In an effort to continue to add depth to its bullpen, the Cleveland Indians signed former Minnesota Twins’ closer, Matt Capps, to a minor league deal. Capps, the winning pitcher in the 2010 All Star Game, inked the deal attached with a non-roster invite to Spring Training on the heels of the Twins buying the 29 year old out for $250,000 instead of a $6 million contract in 2013.
As recently as his All Star season, Capps recorded 42 saves and a 2.47 ERA. The former closer saved 14 of his first 15 attempts before shoulder inflammation derailed his year, limiting the righty to just four innings after June 15th.
The Tribe already sports Vinnie Pestano and Chris Perez, both relievers with high upside and closer experience. Perez has been outspoken in criticizing the Indians’ front office at times and may be a popular trade candidate around the All Star Break. Perez is set to make $7.3 million in salary in 2013 and is cost-controlled through 2014, which should be attractive for a team competing for a playoff spot, something Cleveland is not projected to be doing in late July.
For Capps, it will be a season to prove he can stay healthy. If so, the veteran may find himself competing with Pestano for the closer role in the event Perez is not with the team the whole year. The signing represents low risk and high upside for the Indians, who hope signing a pitcher with 138 career saves in 444 appearances will help solidify the late innings in Cleveland, but they are also not obligated to give Capps a roster spot with a slew of young, promising arms, competing for bullpen roles in Spring Training.