Starting Pitching Depth? How About Capuano?

By Rich Sparago

With the beginning of the World Series just days away, the off-season moves are getting closer. The Mets have several needs, and these have been discussed ad nauseam over the past month. One of the needs that team has is starting pitching depth, necessitated by the injury to Matt Harvey, and the old baseball axiom that a team can never have too much pitching. The organizational plan seems to be to buy time in the early months of the 2014 campaign, until Rafael  Montero and/or Noah Syndergaard may be ready (of course, subject to a possible trade of one of these pitchers this winter). There are some “internal” candidates to round out the rotation early next season, such as Aaron Harang and Daisuke Matsuzaka, both of whom pitched for the Mets last September. Carlos Torres, who pitched admirably last year, may be another internal option. However, Sandy Alderson has indicated that he may look outside the organization for pitching depth. If he does, how about Chris Capuano?

October 6, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Chris Capuano (35) pitches in the sixth inning against the Atlanta Braves in game three of the National League divisional series playoff baseball game at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

First, will Capuano be available? He signed a two-year deal with the Dodgers after the 2011 season, and that deal has a mutual option for 2014. Capuano was left off the Dodgers’ LCS roster, which could indicate that the team isn’t confident in the left-hander. With the Dodgers in 2013, Capuano went 4-7 with a 4.26 ERA. He appeared in 24 games, 20 of which as a starter. Capuano threw a total of 105.2 innings, and allowed 125 hits. He walked 24 and struck out 81, while posting a WHIP of 1.41. These are not stellar numbers, which may increase the likelihood of his being available this winter. Why might Capuano make sense for the Mets?

As mentioned earlier, the Mets have several needs. They have a fairly significant amount of money to spend, but even with that being the case, they have to make wise financial decisions to fill as many needs as possible. Capuano made $6 million last season, and may be willing to accept a short-term contract for comparable, or perhaps less money next year. When he was with the Mets in 2011, Capuano posted a 11-12 record with a 4.44 ERA. He pitched a gem against the Braves on August 26th, 2011, going the distance on a shutout, striking out 13 and allowing just 2 hits. But maybe the best argument for Capuano is that he may fit the Mets’ needs very well. Capuano can be a part of the rotation until the prospects are ready, then move to the bullpen as a left-handed long reliever. And he can do all of this for a reasonable price. With his injury issues behind him, and his versatility, Chris Capuano may be a good addition to the 2014 Mets.

What do you think?