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Penny pinching Pirates drop closer Matt Capps

Dec 13, 2009, 12:24 AM EDT

Pittsburgh has spent months trying to trade closer Matt Capps, but after finding zero takers the Pirates decided to non-tender him rather than go to arbitration. Capps struggled mightily in 2009 and likely would have been awarded a salary in the neighborhood $3 million, but that’s hardly a budget-crippling number even for a small-payroll team and he posted a 3.06 ERA in 217.1 innings from 2005 to 2008.
Capps is unlikely to find another team willing to let him close, but a return to his pre-2009 effectiveness would make him a very solid setup man and given the Pirates’ history with such things they don’t figure to spend the freed up $3 million any better. For now at least Joel Hanrahan is the favorite for saves in Pittsburgh, but he struggled in that role for the Nationals, has a 4.74 career ERA, and is actually older than Capps.

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