Last winter the Washington Nationals took a chance on a closer who had fallen on hard times. Matt Capps had just been non-tendered by the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates after posting a career worst 5.80 ERA, and was looking at a future as a middle-reliever with whatever team picked him up. The Nationals took a chance on Capps however by giving him a one-year $3.5 million deal.
The club didn’t really need a closer. They had finished with the worst record in baseball for the past two seasons and expectations were not high going into 2010. Instead, this was a buy-low sell-high move that Rizzo hoped would pay off around the trade deadline.
Sure enough, come the summer the Nationals traded away their $3.5 million investment to the Minnesota Twins for one of their top catching prospects, Wilson Ramos. Mission accomplished.
Today Capps signed a one-year deal with the Twins to avoid arbitration. After his stellar 2010, his contract was valued at $7.5 million, more than double the contract the Nationals had given him. What a difference a year makes.