According to Marc Carig of the New Jersey Star-Ledger, the Yankees have not expressed interest in 26-year old reliever Matt Capps who was recently non-tendered by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“I haven’t heard anything from them,” Paul Kinzer, Capps’ agent, wrote in an email to The Star-Ledger responding to questions regarding the Yankees interest.
Capps’ name has been getting around with Yankees fans since Mike Axisa of River Ave Blues brought up his name once rumors started that the Pirates were looking to non-tender him. Capps struggled last season dealing with elbow issues that lead to some ugly numbers, 4-8 record with a 5.80 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP.
The main reason for his non-tender probably had more to do with the fact that he earned $2.3 million last season and is due for a raise in 2010 than his numbers though. From 2007-08 Capps had a couple of very good seasons. Over that time he appeared in 125 games throwing 132.2 innings with a 2.58 ERA, striking out 103 batters and only walking 21, all with a 0.995 WHIP. All told, he’s probably one of the best available free agent relievers on the market and he won’t cost any draft picks.
There are reasons to believe the Yankees won’t land him so don’t get your hopes up. First, there is the fact that they have not been in touch with him. They might have interest, but perhaps other positions are taking priority here. The longer he stays on the market the better it will be for the Yankees. Second, he may have closer potential and if there is a team who would hire him as their closer he would stand to make a lot more money in the future than he could as a setupman for the Yankees. Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors reported Monday that as many as 10 teams, not mentioning the Yankees, are interested in him. There has got to be a closer opening in there.
He certainly has the potential to help the Yankees bullpen in a big way and, like I said, the longer he’s on the market the more likely he eventually will be connected to the Yankees. Whenever that news does come up, we’ll be sure to cover it so check back.