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Old 04-05-2008, 12:53 PM   #8
Hogan11
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Default Capps signed thru 2009

Pirates Notebook: Capps' contract could lead to more
Saturday, April 05, 2008
By Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

MIAMI -- The Pirates and closer Matt Capps yesterday signed a two-year contract worth $3.05 million, buying out his first year of arbitration eligibility.

Each sought a longer term, and that still might be achieved. But probably not until after this season.

"It's certainly something we can look at in the future," general manager Neal Huntington said.

"We'd still like to see it happen, maybe down the road," Capps said. "For now, this is something that works for both sides."

The breakdown:

Capps' $435,000 salary for this season -- assigned by the team in March -- was increased to $500,000. A $250,000 signing bonus raised his total pay for the year to $750,000.

He will make $2.3 million in base pay in 2009, the first year in which he would have been arbitration-eligible. He also can make up to $150,000 in performance bonuses that year, based on games finished that year: $50,000 each for 50, 55 and 60 games finished.

The Pirates approached Capps about an extension in late December, and initial talks were aimed at a four-year contract plus a club option, which would have given the team control of all of Capps' three years of arbitration -- 2009-11 -- and his first year of free agency.

Similar deals were reached with starter Ian Snell and second baseman Freddy Sanchez, but that quickly fizzled with Capps, and talks turned to a three-year contract plus a club option.

That fizzled, too, and talks broke off in early March. Two weeks later, they resumed and this week finally reached the modest compromise.

The Pirates' general stance is that they have to cautious with relievers.

"We believe in Matt, but relievers' performance is the most volatile of any position," Huntington said. "Financially, because of that, it was hard to find common ground."

Capps' stance?

"We appreciate them not giving up on us," he said. "It's just a two-year deal, but it shows the confidence they have in me. And I think it makes for a good first step."

Wilson, Sanchez out
Neither shortstop Jack Wilson nor second baseman Sanchez was able to play last night, but neither has been ruled out for the weekend.

Wilson's strained left calf, sustained Thursday in Atlanta, swelled yesterday to the point that he described it as "ballooned." There remained no indication of any injury more significant than a deep bruise, but Wilson acknowledged that it was "stiff" and "sore," making it sound as if his next action could be in the home opener Monday.

"We'll see how he progresses in the next couple days," manager John Russell said.

Luis Rivas took Wilson's place, marking his third career start at shortstop in 567 games.

Sanchez was a last-minute scratch, informing the athletic trainers of lingering discomfort in his right shoulder immediately after a full round of batting practice. Russell said the team preferred to give Sanchez, who was pulled after five innings Thursday, "another day" to rest it.

Chris Gomez took his place.

Buried treasure
Utilityman Doug Mientkiewicz has been mostly bedridden by the flu the past few days but has remained available for duty.

The Pirates hired Brian Tracy, former manager Jim Tracy's son, to be pitching coach for State College, their Class A short-season affiliate. Brian Tracy, 24, was drafted as a pitcher in the 20th round last summer but, after a frank discussion about his long-term projection as a player, management offered a try at coaching because of his acumen and baseball background.

Capps' raise for 2008 pushed the payroll above the $51 million mark, to $51,103,783.
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