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Thinking About Matt Capps

Aside from having the most assonant name on the free agent market, Matt Capps is one of the most attractive relievers available.

He's so sexy that his about half the teams in baseball want him to join their squad.

This might be surprising because Capps posted a 5.80 ERA, a 1.66 WHIP, 12.1 H/9 and 2.8 BB/9.  You're thinking, maybe he's that drunk sort of sexy.

But there's one thing I've learned about baseball, and based on their roster construction, I think the Yanks have learned it too: don't expect anything out of relievers.  Don't expect them to be good, don't expect them to be bad.  Unless it's Mo Rivera, you simply never know what you're going to get.

Part of this is statistical.  Sample size is important in evaluations, and evaluating relievers year to year depends on a tiny sample size.   Matt Capps threw 54 innings last season, 53 the season before.  CC Sabathia threw 44 innings last May.

Another related piece is dumb luck.  "The line drives are caught, the squibbles go for base hits. It's an unfair game."  In a small sample size identical performance can produce disparate results.  I already gave you Capps' numbers from 2009.  Here are the numbers that stayed relatively the same: 7.6 K/9 (career 6.9), LD% 18.7 (career 20.2), GB/FB 1.00 (career 0.82).  Matt Capps posted a .370 BABIP, up 70 points from his career average. For all these reasons, and no doubt more, the Yankees (and half the teams in MLB think Capps will return to being the guy who posted a 1.06 WHIP with 6.7 K/9 in his first 3 full seasons.

The Yanks have a slew of relievers and potential relievers who will do what they have done the last two season, mix and match the middle innings to ferry the ball to the great Rivera.  Mark Melancon, Damaso Marte, Houdini Robertson, Aces Aceves, Mitre and Gaudin, Nova, Kontos, Jonny Albaledejo, Ivan Nova, Romulo Sanchez, Edwar Ramirez and Hector Noesi are all pretty much certain to see some time on the Yanks' roster.  I picked Zach McAllister as the Yanks' top prospect because I think this will be his year somehow, someway, and I still think Alan Horne could make a charge.  Plus there's always Joba and Phil should the Yanks sign another starter.

Matt Capps will make a decision soon about where he wants to play, and the Yankees will be on the list.  They will be on because it is to Matt Capps' financial benefit for the Yankees to be involved.  I will try my best not to pay attention, try not to think about what a valuable addition Matt Capps would be to our bullpen.  He's probably only putting the Yankees on his list to drive up his price for whomever he will eventually sign with.  The free agent dollars are in closers and that's the guy he should want to be if he's interested in securing his family's financial security through the next generation; being part of the Bridge to Mo should be the farthest thing from his mind.

But if he signs with the Yankees, expect the most exultant jscape post in a while.