If the “news” that a big, fat lineman failed his physical hasn’t distracted you, then chances are you’ve heard that the Washington Nationals traded Matt Capps to the Minnesota Twins for two prospects. This is quite a coup for GM Mike Rizzo, as he’s managed to flip a guy that was non-tendered last season by the Pittsburgh Pirates and leveraged his overrated status as an All-Star closer into something this organization lacks: a catcher that’s both healthy and on the verge of contributing.
So who are these guys?
Wilson Ramos is obviously the key cog in this trade. Blocked by some guy name Joe Mauer at catcher, he’s coming off a season of injuries (broken finger, pulled hamstring) and has hit .241 with 5 HR and 30 RBI with Rochester in 71 games — .292 in June/July after a .177 April/May stretch.
John Sickels rated him a Grade-B prospect in his most recent edition, praising his ability to throw runners out (42% in ’09) and overall characterizing him as an above-average defender. Sickels cautioned his strike-zone judgment, noting his low walk rate, which has evidenced itself in 2010: 12BB in 71G.
Rob Gordon and Jeremy Deloney gave him an 8B rating (roughly a 70% chance of becoming a solid, everyday player) and praised his power potential and described his defensive play as “fundamentally sound… with plus arm strength and agility.” Unlike Sickels, they have more faith that he can hit for a high average, but like Sickels they believe that will only happen with more selectivity.
He is expected to begin his Washington Nationals career with the Syracuse Chiefs.
Josh Johnson of the Twins prospect-following site Josh’s Thoughts summarized the inclusion of Joe Testa into this trade:
Testa was ranked as the No. 49 prospect heading into the season and is back in Single-A Fort Myers after struggling in Double-A New Britain. His inclusion into the trade doesn’t bother me. He is a 24-year-old with control problems who is still three stops away from the Major Leagues.
Neither Sickels nor the MLBA rated Testa, thus I’ll defer to Johnson’s scouting report, which can be found here. It would appear that Testa, a non-drafted free agent was the proverbial “throw-in” for this trade and has hit his ceiling and is on the verge of being too old for his current level. Thus, he’ll be reporting to Potomac, which has several pitchers that fit that description.