By his own admission, Twins general manager Bill Smith seemed to grasp the absurdity of overpaying at the trade deadline. “There is a fine line between patience and impatience or patience and panic,” He told MLB.com’s Kelly Thesier, “You don’t want to overreact either way.”
Nevertheless, Smith ignored this philosophy by shipping his number one trading chip in Wilson Ramos to Washington for closer in Matt Capps. It’s basically like encouraging everyone at a party to behave like responsible adults then jump in to the pool with a lampshade on your head.
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.
The Twins just traded their best trade chip to add the fifth best reliever to their bullpen. What’s more, two weeks ago it appeared that the Twins could’ve had Cliff Lee for Wilson Ramos and Aaron Hicks – and now the Twins have Matt Capps and Aaron Hicks. Plus, it appears our hope that the Twins have money to spend at the trade deadline might have been misplaced. And, of course, there are only 36 hours until the trade deadline.
Capps will replace Jon Rauch as the Twins' closer, after going 26-for-30 on save chances for Washington this year, and posting a 2.74 ERA. He was Washington's All-Star representative this year, which is a bit like being the top opera singer in Stearns County, but never mind that.
He's also arbitration-eligible next year, rather than being a free agent like Rauch, which made him even more attractive for Minnesota. Effectively, he's under team control for another year and two months.