Before the season started, Wilson Ramos was a highly regarded member of the Minnesota Twins farm system.
Fast forward to Thursday, which saw the Triple-A backstop traded to the Washington Nationals along with another low-level pitcher for closer Matt Capps.
Capps is no slouch. He went to the All-Star Game and is enjoying a very nice bounce-back season after a dreadful 2009. In 46 appearances, Capps is 26-for-30 in save opportunities with a 2.74 and 38 strikeouts in 46 innings. His walk and homer rates are about half of what they were last year, but batters are hitting a rather robust .279 off of him.
And if you’re wondering, Capps is arbitration-eligible next year, meaning the Twins could have him through 2011.
All in all, there’s nothing wrong with adding Capps, who will step in and replace Jon Rauch as the Twins closer.
I know the closer’s job is often viewed as overrated, and I get all of that. But by adding Capps, the Twins hope at least that they’ve given themselves one more arm they can rely on in the bullpen. You can’t have too many of those.
But at the beginning of the season, Twins fans never would have dreamed that this would be the haul the team would eventually get when it traded Ramos, who is blocked at the big league level by Joe Mauer.
It’s been that kind of year for Ramos. He’s hitting .241 with just five homers in 71 games for Triple-A Rochester, and aside from a seven-hit showing in his first two big league games this year, it’s largely been a forgettable year for the once-touted prospect.
Hard to figure what’s wrong with Ramos. I remember talking to Jim Mandelaro of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle on "Sports Talk" (weekdays 1-2 p.m. on 970-AM WDAY radio) a month or two ago. Mandelaro – if I remember right – said he felt that Ramos never thought he’d still be in the minors, and maybe that affected his play.
Regardless, I’m left wondering if the Twins would have been better off holding onto Ramos and letting his value get a little higher. He’s obviously at rock bottom right now.
This so far is the opposite of the Mauer contract: The Twins seemingly re-signed Mauer at the height of his career, costing them the most money. And they have sold low on Ramos.
That’s not to say Mauer can’t return to 2009 form or that Ramos will return to 2009 form. But as we sit here in the last week of July, both deals look poorly timed.