everyone realizes this, but the point is the Twins overpaid. It’s as if people are thinking we just had to get rid of Ramos at the first chance. Bullpen help could have been acquired after the deadline at a much cheaper price, and Ramos could have had the chance to improve next year and reestablish his full value.

    Capps will undoubtedly help the pen, but he’s not elite and we paid the Nats like he is.

  • Gendo

    “But the fact of the matter is that this is a move that could help them win the World Series this year.”

    Awwwww :)

  • http://Twinsgeek.com Twins Geek

    Nice summary Aaron. I’ve heard so many people defending this trade that I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.

  • Matt

    Here’s the thing… there’s no basis for assuming the flawed save stat mattered at all to the Twins in making this trade. That’s empty speculation that isn’t based in reality. The reality is the Twins traded from a position of strength (catcher) for a position of weakness (relief pitching). We upgraded from our worst reliever to a very good reliever. The save stat has no relevance in that at all.

    Gleeman does a lot of speculation in this article. He didn’t do any investigation. He hasn’t cited a source that says the Twins did this because they wanted someone with saves. He hasn’t cited any articles where that’s been indicated. He just makes up a rational for the trade and then presents it like its the truth. His analysis is on, but only if his assumptions are correct. There’s no reason to think his assumptions are right, and there’s no basis for his assertion that the Twins made this deal because of the save stat.

  • db

    Quantitative analysis (i.e. sabremetrics) is preceise only in a vacuum

    - It does NOT take into consideration the supply and demand economics of players and required positions (Twins needed SP and bullpen help, both of which are in high demand in a thin pool of players this year)

    - It does NOT take into consideration players ahead (blocking) or behind (pushing) in an organization

    - It does NOT take into consideration a variety of other factors

    The Twins heading into the trade deadline were worried about SP, bullpen, and 3b (most of which were pointed out in this blog)…Valencia and a healthy Casilla helped ease the concerns about acquiring another infielder. The Twins were aggressive in the SP market (or so we are told). It is not shocking that Seattle nor the Diamondbacks were high on Ramos as much as the public thinks, otherwise Lee would be anchoring a Twins rotation.

    If we look at the stats when the Delmon trade went down, Tampa is the beneficiary STATISTIC wise so far. If we rewind the clock, everyone needs to keep in mind, we had OF holes to fill (Shanon Stewart was gone and Lew Ford was NOT going to cut it). The Twins had NOTHING in the cupboard in terms of position player prospects ready at AAA. We did have a MASSIVE supply of crappy infielders and pitchers. We dealt from an economic position of strength to address an economic position of weakness.

    I like the Capps trade…dont love it, but like it. It helps us this year, and gets us insurance next year.

  • itch

    I wonder what the price for Chad Qualls was. I would rate him as equal to Capps (despite an ugly current ERA), and he may have been much cheaper to acquire.

  • mike wants wins

    Twins starters: 10th in ERA and OPS allowed. Twins’ bullpen: 1st in ERA, and 5th in OPS allowed. How is the bullpen a weakness that needs to be addressed? (all stats AL only). Capps will cost 5-7MM next year (thanks to arbitration also over valuing saves as a unit of measure of value). I’m not sure how that is cheap, as some have implied. @Matt: the Twins (BS specifically) has cited his “veteran experience” as a closer. I suppose AG could quote all the articles freely available on the STrib….@Scott, thank you for finding the Ramos ranking by the most acclaimed organization in publicly ranking prospects. 58th best prospect at the beginning of the year, and they turned him into a medium quality relief pitcher. Ouch.

  • Pedro Munoz

    “I have a lot of faith in the Twins scouts. Do I trust them more than the evaluation of a sabermetrician? No comment.”

    I am not sure exactly where that faith comes from. On the decisions where the resident sabermetrician has disagreed with the scouts, I would say the sabermetrician has a better track record.

  • http://www.jmichaelward.com Jeremy

    I wouldn’t say that Gleeman was overwhelmingly positive about the Pierzynski trade, but this is far from negative analysis (taken from here: http://aarongleeman.com/2003_11_16_baseballblog_archive.html)

    “Ultimately, I don’t think there is really any way for the Pierzynski-trade to be viewed as a bad one. At worst, they lost one good year from Pierzynski, who was almost certainly a goner after next year anyway. I would be willing to bet just about anything that Joe Mauer will not be better than Pierzynski offensively next year, but I still think Mauer will be a productive major league catcher. And in exchange for that drop-off, the Twins got three valuable pitchers and saved a couple million bucks.

    Of course, there is a big difference between not being a “bad” trade and being a “good” one. I think whether or not this deal ends up being a good one hinges on either Bonser or Liriano becoming a solid major league pitcher. As for the odds of that? Who knows. It’s tough playing Miss Cleo with pitching prospects, especially ones with declining K-rates and shoulder problems. “

  • http://www.jmichaelward.com Jeremy

    That was, of course, in response to the question as to whether or not he’s liked ANY trade.

  • thegeneral13

    I can tell you with certainty that a particularly intelligent front office loved Ramos heading into this season, and a poor half season in AAA as a 22 year old does not bridge the gap b/t what that team would have given up to get him and what the Twins just received, which is a moderately effective NL reliever who now has to face AL lineups. This is a complete abortion – you do not trade one of the top 2-3 prospects in your system for Matt F’ing Capps, regardless of the competitive situation of your team – Matt F’ing Capps is not a difference maker.

  • Mike Green

    One thing is clear, it being Friday. Wilson Ramos does not look as good in a bathing suit as Mila Kunis, and Matt Capps does not sing as well as Otis Redding.

  • Jeff H

    Here’s the dirty truth: If the Twins even occasionally produced relievers with fastballs in the mid-90′s through their farm system, the idea of a Matt Capps on your team wouldn’t be as exotic. Just think about the number of hardthrowing closer candidates all over baseball (on good teams and bad teams) that have appeared in the past two years: Marmol, Neftali Feliz, Storen, Bard, Chris Perez, John Axford, Joaquin Benoit, and the list goes on and on and on. Except for Jesse Crain, the Twins haven’t had ANYBODY like that in the past decade. All we produce is middle-rotation starters and guys with quirky deliveries (Neshek and Slama). I only point this out because if people realized how easy it is to generate a Matt Capps-type reliever from within, they wouldn’t be so motivated to TRADE for him.

  • Shaitan

    Thank you, Matt. It’s about time somebody pointed out that this whole “article” is based on speculation.

    That said, I like the move. Remember what happened last time Guerrier was overworked? I believe the Twins didn’t win the division…this move gives them flexibility to avoid overuse.

    Did they give up too much for a reliever? I don’t know. Bullpens are far more important than they used to be.

  • Gendo

    The “numbers” aren’t based on speculation. The ugliness of them is staring you right in the face.

  • Gendo

    Can you imagine being sellers in this market? Selling Delmon during his fluke half season with the market as bare as it is would bring huge returns. Thome would have been a great sell off piece to an AL East team as well. They may have even been able to get stuff back for getting out from underneath Cuddyer’s terrible contract and start fixing the smoldering remains of their pitching staff.

  • Andy

    Matt-

    I suspect that Aaron’s “speculation” as to the reasoning of the Twins’ front office is based, not only on comments made to the press, but on the simple fact that there is nothing noteworthy about Capp’s numbers except his saves. It can’t be that the Bill Smith traded for Capp in view of his great peripherals, because Capp doesn’t have them. So unless you think that the Twins must have evaluated Capp using some kind of super secret metrics (and, obviously, you could justify literally any trade this way), it seems likely that Capp’s role as a closer was decisive here.

  • Matt

    Gendo –

    You’re right, the numbers aren’t speculation. That was exactly my point before… the numbers show a good reliever. Any talk about saves being the reason for the trade is speculation.

    Andy -

    What comments to the press? I’ve read the coverage. There aren’t any quotes from the front office about saves or anything. I disagree that there’s nothing noteworthy about Capp’s numbers. To quote Gleeman, “Capps is a good, solid late-inning reliever. He bounced back nicely in Washington with a 2.74 ERA and 38-to-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 46 innings and has a 3.50 ERA in 317 career innings.” It’s after that line that Gleeman simply asserts that the Twins wouldn’t have done this if he hadn’t had a bunch of saves. That’s just a bald assertion with no support. It’s poor writing in general, and irresponsible coverage for someone that a lot of people rely on for meaningful analysis. I’ve got no problem with Gleeman being critical of moves the Twins make. I think he’s generally pretty even-handed and he does a good job of reevaluating and making corrections to his analysis. But this doesn’t fall under that category. This is unsupported speculation.

  • Gendo

    Based on those numbers I don’t see how you could reach any other conclusion. The numbers provided don’t justify the pieces they sent to acquire Capps.

    So it’s either SAVES or they value good ‘ol fashioned scoutin’ over numbers.

    I’m really not sure which is more troubling.

    Either one leads to early golfing.

  • Abe

    I’d feel bad about this trade but I’m still waiting for BJ Garbe, Ryan Mills, David McCarty, Adam Johnson, Matt Moses, and Willie Banks to break through with the big club…wait, what?

  • ChrisChris

    A trade is no excuse to not have a Link-O-Rama!!!

  • Gendo

    Abe you’re confusing two concepts there quite intentionally I think! The point is not that they should have held onto Ramos indefinitely, but that as a prospect his potential has value for which the Twins got poor return on.

  • Scott

    Here’s the full quote:

    “This makes us a better club,” Twins general manager Bill Smith said. “Matt is a veteran closer, a veteran reliever and he’s going to be a very good fit for this club. We’ve had an interest in Matt Capps for a long time, and this was a good opportunity for us to acquire him. It gives us a better chance to win the division and hopefully advance to the World Series.”

    Clearly they view him as a closer first and a reliever second. What is the first statistic mentioned when discussing closers? The save. Don’t tell me this wasn’t a deciding factor in this deal. But whether Smith said that or not, there’s plenty of proof that the Twins’ organization in general has been extremely slow to accept any form of sabermetrics.

  • duane

    I don’t have any problem with this trade. It’s better than the status quo. It adds some depth to a bullpen that needed it.

  • Gendo

    Change for its own sake is never a good thing.

    Resuming my futile pining for Kim Ng.

  • Gendo

    And by the way for anyone that wonders how Aaron could reach the conclusion that Bill favors the vaunted SAVE as his go to statistic need I remind you of this choice Bill Smith quote:

    “Who do you want, a guy who’s 10-15 with a 2.80 ERA or a guy who’s 16-8 with a 7.00 ERA? I’ll take the 16-8.

    ugh

  • junkie

    Gendo- only because in that case, his team would be winning. He’s not referring to the pitcher only. He’s talking at the end of the year would you have say Slowey for example sake be such and such. In which case 16-8 would be better be cause the Twins would win. He’s not comparing two different pitchers and saying he wants the second case.

  • junkie

    One thing people are forgetting is that this gives us much more flexibility in the bullpen this offseason. With our three best relievers this year being free agents. Capps will be a must less expensive option than signing one of those three to fill the role he is filling now.

    I mean now we can let Guerrier walk and pick up two picks, instead of feeling like we needed to resign our set up man.

    So maybe this trade is more like two first rounders and capps and more cap space for ramos and testa. Would you do that trade?

  • Gendo

    Capps is going to get a huge dumb arbitration number. The idea that he’s going to be cheap is false.

    This fanbase is never going to hold this organization accountable for its backwards way of thinking. They’re stuck in the stone ages of player evaluation and they’ll continue to be victimized by teams that actually have full time statisticians (you know all the rest of them).

  • Gendo

    Twins are supposedly going after former wife beater Brett Myers now. So you this is a great trade folks should get to work on posts minimizing him punching his wife.

  • MNGC

    Everyone against this trade is focusing on only one valuation metric, which is a mathematically-driven Sabermetric-type metric that is often valid, but not appropriate in all circumstances. Further, this group suggests that the front office and trade defenders are focusing on another metric, saves, which it considers invalid. While the opponents may be right that the saves metric is not a good way to measure the value of a pitcher, they are wrong to assume that is the key measure supporting the trade. There is a more basic measure – market value.

    Think of it this way. The Twins put Wilson Ramos on MLB eBay, with an auction closing July 29. Price: “whatever best helps us win this year.” All other teams could bid, and the highest bid was Matt Capps.

    You can argue all day about generally worthwhile stats like OPS and FIP and how they translates into WAR and wins in 2013, but the fact of the matter is that the market, with full knowledge of all of Wilson Ramos’ potential and weaknesses, just decided that his value was no greater than that of Matt Capps, and the Twins decided that, of all the bids for Wilson Ramos, Matt Capps gave them the best chance to win this year.

  • mike wants wins

    Capps already makes more than any Twin reliever not named Nathan. He’ll get a big raise in arbitration. He won’t be cheaper than Crain, Guerrier or anyone else not named Nathan.

  • Scott

    MNGC,

    But you’re making it sound like the Twins HAD to deal Ramos this year. The argument for the trade is so weak that the supporters are creating this fallacy that we were required to trade Ramos by this year’s deadline. If that is something the Twins front office actually set as a goal, then the trade should be ripped even more as they held the gun to their own head.

    What was wrong with allowing Ramos to regain his value next season rather than selling low on him? I like what the Twins got in the trade, but not at that cost.

  • jacksonattack

    “Can you imagine being sellers in this market? Selling Delmon during his fluke half season with the market as bare as it is would bring huge returns. Thome would have been a great sell off piece to an AL East team as well. They may have even been able to get stuff back for getting out from underneath Cuddyer’s terrible contract and start fixing the smoldering remains of their pitching staff.”

    This is the exact problem that frustrates me so much about the small market minded Twins fans. Yes, you have to build for the future, but why on God’s green earth would you trade away players that are helping you win games in a year where a championship is possible? That’s ludicrous. Sure, you’re infatuated with the upside of a certain player we could obtain for Young or Thome, but who’s to say they won’t bust like Young did for a little while??? It’s all stupid speculation and an obsession with potential. I’m taking current production over future potential in a year where the World Series is obtainable any and every day of the week. And… Smoldering remains of the pitching staff…. If you’re harping on SABR numbers you should at least know that other than Blackburn and occasionally Slowey the Twins’ rotation has been phenomenal this year, just with bad luck in many instances.

    As far as Ramos… I clearly didn’t get my point across above. The problem I see here is that Ramos’ value depreciated simply because he was blocked. Knowing that the Twins were not going to be having much of a need for him in the foreseeable future, teams interested in Ramos drove down his value despite his overall talent and potential demanding a higher level of value. Yes, Ramos was a steep price for Capps, but we have little need for Ramos and acquiring a more valuable player may have never happened with just Ramos involved (as evidenced by the Lee trade talks).

  • http://n/a Jesse

    the Dodgers get Lilly for Blake Dewitt? Freaking Blake Dewitt! Lilly projects as a type A free agent so all the Dodgers need to do if offer Lilly arbitration (which he won’t accept) and they get 2 1st round picks as compensation. The Twins couldn’t beat this deal?

  • brian

    This was a great thread to read. Lotsa fun. A couple things:

    It was a responder to my post that said “give up,” not me.

    I just think that the Twins are primarily a regular season entertainment, not a World Series winning one. I am comfortable with that, the stats on that being all it is bear it out. I just don’t know why other people are not comfortable with that. I just think it’s weird when people go from that to, say, “World Series champion” or “win it this year.” When you hear stuff like that, you know emotion is entering the equation, and this blog has moved from being about fun stat-heads and fantasy front office to talk radio.

    Sure, there are playoff series upsets, they happen every year. And they are fun. But there is almost never a team in history that is a statistical underdog (particularly starting pitching) to overcome those odds through three rounds of playoffs. So using LAD over the cards in one round, or wild-card teams that won it all when their playoff starters and relievers had better stats than their opponents isn’t addressing this. It is OK to enjoy baseball anyway.

    I like mike’s and gendo’s comments.

    As for the save stat, AG is correct in implying that the Twins, especially in their use of the media, is counting on this to sell this trade. But don’t blame AG, he has been pretty fair about compiling the stats to let them speak for themselves. The Twins gave up a lot in order to get someone now, for reasons unknown. Because on the face of it, it isn’t a good deal. That’s where AG stopped, rightfully. By doing so, he is asking us to do the speculating.

    Those stories would be something like the decline of Geurrier under workload, loss of confidence in Rauch, unreported nagging injuries, losing people next year, etc. Because the fact remains the Twins didn’t have to get rid of Ramos right now, and may have been more valuable trade commodity in September, or next year sometime.

    If Rodriguez doesn’t want to get to 600 home runs, there’s always Thome.

  • sugarknob

    MLB.com analysis says Twins panicked. “Balked” at giving up Ramos for Lee, but give him up for Capps. Truly boneheaded.

  • msmatt

    pretty sure they wanted 2 high-level prospects from us. it would have been Ramos AND someone like Hicks or Gibson. I would Balk at that too…

  • Twinstalker

    Matt Capps is likely a bigger contributor to the Twins over the next couple of years…at pretty big $$$. Ultimately, Capps may be a better player than Ramos. But that is hardly a way to evaluate a deal. Prospects like Ramos are keys to acquiring top performers, of which Capps isn’t one.

    In the middle of next season, when Ramos is killing AAA at Rochester, his value is immense and gets you next year’s Cliff Lee. You do not deal a prospect like Ramos for a non-special arm or bat simply because he will at some point command that price. It’s simple game theory, and Bill Smith has no clue about it, apparently.

    Basically, a chip that would eventually yield something big was thrown away, because the likes of Matt Capps can be gotten for a lot less. Rene Tosoni might not have gotten Matt Capps from Washington, but he could have brought his clone from some other team, and that’s why this is a putrid deal.