Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968. He has been a Star Tribune sports columnist since 1988. His sportswriting credo is twofold: 1. God will provide an angle; 2. The smaller the ball, the better the writing.


Email Patrick.

Motive was same in trades for Pominville, Capps

Posted by: Patrick Reusse Updated: May 7, 2013 - 10:25 PM

There was a suggestion on one of my controversial Twitter accounts that if the Wild failed to get out of the first round of the playoffs, it would be legitimate to make this connection: Johan Larsson for Jason Pominville = Wilson Ramos for Matt Capps.

Followers of the Wild are extremely supportive of team management on most matters, and several of those folks took umbrage at my Wild/Pominville and Twins/Capps comparison. A few protests said that Pominville's absence from the lineup due to a presumed concussion could not be blamed on him.

Obviously, the 140-character limit of Twitter failed to get across the point. This wasn't intended as a comment on Pominville's situation, but on the big picture that existed when the trade was made April 3.

Brian Hall, writing for the FSN website, put the Wild's attitude about the trade in perspective with this lead:

"The Minnesota Wild have missed the playoffs for four straight years. Firmly in the playoff pack this year, they have designs on much more than just a postseason appearance.

"Minnesota wants to take its shot now and is willing to pay the price to do so.

"The Wild dealt for Buffalo Sabres captain Jason Pominville before Wednesday's trade deadline, adding another important piece to a team that is tied with the Vancouver Canucks for first place in the Northwest Division with 44 points but is third in the Western Conference based on tiebreakers.''

That's what I was getting at in those 140 characters: The Pominville trade wasn't made with the motive to get the Wild in the playoffs (although that did turn out to be a chore). It was made to help trigger a significant playoff run.

With or without Pominville in the lineup, if the Wild's win on Sunday isn't followed by three more over the Chicago Blackhawks, then the trade goes down as a first-season failure ... as did the deal the Twins made for Capps on July 29, 2010.

There were only four playoff spots (as compared to eight for the Wild) available to the Twins in 2010. They were in a tighter circumstance when yielding Ramos, a top catching prospect, for Capps, than was the Wild when it traded for Pominville.

The Twins were in second place in the AL Central on July 29, one game behind the White Sox and three games ahead of Detroit. Still, it wasn't a trade driven strictly by the desire to have a reliable closer in order to win the division.

Jon Rauch had been acceptable in the closer's role. The Twins knew there was a solid chance to beat out the White Sox and the Tigers, even if they had stuck with Rauch. The Twins had designs on much more than just a postseason appearance.

The Twins felt this first season in Target Field was a time to take a shot at reversing the trend of quick departures from the postseason. And the feeling was they needed a real closer to make that happen.

Capps turned 27 on Sept. 3 of that year. He had been in the big leagues since 2006, with one poor season in Pittsburgh in 2009 that got him released. He landed with Washington the next season and had 26 saves in four months. He was named to the National League All-Star team.

Yet, Capps was on a last-place team, so it was easy trade for the Nats to make: a closer with nowhere to take his team for a 22-year-old catcher who was ready to play in the big leagues.

Capps did his job for the Twins. He was 16 of 18 in save opportunities. He also was 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA. The Twins won the Central by six games.

And then they were swept in three games by the Yankees. Capps pitched once and didn't have a save opportunity.

Forget making the postseason. Not getting out of the first round made the first season of the Capps trade a flop.

It got worse in 2011, when Capps returned on a $7.25 million salary and pitched poorly. He was around again in 2012, missing a share of the season with a sore arm.

Pominville, 30, has another season remaining on his five-year, $26.5 million. He has a track record as a goal scorer, and the odds are strong he will make Season 2 of the trade look much better than did Capps.

Of course, the Wild also gave much more to get him than the Twins did for Capps. The Wild surrendered a top prospect in centerman Larsson, plus goalie Matt Hackett, a first-round pick in this year's draft and a second-rounder in 2014. The Wild gets a fourth-rounder in 2014 along with Pominville.

It might work out. Larsson might go off the tracks as a prospect and Buffalo might screw up the high draft choices. Pominville might get 25-30 goals in Season 2. But for now, if the Wild doesn't upset Chicago and advance in the playoffs, the first season of the Wild's big trade will look like this:

Johan Larsson for Jason Pominville = Wilson Ramos for Matt Capps.

 

 

 

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
New Orleans 99
Minnesota 84 FINAL
Oklahoma City 92
Orlando 94 FINAL
Memphis 103
Boston 89 4th Qtr 2:23
Utah 83
Denver 33 2nd Qtr 9:59
LA Clippers 24
Army 68 FINAL
American Univ 66
Wright State 64 FINAL
Detroit 53
Syracuse 83 FINAL
North Carolina 93
Cleveland State 56 FINAL
Oakland 59
Delaware State 54 FINAL
NC Central 55
High Point 63 FINAL
Presbyterian 54
Howard 45 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 42
Coppin State 84 FINAL
NC A&T 71
Nicholls 51 FINAL
Northwestern St 80
Hampton 56 FINAL
SC State 65
Gardner-Webb 59 FINAL
Campbell 78
MD-Eastern Shore 72 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Stephen F Austin 82 FINAL
Lamar 65
Central Arkansas 67 FINAL
New Orleans 87
Norfolk State 70 FINAL
Savannah State 54
TX A&M-CC 70 FINAL
SE Louisiana 61
Sam Houston St 80 FINAL
Abilene Christian 63
McNeese State 84 FINAL
Incarnate Word 86
Milwaukee 48 FINAL
Valparaiso 73
Alcorn State 66 FINAL
Alabama A&M 78
Southern U 61 2nd OT
Alabama State 61
Prairie View 68 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 105
Texas 84 2nd Half 0:21
Iowa State 87
Texas Southern 74 3rd OT 5:00
Miss Valley St 74
Long Island 85 FINAL
Bryant 88
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 87 FINAL
Wagner 74
Delaware State 59 FINAL
NC Central 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 61
Coppin State 49 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 88 FINAL
SC State 53
Norfolk State 54 FINAL
Savannah State 56
MD-Eastern Shore 54 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Angelo State 55 FINAL
Abilene Christian 70
Samford 32 FINAL
(25) Chattanooga 49
Prairie View 83 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Alcorn State 58 FINAL
Alabama A&M 55
Southern U 53 FINAL
Alabama State 49
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 52
(12) Texas A&M 61 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 79
Robert Morris 68 FINAL
Mount St Marys 44
East Tenn St 72 FINAL
Mercer 70
Wofford 56 FINAL
Furman 58
Morehead St 64 FINAL
Tenn Tech 54
Illinois 57 FINAL
Michigan 70
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
(18) Miss State 59 FINAL
Auburn 48
(15) Nebraska 72 FINAL
(20) Iowa 78
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Does a Stadium Series outdoor Wild game get you excited?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT