I know saying abjectly mean things about Matt Capps is all the rage right now, but I've always rebelled against the norm, even when it's not the prudent thing to do. Just look at this mug
and tell me he isn't lovable!
Just to forewarn you, there will be no vitriol, rancor or pessimism about the Twins' poor performance thus far this season in this post. If that's not your thing, feel free to make your own thread about how to fix this bunch of good-for-nothing crumbums (!) elsewhere.
So, without further ado, the Top Ten Reasons to Love Matt Capps...after the jump.
10. His middle name: Dicus
As in Biggus. New nickname, anyone?
9. Love handles
How can you not root for a semi-athletic guy rocking the love handles? I think of all the sports fans with them and cannot possibly see why they would be against a fellow man with a less-than-bust-worthy figure. Consider the Old Spice Man. Now consider Matt Capps. And just for fun, consider David Wells.
8. He was a solid closer in 2010
Anyone whose current nickname is Crapps must have earned it through terrible performance, right? Well not in 2010. A quick glance at his stats show an ERA of 2.33, a K/9 of 7.0 and converted 16 saves (out of 18, I believe). Sure his FIP and xFIP are uglier, but the fact remains that he came through in the clutch, which is exactly what we needed.
Further, BR gives him 0.9 WAR for the mere 27 games he pitched in for us (33.3 Innings/WAR). Let us compare that to the revered Joe Nathan: Nathan averaged 3 wins per year in his god-like tenure as the "best non-Rivera" closer in baseball at a rate of approximately 27.8 Innings/WAR. Again, Capps didn't have a run as good as Nathan, but he was very respectable.
Despite the fact that everybody and their uncle was hurt last year (gratuitous self-reference), Capps gutted it out. Yeah he stunk it up a bit, but on a 99-loss team who didn't? And the kicker? Capps was hurt last year, too. He still mopped up a full 69 innings and never once complained about it. What more do you want, people?
6. He's having an OK year
I get it, you're going to look at his not-elite 3.22 ERA, point to his FIP/xFIP around 4.00 and tell me that his K/9 rates are down and that he just doesn't look dominant. His 44.2 Innings/WAR clip is is also unimpressive; we're used to seeing Twins closers in high-leverage situations more than once every week or two. But you're not going to mention that he's limiting walks and pitching well enough to be 14-for-15 in save opportunities this year which, after all, is what we are over-paying him to do.
Let me me perfectly clear: this does not make me happy. But it does put things in perspective. Trading for Capps was a win-now move, and we won. We didn't go all the way, but nobody has a crystal ball. That and we still have the best backstop in baseball on our team locked up for years to come, even if he's behind the plate for fewer than 100 games this year.
4. He's such a nice guy
Are you following him on Twitter? Me neither, but his tweets are so positive and upbeat!
3. He's never been in Gardy's doghouse
Say what you will about Ron Gardenhire, year after year he's produced winning ballclubs in spite of minuscule payrolls and unpolished talent. He knows how to win. Can he beat the Yankees in the playoffs? Well, neither can I. I'm of the belief that the playoffs are a bit of a crapshoot. We didn't win, but if you look at the odds of a small market team making the playoffs six times in ten years, you have to be rather single-minded to think Gardenhire is feeble-minded. As much as I grumble upon hearing some of Gardy's decisions, he's made too many great ones for me to second-guess his every move.
Remember all those times you talked about him sucking? Well, he heard you. And he apologized. That's right, not only does he go out there and stink it up, but he admits it and tells you deserve better (even though most rude fans don't deserve better). That kind of character isn't easy to find. In response to getting booed in Oakland (where he protected a 5-4 lead, I'll have you know): I'd be lying, and I wouldn't be human, if I didn't feel something. But does he blame fans for booing him (amid him doing his job satisfactorily)? Not even close! He continues, "Nobody likes that, especially in their home ballpark. But like I said, this organization here pays me to do a job and no matter what their fans think, this organization still expects it out of me and I've got to go out and do it."
I think the real question here is, "Do Twins fans deserve Matt Capps?"
1. His middle name: Dicus.
As in Biggus. 'nuff said.