The Twins, having veered away from their first choice of starting pitching because of the lack of it in this year's trade market, have agreed to send Triple-A catcher Wilson Ramos to the Washington Nationals for closer Matt Capps, CBSSports.com has learned.
The Nationals also are sending an undisclosed amount of cash to the Twins and will receive 24-year-old, Class A left-handed pitcher Joe Testa.
Capps, who has 26 saves and a 2.74 ERA in 46 appearances for the Nationals, gives manager Ron Gardenhire a proven, All-Star closer who is expected to replace Jon Rauch in the ninth innings.
Capps' arrival also adds depth to a Twins' bullpen that already ranks first in the American League with a 3.19 ERA but has been taxed lately by a rotation that is pitching too few innings. Twins' starters rank 10th in the AL with a 4.39 ERA.
In Capps, the Twins add depth to go with Rauch and set-up men Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain and Jose Mijares. The Twins recently recalled reliever Anthony Slama as well but are not sure how he will respond during the heat of a pennant race.
Meantime, they moved Brian Duensing from the bullpen to the rotation, further taxing the bullpen.
The Nationals have been entertaining offers for Capps, who is a free agent this winter and would be cut loose because Drew Storen is the club's closer of the future. Capps is due a little less than $1 million in salary for the rest of this summer.
The Twins still have money in their budget for a starting pitcher to boost a lagging rotation after Carl Pavano and Francisco Liriano, but they've had difficulty even finding a quality starter who would consider them. They talked with Houston about Roy Oswalt, but Oswalt had the Twins on his no-trade list. So, too, did Dan Haren -- about whom the Twins also inquired. Ditto for Ted Lilly, whom the Cubs are looking to move but in whom there is far less interest than there was in Oswalt or Haren.
The Twins into Thursday were second in the AL Central, trailing the Chicago White Sox by one game.