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Two Matts Potentially on the Market

Anytime the Marlins and Pirates are mentioned in the same breath as trading a player the mere concept is looked upon as just another day in the never-ending cycle. No matter your thoughts on either of those teams’ respective business operations, odds are everyone can agree that Matt Capps and Matt Lindstrom are two of the more intriguing options on the bullpen trade market. They share more than a first name in common as both held an earned run average over 5.8 in half a hundred innings.

In honor of alphabetical order, Capps is up first. All of 26-years-old, Capps was once billed as the Pirates future closer and since 2005 has pitched 271.2 innings, striking out nearly seven per nine while walking under a pair of batters. His career FIP to date is 3.84 and he induces slightly more fly balls than grounders. He throws a fastball that sits in the low-to-mid-90s alongside a slider and his contact percentage is slightly above league average rates.

The biggest difference in Capps’ season seems to be a career high HR/FB. His career percentage, even now, is 8.8% yet this season it was 13.5%. Capps is arbitration eligible and was reportedly offered for J.J. Hardy and likely for Reid Brignac. Capps seems likely to bounce back to his usual production next season unless something deeper is at work. Entirely unrelated to his baseball performances, but his middle name is Dicus.

The same can be said for Lindstrom. He too suffered from home run issues previously unseen during his career. Lindstrom pitches baseballs extremely hard with an average velocity in the 96-97 MPH vicinity. Last season he also dealt with injury issues that even lead to some time spent on the disabled list. Unlike Capps, Lindstrom has limited experience in closing. Should that matter? Probably not as much as some teams hoping to lower the price will contend.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Lindstrom is something he has presumably little control over. You see, Lindstrom’s career groundball percentage sits at 45%, yet his BABIP is over .330. Over the last three years only Tyler Yates and Merkin Valdez have similar profiles. We’re not talking about an extraordinary large amount of balls in play either, so whether this is just random fluctuation or something that Lindstrom will hold with him heading forward is unknown. Odds are somewhere in the middle, although again, we’re talking 500 or so balls in play.

Recent reports call a Lindstrom trade “imminent” which, since today marks the start of the Winter Meetings, means Lindstrom is nearing an extension that will keep him in Miami for the rest of his career.