La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Closer Matt Capps to be back with Twins in 2012

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: December 5, 2011 - 8:43 PM

The Twins are finalizing a deal to re-sign closer Matt Capps, who struggled last year when handed the closer's role during the season. Two sources with knowledge of negotiations confirmed the deal.

Capps was 4-7 with a 4.25 ERA and 15 saves for the Twins last season. He replaced Nathan as closer in April but lost the job later in the season. It was discovered later on that Capps was pitching with a sore forearm that affected his slider but didn't want to use it as an excuse.

UPDATE:Capps to have physical Tuesday. He'll earn $4.5 million in 2012. Option in 2013 is for $6 million, or a $250,000 buyout.  Performance bonues are in the deal too.

Twins GM Terry Ryan on Monday would only confirm that he had been in contact with Capps' agent, Paul Kinzer. Ryan wanted to bring in an experienced closer for 2012. Capps saved 27 games for Pittsburgh in 2009 and 42 between Washington and the Twins in 2010.

The guess here is that the Twins sign Capps to a two-year deal for around $4 million a year. But that's just a guess.

Update: Reports are that Capps will sign for one year with an option.

Other developments Monday afternoon:

  • The Twins did look into signing lefthander Mark Buehrle, but they can't offer what other teams reportedly are offering - $13-15 million a year.
  • The Twins have spoken with the agents for Japanese pitchers Hisashi Iwakuma, a righthander, and Tsuyoshi Wada, a lefthander. Iwakuma was injured during last season and has to prove he's healthy. Wada is 33-13 over his last two seasons. Twins GM Terry Ryan remarked that, for some reason, pitchers have had an easier time transitioning to MLB than position players.
  • Ryan expects to meet with Michael Cuddyer's agent, Casey Close, over the next couple of days. The Twins are expected to make a big push to sign Cuddyer. If that doesn't work, they could look to other options, like outfielder Josh Willingham. One report today had the Twins asking the Rangers about David Murphy, but some scouts here view him as a fourth outfielder.
  • The Twins also have been in contact with Jason Kubel's agent.



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