So, Matt Capps is a Minnesota Twin. He leaves DC on a high note, earning the save in today's 5-3 series-clinching win over the Braves, and we'll certainly wish him well as he attempts to help the Twins into the AL post-season.
The key return for Washington is catcher Wilson Ramos, a wide-bodied catcher with a very high ceiling, both offensively and defensively. Ramos turns 23 on August 10. He got some big league experience in May when Joe Mauer was out, and batted .296 in 7 games, with 3 doubles among his 8 hits. At Rochester he hit a more modest .241, but slugged .345, thanks to 19 extra base hits. Scouts describe him as a gap-to-gap hitter and a plus defender.
The Nats also get left-hander Joe Testa, a 24-year-old reliever out of Wagner College on Staten Island (my nephew was also a lefty out of Wagner, back in the 1990s) who's been struggling at Double A.
Ramos was ranked the Twins' number two overall prospect by Basbeball America last winter. Early reports indicated that Capps would be the set-up man for Minnesota closer Jon Rauch, another former Nat, but I suspect it will be the other way around. Rauch has distinguished himself filling in for the injured Joe Nathan, notching 21 saves with a 3.05 ERA.
I mentioned during the rain delay version of "Nats Talk Live" today that I believed GM Mike Rizzo would be on the prowl for another receiver, in light of the continued shoulder miseries of Jesus Flores. How soon Ramos joins the big club remains to be seen, but you'll surely see him by September. With the timing of Flores' return still a mystery, I'm confident that Jim Riggleman is going to want to see a lot of Ramos very quickly.
It's impossible to fault Rizzo for pulling the trigger on this one. Yes, Capps was a good signing whose contract allowed some cost certainty at closer through 2011, allowing the club to bring Drew Storen along at a slower pace. Whether Drew is handed the closer's job immediately, or if Tyler Clippard gets first crack at it is a decision we'll find out about this weekend. I also believe the consistency displayed by Joel Peralta since his call-up may have been a factor, as he's given the bullpen another right-handed option.