Friday, January 27, 2012

Was Ryan Too Quick on the Trigger?

I've generally been pleased with the moves the Twins have made this offseason. In his return to the helm, Terry Ryan has wisely allowed some overpriced free agents to depart while signing solid producers like Josh Willingham and Ryan Doumit to bargain deals with little downside.

Two moves that have rubbed me the wrong way, however, are the Kevin Slowey trade and the Matt Capps signing. This isn't because I take issue with the decisions that were made – trading Slowey was certainly justifiable and Capps filled a need as a hard-throwing late-inning righty – but rather the timing.

Ryan has been aggressive in addressing needs and taking care of business this offseason. The Slowey swap and the Capps contract, like the majority of the Twins' moves this winter, were both pulled off before Christmas. However, in neither case was there a need to rush, and events that have occurred recently have made the Twins' haste in those decisions appear rather misguided.

I addressed my quibbles with the Slowey trade earlier this week, when I pointed out that new needs tend to arise for teams as the season approaches and that a better market to trade the embattled starter would have likely developed had the Twins simply shown patience.

With Capps, the Twins clearly overpaid. He's a solid reliever and his $4.75 million deal for next year might be considered reasonable in a different offseason, but not this year. Not with him coming off an ineffecitve campaign and with a sizable crop of similar right-handed relievers on the market competing for jobs. Not with Ryan Madson forced to settle for a one-year deal; with Brad Lidge signing for only $1 million; with Dan Wheeler taking a minor-league contract.

There's no way any other team was going to give Capps close to $5 million. Not even close.

I argued back when the Twins re-signed Capps that the public backlash against the move was excessive – because although I certainly recognized it as an overpay at the time, many folks failed to recognize that the righty does have value and will be a boost to the bullpen.

I also embraced the "no such thing as a bad one-year contract" mantra, reasoning that overpaying Capps by a couple million wouldn't hurt the club long-term and wouldn't prevent them from making other cost-effective moves to round out their bullpen. That's not how a high-revenue team playing in a new stadium should operate.

And yet, the Twins have now watched numerous inexpensive setup men come off the board at dirt-cheap prices – including Lidge and Wheeler, who both signed yesterday – while crying poor and suggesting that they're up against their payroll limit. The Joel Zumaya signing was nice, but he should be viewed more as a smart low-risk flier than a safe bet to lock down the seventh or eighth inning.

I'm not a person who has berated the Twins for lowering payroll and it doesn't really bother me that they're spending $30 million less than the Tigers, who play in a similar market. But if they're not willing to add a million dollars to their current payroll fill an obvious need, the Capps deal looks a whole lot worse.

Maybe this grumbling is all for naught. Maybe Ryan plans to nab one of the remaining relief arms to fill that right-handed setup role and provide the type of security that Zumaya and a crop of iffy internal candidates do not.

But if they don't sign anyone else because they significantly overspent in their eagerness to bring Capps back, the Twins will again be setting up their closer to be the villain in a bullpen that could easily turn out thin and unreliable for a second straight year.

45 comments:

TT said...

Nick -

Lets be clear. Capps is the Twins closer. He will cost about half as much as Madson this year and the Twins have an option on him for next year. I am not sure how that makes him "overpaid".

Lidge and Wheeler are both guys that would add bullpen depth, but neither one is a closer at this point. They simply aren't alternatives to Capps.

Lidge spent most of last year on the DL with a sore shoulder from a torn rotator cuff. According to this story http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/brad-lidge-washington-nationals-agree-to-terms/2012/01/26/gIQAorP2TQ_story.html his fastball is now in the high 80's. He isn't remotely a closer candidate.

Wheeler appeared in back to back games only 8 times last year. He is not remotely a guy who could take on the role of closing. He wouldn't even work as the primary right handed setup guy.

Both of these guys are different versions of Zumya. They are gambles who could turn out and provide some bullpen depth.

As always, there is the question of whether the Twins could have signed them even if they wanted to. This is not a marketplace. Players get to decide where they want to play.

In addition to being a closer, Capps is three years younger than any of those guys. Its very likely someone would have offered him a contract that was comparable to the Twins.

BTW - who should the Twins have released instead of trading Slowey? Because the timing of that deal was to open a roster spot. When you look at all the details of that deal, its pretty clear the Twins came out of it with a lot more than Colorado.

Anonymous said...

"When you look at all the details of that deal, its pretty clear the Twins came out of it with a lot more than Colorado."

What? Colorado ended up with a better prospect than the Twins. Do you mean it's pretty clear Colorado came out of it with more than the Twins? I hope that's what you mean - it really isn't even up for debate. At the end of the day the Rox got a guy everybody agrees is better than the guy the Twins got. So...

Anonymous said...

Up until the last sentence, TT was spot on. And he may be right about the last sentence when you factor in the money Colorado kicked in. In all likelihood, neither of those prospects is going to amount to much, but Colorado had to pay 40% of Slowey's contract.

Josh said...

The Twins overpaid for Capps. They've consistently overvalued him. How much did they overpay him by? Probably $1-$1.5M If this is what costs them a reliable RH power arm in the bullpen, that's pretty bad. I'm not sure it's what's holding them back on another guy, though.

This season is shaping up to be the biggest crapshoot season I can remember for the Twins. There are so few things you can truly count on with this club (Pavano pitching 200 innings? Ben Revere smiling?)

Nick N. said...

Both of these guys are different versions of Zumya. They are gambles who could turn out and provide some bullpen depth.

And the only thing that differentiates Capps from that group is that he was closing for part of last year, at least until he lost the job. He certainly needs to be included in your list of "gambles," as he's coming off one of the worst seasons of his career in which he was injured.

Capps is overpaid, in my mind, because I don't really care about his closing experience. Strictly as a reliever, his track record isn't much better than guys who are signing for less than half the price. Yes, he's fairly young, which is why I wasn't nearly as bothered as some by the re-signing, but Ryan's decision to jump on him quickly rather than letting this buyer's market play out looks questionable at best.

BTW - who should the Twins have released instead of trading Slowey? Because the timing of that deal was to open a roster spot.

The presence of players like Matt Maloney and Jeff Gray on the 40-man roster should not be pushing the Twins to move someone for minimal value.

TT said...

" neither of those prospects is going to amount to much, but Colorado had to pay 40% of Slowey's contract."

And provide a spot on their roster, which is the other part of the equation:

"Matt Maloney and Jeff Gray"

So now we are comparing "Maloney/Gray+$1.3 million+ Turpen" to Putnam.

I'm glad you aren't the GM. I am not sure I would trade Gray or Maloney straight up for Putnam. Those two are older, but look like they have about the same upside next year. I certainly wouldn't throw in that much money and another prospect to make that deal work.

TT said...

" his(Capps) track record isn't much better than guys who are signing for less than half the price. "

Who? You haven't identified anyone who remotely fits that description.

"he's coming off one of the worst seasons of his career in which he was injured."

Which is a large part of the reason he is available for two years at a reasonable cost. It would appear the Twins don't think his injury was very serious since he continued to pitch through it. To compare that to a guy with a torn rotator cuff is just silly.

TT said...

"There are so few things you can truly count on with this club"

I agree. There are questions at every position.

Justin Morneau is the poster boy for this team. He could be worthless. He could be an MVP.

The only thing the Twins have going for them is that they have a lot of possible answers like Morneau with a wide range of potential. If they get a lot of answers on the upside of that potential, they could be a very good team.

Anonymous said...

Capps has never been an effective closer for the Twins. No more effective than Jon Rauch was. Capps basically has one pitch with no movement. He is not a strikeout artist-most definitely a contact pitcher, which isn't that great when ur a closer. Mark my words: either Perkins or Zumaya will be our closer in the second half.

Mike said...

"Capps has never been an effective closer for the Twins. No more effective than Jon Rauch was."

You mean except for 2010, when Capps made 27 appearances for MN, throwing 27 innings with an ERA of 2.00, and converted 16 of 18 saves?

Rauch was 21/25 on saves, had an ERA of 3.12. Even as far as last year went, where Capps has been strongly criticized for his poor play, Rauch had a higher ERA (4.85 to 4.25), higher WHIP (1.35 to 1.20), and similarly poor save numbers (11/16 to 15/24) than Capps.

I'm not terribly high on Capps, but the guy did well in 2010 and is an okay risk given the contract this year.

Matt said...

Too many MLB teams over value the "position" of closer. I get that you want your best reliever in games where you're leading in the 9th, but most of those games are winnable by other pitchers (like, when 7-8-9 is due up, and your setup guy, who isn't as good, had to face 4-5-6 or whatever).
In short, guys who only pitch the 9th with leads are overpaid by lots of clubs. Signing a guy "to be our closer" and paying him a bundle of cash is a thing no GM should be doing, yet many of them do.
I would have rather seen Ryan bring in a bunch of guys, from inside and outside the organization, and let them compete for the high leverage reliever spots. No need to spend $5+MM on a relief pitcher, no matter which inning he pitches.

Sam said...

Um, those numbers prove exactly what Anon was getting at, that Capps and Rauch are pretty much interchangeable. At best Capps is slightly below average as a closer. Perkins could do at least as well, for a quarter of the salary. And you could add 1-2 more relievers to fill in Capps' salary. It's not that difficult to understand that the Capps signing was ill-advised. It's actually really, really simple.

Anonymous said...

So now we are comparing "Maloney/Gray+$1.3 million+ Turpen" to Putnam.

I'm glad you aren't the GM"

Well trust us, we're really, really glad you aren't the GM, because time and again you fundamentally misunderstand trade/player evaluation. The fact that the Twins got a roster spot out of the deal is so totally irrelevant I can't believe it needs to be explained. Suffice to say, when you swap out one player for a worse one on the 40-man roster, the 40-man roster gets weaker.

Again: it's Turpen vs. Putnam. Right now Putnam is much better. That's it.

Jim H said...

Every so often we see these discussions about "overvalued closers". I understand the arguments about why people feel closers are overrated and some points even make sense. Often the key outs and toughest occur in the 7th or 8th inning. Almost any reliever should be able to 3 outs before giving up 3 runs, especially if he starts the inning. There are other arguments.


The thing is though, there is a difference to getting outs in the
9th inning. Even if you have a 2 or 3 run lead, everything is more final in the 9th. If you get 3 outs before the tying run scores, the game is over. That isn't true in any other inning.

We would like to think professionals aren't really effected by pressure. To some degree, this is true. They are used to playing in front of large crowds and trying to perform well in critical situations. I have followed the Twins since the 60's and I would have a hard not believing that some players handle certain pressures better than others.

There are any number pitchers who were tried as closers by the Twins. There are only few who we remember as being particularly good at it. Now, I don't know if Capps will do a good job at closer this year or not. I can certainly see why the Twins don't want to shove just anybody into that job.

TT said...

"The fact that the Twins got a roster spot out of the deal is so totally irrelevant I can't believe it needs to be explained."

Why don't you try? Because suggesting that there is no cost to losing a player on waivers is really idiotic.

In order to trade Slowey for Putnam the Twins would have had to release another player to make room for Putnam. To match Colorado's offer for Putnam they would have had to kick in $1.3 million in addition to Slowey. Its not just "Turpen vs. Putnam".

Matt said...

Jim H., I understand where you're coming from. It's the other side of the argument and obviously, more baseball people see it that way as evidenced by closers getting $10MM+ to convert saves (another stat I feel is overrated).

It happened more than once to the Twins where Matty Guerrier, a very good relief pitcher, got taken yard by A-Rod late in the game. Wouldn't you rather have had Nathan in that spot? I know the 9th is the final inning, but one could argue the most important outs should be in the hands of your best relief pitcher.

I guess at the very least, I would rather see closers come from inside the organization, rather than trade valuable assets that could be used for other things or money spent on, I dunno, starting pitching? Seems to me the Twins are more desperate for that right now than they are for a "closer."

Anonymous said...

"Why don't you try?"

The Twins used the roster spot on a player that previously wasn't good enough to be on the 40-man roster. By definition, it makes the 40-man roster weaker. When you replace someone with someone worse, that means the whole is worse. This is a very simple concept, truly.

"In order to trade Slowey for Putnam the Twins would have had to release another player to make room for Putnam."

Or Putnam could take Slowey's spot.

This is very basic stuff called addition and subcontraction. You're trying to suggest 1+1=3 or some such.

Anonymous said...

"Why don't you try?"

Well, TT, every single time you trade a player, it frees up a roster spot. So to try to use it as a positive is meaningless, because you could say the same thing about every single trade in history.

TT said...

Matt -

"It happened more than once to the Twins where Matty Guerrier, a very good relief pitcher, got taken yard by A-Rod late in the game. Wouldn't you rather have had Nathan in that spot?"

I think this misses some issues:

1) You don't get to bring in the closer to face A-Rod. He has start warming up at least one or two batters before A-Rod comes to the plate. There are significant costs to warming up in terms of workload.

2) You don't really know how important the situation is. The Twins are going to have one more turn at bat. If they score a bunch of runs, A-Rod's at bat the previous inning is no longer important.

3) You will now need to send in your lesser relievers to close out a close game. The question is would you rather that home run got hit in the 9th inning after Nathan got you out of a tough sport earlier.

Which brings us to this issue:

How many situations are there where you would want use your "closer" earlier in the game. How many times will he have to warm up where you decide not to use him. How well does that match the current use and what impact will the change have on his performance.

Let me suggest that instead of remembering how often you wish Nathan was out there, you start remembering how many times you think "Nathan should be warming up now". Then see how many times something bad happens after he has had time to warm up. Because I think you will find him warming up way too often or way too late most of the time.

TT said...

"Well, TT, every single time you trade a player, it frees up a roster spot."

No, it doesn't. It only frees up a roster spot if you trade for a non-roster player the way the Twins did with Slowey. If they traded Slowey for Putnam it would not have opened a roster spot. They would have had to release someone else to do that.

TT said...

"Or Putnam could take Slowey's spot."

Sure and then they could have passed on signing Willingham since they didn't have room for him on the roster. Or maybe not take a guy in the rule 5 draft. Or ...

Matt said...

I guess I'll close this one out (pun intended) by saying that late in games, not necessarily the 9th inning, when I have a lead, I'd rather my best reliever face the best hitters on the other club. Particularly if I don't have my sluggers up in the following frame. If I know I'm facing the meat of the lineup, I warm my closer and have him start the inning. Unless it's the playoffs, I don't bring in my best reliever unless it's to start an inning against a strong batting order.

Laches said...

To me the guy it seems like we really overpaid for is Carroll. Were there a bunch of other teams lining up to give him that deal?

Seems like there were other cheaper, younger shortstops that would have been just as good.

Anonymous said...

TT, you're hilarious. You said, "In order to trade Slowey for Putnam the Twins would have had to release another player to make room for Putnam." This is factually false. Nice try Then you said, "they could have passed on signing Willingham since they didn't have room for him on the roster." All time classic line. So really the Twins traded Slowey for Willingham, right?

Gosh, if I had a nickel every time I heard a team say, "Well, we really wanted to sign Free Agent X, but we couldn't find room for him on the 40-man."

Thanks for the chuckles.

Jim H said...

"I guess at the very least, I would rather see closers come from inside the organization, rather than trade valuable assets that could be used for other things or money spent on, I dunno, starting pitching?"

Matt, a few years ago, the Twins traded their near all star level starting catcher for a middle reliever a few years removed from arm surgery, and a couple of prospects one of whom was in rookie ball and also coming off arm problems. This is widely considered one the best trades in Twins history, even though the catcher continued to play at near all star level ever since.

You have to give up something to get something. You usually have to pay for quality. And sometimes it just doesn't work out, like it didn't for San Francisco.

I don't think there is anyone ready to be a closer in the Twins system right now. That could change, certainly Perkins or others could be ready for that role as soon as this year. I just think the Twins don't want to spend the year trying out closers, if they are healthy enough to contend.

If it turns out they can't contend, well, they may be able to trade Capps. Especially if he is having a good year.

Jim H said...

I also wonder if some of you are too young to remember the not so good closers the Twins employed over the years. Like Davis, Stevens, Trombley and Hawkins. Some of the closers were pretty good pitchers, they just didn't do well as closers. It was tough on the fans and quite probably their teammates and manager, when there is no certainity in that role.

TT said...

Jim -

Most people here ought to be able to remember the Twins 2001 season when Hawkins melted down the last half of the season and the Twins blew a 5 game lead at the allstar break. Its not fair to blame that entirely on Hawkins, but he was a painful part of the collapse.

Anonymous said...

"This is factually false."

No, its not.

Nick N. said...

To me the guy it seems like we really overpaid for is Carroll. Were there a bunch of other teams lining up to give him that deal?

I disagree. I mean maybe they overpaid a little considering his age, but the market for middle infielders was pretty steep this year. Look at what Clint Barmes got.

The market dictates a player's value as a free agent, and the market for late inning relievers this offseaon was flush. That's what is particularly irksome about the Capps situation.

There are any number pitchers who were tried as closers by the Twins. There are only few who we remember as being particularly good at it.

Well Capps certainly hasn't proven that he's particularly good at it. He was ineffective in the closer role last year, converting 15 of 24 saves with a 4.25 ERA. He was ineffective in the closer role in 2009, converting 27 of 32 saves with a 5.80 ERA. So he's been pretty bad as a closer for two of the past three years, yet he's still getting the premium closer rate?

For his career, Capps has converted 77 percent of his save chances. For reference, Ron Davis' career rate was 75 percent. I don't see why you wouldn't expect a solid late-inning reliever to be able to convert three of every four opportunities. Cases like LaTroy Hawkins are pretty rare.

TT said...

"Cases like LaTroy Hawkins are pretty rare."

Only because few pitchers get the opportunity.

Capps had one terrible year, 2011. He converted 88% in 2010 and more than 80% of his save opportunities every year since he became a closer. During that period his average was 85%. Ron Davis managed to get over 80% only three times in his career.

I think it might help to remember Capps is still younger than Joe Nathan was when the Twins handed him the closer job. He's younger than Perkins, Duensing or any of the Twins starters.

" converting 27 of 32 saves"

That is a conversion rate of 84% which is actually pretty good. It was 81% the year before and I think that is still better than average.

Anonymous said...

The whole payroll debate will come down to the Bullpen. The Twins have already sold two million four hundred thousand tickets.It will truly be pathetic if this team cannot spend a little more on the leagues worst Bullpen. Even Phil Mackey could not spin this one.

Chris said...

If your going to pay someone $5M to pitch 1 inning at the most they should be able to convert save at least 90%. It's pure numbers. They should've offered Capps less and if he didn't take it, let him go. Give other guys a chance in bring in a couple at a mil and let the competition begin. Capps is making more then Liriano did last year and only $3M less then our supposed #1 pitcher Pavono. It's also more then Marquise's $3M deal this year. Why couldn't we have spent at least $5-10M on a decent starting pitcher?

birdofprey said...

Prediction: the Twins will have a team ERA that ranks in the top third in the American League, thanks in part to having a top third bullpen.

TT said...

"If your going to pay someone $5M to pitch 1 inning at the most they should be able to convert save at least 90%. It's pure numbers."

According to Wikipedia, Mariano Rivera's career conversion rate is 89.33%, the best among players with over 200 saves. It was better than 90% only 7 times in 17 seasons.

I think Twins fans have been spoiled. Nathan's career save rate is 89%. Its not surprising they are disappointed in Capps.

Anonymous said...

"That is a conversion rate of 84% which is actually pretty good. It was 81% the year before and I think that is still better than average."

League average save conversion rate is historically around 85%. So 84% is "pretty good" if your definition of "pretty good" is "slightly worse than average". Unlike you, I don't consider worse than average to be pretty good, nor do I consider it worth a premium contract.

Everything you're saying here TT proves the point that closers are overrated and that most decent relievers can convert 80-85% of save opportunities, not just guys you give $5mil/year to.

Which scenario would you prefer on your roster:

A. Matt Capps
B. Brad Lidge and Dan Wheeler and George Sherril and Takashi Saito, with one of the above or Perkins closing

Scenario A is slightly more expensive.

TT said...

"Since 1975, major-league teams have converted 67.8 percent of their save chances. Year-to-year, that rate has never gone above 71.5 percent (1988)"

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/cliff_corcoran/05/04/closers/index.html#ixzz1l09XHh5z

TT said...

In 2011, there were 1821 save opportunities and 1243 saves, for a conversion rate of 68%.

"Which scenario would you prefer on your roster:"

Capps, the idea of any of those 4 closing next year is ludicrous. In addition, Wheeler pitched 49 innings, Sherril pitched 36, Saito pitched 26, and Lidge pitched 19. Perkins pitched 61. So you have two spots left in the bullpen and less than half the innings you will need. And that's assuming you were able to sign all four of them, which is highly doubtful.

DD said...

TT, good try, but I'm talking about "closer" rates. Your cute data which you constructed to prove your point takes into account save situations, one of which is simply any time a pitcher enters the game with more than 3 innings left, or with a lead of 3 or less. I'm talking about guys you specifically (over)pay to get 3 outs in the 9th inning.

Since 1950 (i.e. pre-closer era), the win percentage of teams who enter the 9th with the lead has remained remarkably consistent at 95%. I.e., the invention of the "specialized Closer" position has had no net impact in the outcome of ballgames. Joe Posnanski has done the research, but you won't look at it anyhow. Regardless, it's the simplest, most damning proof out there that "Closers" really don't matter. They don't. Guys like Mariano Rivera: yes. Dennis Eckersley, maybe. There are a handful of guys throughout history that are exceptions to the rule. That's it. Otherwise, good relief pitchers make good closers. That's all the calculus involved.

You can say they matter, but you're disagreeing with factual statistics. You can have your opinions, I'll have my facts.

TT said...

"You can say they matter, but you're disagreeing with factual statistics. You can have your opinions, I'll have my facts."

They are yours alone since you apparently just invent them to support your argument.

"League average save conversion rate is historically around 85%."

becomes this:

"I'm talking about "closer" rates."

And where do we find this rate? And how do you define it?

Now you are comparing Capps to an elite group of pitchers and finding him only "average". Average ain't bad when Joe Nathan and Mariano Rivera are the company you keep.

"the win percentage of teams who enter the 9th with the lead has remained remarkably consistent at 95%. "

So what? You think the only change to the game of baseball in the last 50 years has been the closer?

DD said...

"They are yours alone since you apparently just invent them to support your argument."

You tell me how relevant it is to include blown saves when a middle reliever comes in in the 6th inning and blows a 1-run lead. We're talking about closers. Distort the argument as much as you want, but we're talking about the value of closers.

"Now you are comparing Capps to an elite group of pitchers and finding him only "average".

THIS IS THE WHOLE POINT! HE'S AVERAGE AT BEST! Do you know what average means? It means he's no better or no worse than the next guy. SO PAY THE NEXT GUY A QUARTER OF THE SALARY TO DO AN EQUALLY AVERAGE JOB!

"So what? You think the only change to the game of baseball in the last 50 years has been the closer?"

What are you getting at? Please explain.

TT said...

"Do you know what average means? It means he's no better or no worse than the next guy."

In this case, you are limiting the universe of "next guys" to the likes of Nathan and Rivera. It doesn't include the over the hill relievers you listed.

"SO PAY THE NEXT GUY A QUARTER OF THE SALARY TO DO AN EQUALLY AVERAGE JOB!"

If they could get Joe Nathan for a quarter of the salary I am sure they would. But finding an average elite closer who is available for less than $5 million is not going to happen.

Capps, despite his sore arm, had a better WHIP last year than Glen Perkins.

DD said...

"In this case, you are limiting the universe of "next guys" to the likes of Nathan and Rivera."

No, you are. You are so close-minded that you literally cannot picture anyone handing the closing job to an "unproven closer". Glen Perkins is such a player. So was Jon Rauch. Hell, you could call up Gutierrez from the minors and I bet he'd get you 80% or so.

Mariano Rivera is the only "elite" closer in the game today, and he may be the only "elite" closer in the history of baseball. He's the exception to the rule. His 90% conversion rate should scream to you: the best closer in the history of baseball converted 90% of his saves.

Think about that. This man did his job better than any other individual in the course of history. And he was still only 90%.

TT said...

"Think about that. This man did his job better than any other individual in the course of history. And he was still only 90%"

Yeh, think about that and Capps 84% sounds pretty good.

You can whine forever about how unimportant the closer role is. I don't believe you and apparently neither does any team in major league baseball.

TT said...

DD: "We're talking about closers."

Apparently you want to use the alleged save percentage for "closers" and claim it applies to every relief pitcher who has had any major league success.

I provided the actual statistics for every pitcher, but you didn't like those since they don't support your conclusion.

DD said...

"I don't believe you and apparently neither does any team in major league baseball."

Actually plenty of teams are starting to understand this. The Cards won the Series with someone called Jason Motte closing. The Angels used a rookie last year. The Brewers made the playoffs with John Axford closing. TB: Kyle Farnsworth. Texas used Neftali Feliz to make back to back WS. Craig Kimbrel (rookie) in Atlanta. Santos for the White Sox. The Red Sox let Papelbon walk for Andrew Bailey. Drew Storen in Washington. Brandon League in Toronto. Putz in Arizona (playoffs). Indians with Perez. Most, if not all, of these players made less than Capps will this year.

So the league is starting to understand this. The Twins, unfortunately, are not.

And I can understand paying a premium for a "proven closer" if you have the money and you're a serious contender - a couple extra wins might be the difference. But for the 2012 Twins, who aren't serious contenders by any stretch of the imagination, have payroll limitations (however self-imposed), and most importantly still have holes to fill, Capps at $4.5 mil just isn't smart.