Twins reliever Matt Capps

Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune file

Capps' time with Twins extended

  • Article by: LA VELLE E. NEAL III
  • Star Tribune
  • December 6, 2011 - 8:26 AM

DALLAS - The more General Manager Terry Ryan spoke about Matt Capps over the last week, the more it became apparent that Capps was headed back to the Twins.

It's just about official as the Twins and Capps on Monday put the final touches on a one-year contract worth $4.75 million. The righthanded reliever will make $4.5 million next year with a $6 million option for 2013 or a $250,000 buyout.

Two sources with knowledge of the negotiations confirmed the deal. The Twins could make the contract official as soon as Tuesday.

Ryan would only confirm that the team had been in contact with Capps' agent, Paul Kinzer.

Capps, 28, was 4-7 with a 4.25 ERA last season while saving 15 games. He replaced Joe Nathan as the closer in April but lost his job to Nathan in July. It eventually became known that Capps pitched with a sore forearm. Capps didn't want to use the injury as an excuse and kept taking the ball in an attempt to help out the bullpen. Ryan believes Capps will bounce back, which will be interesting to watch as the Twins attempt to reconfigure a leaky bullpen that won't include Nathan, who joined the Texas Rangers.

By re-signing Capps, the Twins miss out on getting a compensation pick between the first and second rounds in the June amateur draft. Ryan said compensation picks don't factor much into the Twins' decisions on players. "We'll take it," Ryan said, "but we'd rather have the player."

Lefthander Brian Duensing is expected to move back into the bullpen next season, which could create the need for another starter. Ryan maintained that the club is looking for both starters and relievers.

"If we find someone who is good, we will plug him in," Ryan said. "We will find a place for quality, no matter what position you're talking about."

But recent events have linked the Twins to starters such as free-agent lefthanders Bruce Chen and Chris Capuano, who instead signed with the Royals and Dodgers, respectively.

On Monday, a source confirmed that the Twins have shown interest in free-agent lefthander Mark Buehrle. But the Twins know they don't have the ammunition it would take to land Buehrle, who could get $13 million to $15 million a year.

"We are looking for pitching," Ryan said when asked directly about Buehrle.

Ryan did confirm on Monday that he's spoken with the agents for Japanese pitchers Hisashi Iwakuma, a righthander, and Tsuyoshi Wada, a lefthander. Iwakuma is trying to bounce back from back and shoulder injuries last season. Wada is 33-13 over the last two seasons.

Other developments on Monday for the Twins at the winter meetings:

• The Twins are expected to push to sign outfielder Michael Cuddyer this week. Ryan hopes to meet with Cuddyer's agent, Casey Close, either Tuesday or Wednesday. They hope to get a better idea of where they stand soon.

"We will before we leave here," Ryan said, "and get a feel for where we are at."

San Francisco, Philadelphia, Oakland and Boston are among teams that need outfield help.

• The Twins claimed shortstop Pedro Florimon off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles. Florimon appears to be best suited for a utility role, as he is known for having good range and a good arm. He's a .247 hitter in his minor league career.

"We have liked the things we have seen from him in the past," Ryan said, "He's a switch hitter. He has versatility. He has makeup. That's why we claimed him for the relatively small amount of money."

Florimon, who will turn 25 on Saturday, reached the majors for the first time last season, going 1-for-8.

• The Twins remain in contact with Jason Kubel, whose chances of returning to the Twins could increase if Cuddyer signs elsewhere. But the Twins would need a righthanded-hitting outfielder if Cuddyer goes. They expressed interest earlier this offseason in Josh Willingham. And, according to ESPN, the Twins have inquired about Rangers outfielder David Murphy, though he's a lefthanded hitter.

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