Late last night Rochester Red Wings catcher Wilson Ramos was a late scratch before the game. News and rumors quickly began to emerge that the 22 year old was part of a trade and that was exactly the case. The Twins were able to make a deal that sent Ramos and A+ pitcher Joe Testa to the Washington Nationals organization for 26 year old closer Matt Capps and cash. This was not the kind of return that I was hoping for at the beginning of the year. I was hoping that Ramos could center a deal that would bring more just a reliever, however because of his atrocious season he has lost a lot of his value that he had going into 2010.
A lot of you may question this deal and I am part of that bandwagon who is not too too excited about it, however you have to look at it for what it is. The Twins need a closer. It has been apparent that Jon Rauch is not a guy you should rely on in the playoffs if the Twins make it. His fastball is fringe average for a closer (90 to 93, usually sits in the 91, 92 range), his curve ball is plus and you can not deny that, his change up is a show me pitch and a pitch you can see has got hit hard a lot. Overall Rauch is a solid reliever in the 7th and sometimes 8th inning. Not a guy you can rely on in the 9th though. What you get in Capps is a guy who has closed for pretty much his entire career. He throws harder then any guy on the Twins roster other then Jesse Crain (Capps is usually 93-94 touching 95 with 2 seem movement) and a good change up. Like most Twins pitchers he does a good job limiting walks and throwing strikes.
They got a player they needed but most will complain that it was a high price tag. Wilson Ramos was rated at the number 2 prospect in the Twins system (I had him 4th). But what has he shown us this year? Although he is a very good fastball hitter he may be worse at hitting breaking balls then Pedro Cerano from the movie Major League. He also has shown that he likes to swing the bat (12 walks on season) and thus he has also put a lot of bad contact on balls in play. Ramos has picked it up in June and July getting the average up to .241 (shows you had bad he was to start year) but he has hit 5 home runs all year (rated top power hitter in system) and is is slugging under .350. Did the Twins sell low on Ramos? Maybe. But this is a guy who did not have a future on the Twins big league team. They are playing very well right now and need to sure some things up on the pitching staff and Capps was the best guy available to them. As we have seen with trading for closers in the past (George Sherrill for 3B prospect Josh Bell, Eric Gange for OF prospect Engel Beltre and others) teams have been willing to overpay to get a guy they need and Bill Smith followed that suit.
I wish Wilson Ramos the best in Washington and congratulate him for being on the same team as Stephen Strasburg. It will be nice not to have to get blown away by his stuff. Also want to welcome Mr. Capps to Minnesota and hope he does well down the stretch.
Final note. I hope the Twins are not done. The first place White Sox have been aggressive. They made a move to get Edwin Jackson (although this does not help them in my opinion) and are working hard to get Adam Dunn so the Twins need to plan accordingly. They still have a couple more trade chips left in my opinion (Ben Revere or Angel Morales) who could be used to haul in a starting pitcher. Only thing I hope is that they stay away from Ted Lilly and Aaron Cook.