Nationals a finalist to acquire Capps

Nationals a finalist to acquire Capps

The Nationals are a finalist to acquire the services of free-agent right-hander Matt Capps, according to a baseball source.

If the Nationals sign Capps, he would serve as a late-inning reliever and most likely compete with Brian Bruney for save opportunities.

Capps has spent his entire five-year career with the Pirates, collecting 67 saves while posting a 3.61 ERA. He was non-tendered by Pittsburgh on Saturday.

When reached by phone, Capps declined to talk about contract negotiations with any club, but he said he is interested in playing for the Nationals and impressed by how they have improved their roster by signing catcher Ivan Rodriguez.

"They had a great offensive team [this past season]," Capps said. "If they put some pitching out there, they can play with anybody. I feel it would be a good situation and a good opportunity for me, personally. I already like the moves they already made in trying to be competitive next year and beyond. Ivan Rodriguez is a Hall of Fame catcher. To have the opportunity to throw to him and learn from him, I definitely think that is a big deal.

"It shows the direction the Nationals are trying to go. They signed him to a two-year deal - it's just not a fill-in. It shows that they are investing in the future. They want to do what's right, and they want to win."

Asked if he would want to become a closer if he signed with the Nationals, Capps said all he wanted to do is win.

"If it's better suited for me to set up for the team in the seventh inning or eighth inning, that's what I'll do," Capps said. "If they sign me and tell me they want me to play shortstop, I'll play shortstop. I want to win. I want to be in an environment [where winning is important]. All signs are looking good with what they are trying to do so far."

The Nationals are in need of bullpen help. This past season, Washington relievers posted a 5.09 ERA, which ranked 30th in the Major Leagues.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.