Nationals Sign Closer Matt Capps

The Washington Nationals today signed free-agent right-handed closer Matt Capps. Nationals Senior Vice President & General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.

Capps signs with Washington after going 19-19 with 29 holds, 67 saves and a 3.61 ERA in 271 appearances spanning five seasons (2005-09) with Pittsburgh. Capps completes his Pirates career ranked sixth on Pittsburgh’s all-time saves list.

Since seizing the Pirates’ closer role in June of 2007, Capps successfully converted an above-grade 85 percent (66 of 78) of his save opportunities and paced Pittsburgh in saves each season. Only once in that span of 78 save opportunities has Capps surrendered a blown save when entering the game with a lead of more than one run.

Excluding his 18 career intentional walks, the 26 year-old Capps has issued just 1.06 (unintentional) walks per 9.0 innings during his career, a figure that ranks second all-time among those with at least 50 career saves.

Capps’ career strikeout-to-walk ratio of 4.2/1 (208 strikeouts, 50 walks) ranks second among active closers with 50 or more saves. Only Boston’s Jonathan Papelbon (4.5/1) has posted a superior SO/BB ratio using those guidelines.

Capps went 4-8 with 27 saves and a 5.80 ERA in 57 appearances in 2009, his final campaign with the Pirates. The 27 saves tied for 10th in the National League.

Review Matt Capps’ career stats here.