CHRIS PUMMER: Nobody is likely to remember Chris Capuano as the one that got away for the Mets, but the lefty did strike a pretty fair deal with the Dodgers. Certainly I think it will be better than a possible one for New York native Jason Marquis.
Los Angeles gave Capuano two years and $10 million, which about right for what he is: a pitcher with strong peripherals, and serious flaw (home runs), and one who will likely be good for a lot of average innings if healthy. Perhaps that’s a big if for Capuano, who has twice had surgery on his throwing elbow. Coming off a season in which he threw 180 innings, I think I’d be more comfortable with Capuano for two years and this price than some of the pricier one-year deals we’ve seen given to pitchers coming immediately after injury-marred seasons.
I also think Capuano will be a better value than Marquis.
To begin with with, I’m not sure you could get Marquis for much less money. Stunned by the last two contracts Marquis has signed. Coming off a an awful season with the Cardinals in 2006, the Cubs gave him a three-year, $21 million deal. After being mostly “meh” for Chicago, he had a surprising season for the Rockies in the last year of that contract after it was dumped on Colorado. Then then Nationals gave Marquis two years and $15 million, and predictably, he didn’t pitch very well.
So even if Marquis did come cheaper, I don’t think he’s a better pitcher than Capuano.
Marquis strikes out fewer guys, has been much more hittable. Part of that is getting more ground balls, yet despite that he still gives up nearly as many home runs as Capuano, who is notorious for that flaw. Marquis walks more guys.
Oddly, Marquis has pitched fewer innings than Capuano the last two years — though to be fair, I think his missed time this past year had to do with a line drive that broke his knee or something. That’s kind of fluky, at least more so than Capuano’s elbow issues.
Maybe given the context it would be a wash. With the Mets moving the fences in at Citi, they might be better off with a guy getting more balls on the ground.
I still like this for the Dodgers. In their ballpark, and a lot of the NL West parks they’ll visit often, Capuano can probably keep the HRs in check.
MIKE SILVA: There is no doubt that both the Dodgers value signings of Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang provide some upside. In pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium both hurlers could win 15 games in rounding out 2/5th of their rotation. I do have to question their decision to let Hiroki Kuroda walk, while investing $11 million in two pitchers that are health risks.
Capuano had a decent season with the Mets, but typical was good for 5 innings or 80 pitches, whichever came first. I don’t think that performance is worth $5 million dollars a year. Harang is a former top-of-the-rotation arm whose career has been killed by injuries. His number outside of Petco Park (4.70 ERA) were wildly mediocre.
Kuroda would probably command slightly more than Capuano/Harang combined (estimated $12 million), for the same two years. Ned Colletti could then round out his rotation by bringing in a value signing (which Capuano was with the Mets last year) such as Jason Marquis for a low base plus incentives.
If the Dodgers weren’t in bankruptcy, I would have assumed they were on a strict budget that made such a plan prohibitive. However, it’s clear they are allowed to spend as a new owner should be in place by the beginning of the 2012 season.
In my opinion, the Dodgers signed two very good, yet mediocre pitchers, instead of a top of the rotation arm in Kuroda and a low risk/high reward arm like Marquis.