Washington Nationals On Matt Capps' Short List?

ESPNChigago.com writer Bruce Levine was the first writer out there to link the Washington Nationals to free agent reliever Matt Capps, and he did so in an article entitled, "Capps loves Cubs, but market is hot", in which he talked to Capps' agent Paul Kinzer, who listed the Nationals, Yankees, Orioles, Marlins and Rangers as five of twelve teams who had reportedly expressed interest in the 26-year-old right-handed free agent who was non-tendered by the Pittsburgh Pirates this weekend....

• Monday night, Washington Post writer Chico Harlan's report, in a Nationals Journal post entitled, "Olsen, Capps, Kasten", confirms Mr. Levine's reports of the Nationals' interest in the right-handed reliever, and Mr. Harlan goes on to state that the list of 12 teams ESPN Chicago.com's Mr. Levine mentioned has already been halved according to Capps' agent, Paul Kinzer, who tells Mr. Harlan, "...that the Nats are in a group of six or seven finalists. Within a few days, Capps wants to further narrow his list, perhaps to three teams -- and the Nats are likely to be on that list too..."

(cont.)...

• After going (9-1) with a 3.79 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 1.3 BB/9 and 6.2 K/9 in his first full season in Pittsburgh in 2006, Matt Capps, an '02 7th Round Pirates' pick, then 23, saved 18 games for the Pirates in 2007, posting a (4-7) record with a 2.32 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 64 K's (7.3 K/9) in 79.0 IP, over which he walked just 16 (1.8 BB/9). In 2008, Capps was (2-3) with 21 saves, a 3.02 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 39 K's (6.5 K/9) in 53.2 IP in which he allowed just 5 walks (0.8 BB/9) and 5 HR's. Last year, however, the 25-year-old Capps (who turned 26 in September) was (4-8) with 27 saves, a 5.80 ERA, 1.65 WHIP and 46 K's in 54.1 IP, (7.6 K/9), having walked 17 (2.8 K/9) and allowed 10 HR's...

• In explaining the decision to non-tender Matt Capps, Pirates' GM Neal Huntington told MLB.com writer Jennifer Langosch, in an article entitled, "Capps surprised by Bucs non-tender", that there was no way they would have non-tender Capps if he was, "...what he was in '07 and in the first half in '08,":

"'While we believe Matt can be a bounce-back candidate for next season, we just weren't willing to go through the arbitration process and risk losing. We got to a number that was our final offer, and when they rejected it, we felt like this was our only option.'"

In explaining his struggles in 2009, Capps told the MLB.com writer Ms. Langosch that, "There were a lot of things that contributed," to his statistical decline, including the rotator cuff bursitis that forced him to the DL in 2008:

"It was the first year coming off an injury. I dug myself into a little bit of a hole early and felt like I had to save it with each pitch. Still, you take away three games and my games are pretty good. But unfortunately for me, you can't do that."

?'s For The DC Faithful:

• Is Capps worth the risk at an estimated $3-4M a year? He also wants a multi-year deal of course...

• Do the Nationals stand a chance when the Cubs, Yankees and Rangers are mentioned as the competition? 

• If Capps were he signed, would he close with DC? Capps tells Washington Post writer Chico Harlan he wants to close.

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