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Day 1 Winter Meetings Buzz: Capps on his way out?
By John Perrotto
INDIANAPOLIS _ It is starting to look like Matt Capps could very well be on his way out with the Pirates.
The Pirates have been aggressively offering their closer in trades at the winter meetings, which began here Monday, according to multiple sources.
Those familiar with the Pirates’ line of thinking also say that if Capps isn’t traded by the Friday midnight deadline to offer players salary arbitration that they are leaning toward releasing him.
Capps, 26, had a $2.3-million salary last season but struggled as he went 4-8 with 27 saves and a 5.80 ERA in 57 relief appearances. He also earned a $50,000 performance bonus for finishing 50 games.
Capps’ salary almost surely would rise to at least $4 million even if he lost an arbitration hearing. The Pirates are pondering if they want to spend that much on a closer or if they would rather find a cheaper alternative on the free-agent or trade markets. They could also promote from within and give hard-throwing Evan Meek a shot at the job in spring training.
Left-hander Zach Duke and shortstop Ronny Cedeno are also eligible for arbitration. The Pirates are also willing to trade Duke, who made $2.2 million last season. Cedeno, who had a $822,500 salary last season, could also be expendable if the Pirates trade for a shortstop at the meetings, which conclude Thursday morning.