Capps traded to Twins for Ramos, Testa [updated]
The Nationals have traded closer Matt Capps, the team’s lone All-Star representative, and cash to the Twins for catcher Wilson Ramos and left-hander Joe Testa.
Capps played his last game for Washington on Thursday afternoon and picked up his 26th save of the season as the Nationals defeated the Braves, 5-3.
Capps, 26, came to the Nationals this past offseason as a free agent, signing a one-year, $3.5 million contract. He helped improved a bullpen that was one of the worst in baseball last year.
When reached by phone, Capps was packing his suitcase and headed to Minnesota on Friday morning.
“I have a lot of emotions going on,” Capps said. “My concern is just getting everything ready, getting where I need to be and making sure that my wife is taking care of – making sure that everything is not thrown on her shoulders.”
Capps said he enjoyed his time with the Nationals, who signed him after he was non-tendered by the Pirates last December.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to go and play in the playoffs,” Capps said. “Right now, I’m saddened I’m leaving group of guys and the people in the Washington organization. They have been classy from the get go. When everything happened in December, when the Pirates non-tendered me, it was an empty feeling.
“The Washington Nationals and everyone involved has been absolutely phenomenal. It’s something that I will remember for long time. I certainly enjoyed my time. Now, I have to focus on moving forward and helping the Minnesota Twins.”
Capps said he spoke to Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and there wasn’t any indication if Capps was going to be the team’s closer. Right-hander Jon Rauch is currently the ninth-inning person.
With Capps gone, the Nationals will split the closer’s duties between Sean Burnett, Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen. Clippard and Storen were setup men, while Burnett was a situational lefty before the trade.
“I think that we have a lot of guys who are capable of filling Matt’s shoes,” Clippard said before the trade. “Matt as done well this year and meant a lot to our team. You don’t want to see him go.”
Ask if he and Storen could do the job as a closer,” Clippard said, “I think so. No doubt. I know Drew did it in the past in college. Myself, I feel I got a little taste of it earlier in the year. I got a save. I feel it would be role I would want to try to take over and see if I could do that.”
The Nationals are hoping to have Ramos, 22, for long time. The Nationals get one of the best catching prospects. He made his Major League debut this year for Minnesota and was 8-for-27 [.296] with an RBI.
Before the trade, Ramos was currently playing for Triple-A Rochester, hitting .241 with five home runs and 30 RBIs. Ramos will most likely go to Triple-A Syracuse.
The Nationals are in need of catching depth because Jesus Flores has missed the entire season because of a right shoulder injury and there isn’t a timetable on when he will return to the big leagues. He has dealt with this injury since May of 2009 when he was hit by foul tip off the bat of D-backs outfielder Chris Young.
Washington’s other catching prospect, Derek Norris, has also missed a lot of time because of injuries. He still needs to work on his game behind the plate.
As for Testa, he is a reliever and was a combined 2-5 with a 5.86 ERA for Class A Fort Myers and Double-A New Britain.
According to MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo, Testa, 24, has a fastball-cutter combination with some success. In his career, he’s got a 10.7 strikeout-per-nine ratio, with 196 K’s in 165 total innings.