Chris Capuano and the Mets

According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Chris Capuano and the Brewers have decided to part ways. Capuano will turn 33 in the middle of the 2011 season and still sees himself as a starting pitcher, but the Brewers have five other pitchers who they've penciled into their rotation and don't see him the same way.

“Chris wants to be a starting pitcher and we don’t see a match at this time,” said Melvin. “We like Chris a lot but we both decided it was best he look elsewhere. I heard teams are showing interest.”

The New York Mets just might be the type of team that would be a perfect match for Capuano. With Johan Santana's return a total question mark and only three pitchers - R.A. Dickey, Mike Pelfrey, and Jon Niese - penciled in as starters for the 2011 rotation, the Mets need starters as much as any team in baseball. If Capuano has his heart set on starting, the Mets should certainly consider giving him that chance.

The big red flag with Capuano is that he missed the 2008 and 2009 seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Throw in his age, and there's certainly no guarantee that he can pitch a full season as a member of a major league starting rotation. On the upside, however, Capuano returned to the Brewers in 2010, and he pitched much like he had pitched over his career before his injury.

K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP xFIP
2010 7.36 2.86 3.95 4.22 4.08
Career 7.40 3.02 4.35 4.47 4.27

Although he only pitched 66 innings with the Brewers in 2010, it's encouraging to see that Capuano appears to be the pitcher that he was before Tommy John surgery. On top of the stats, his average fastball velocity in 2010 was 87.4 mph, which is actually higher than it had been in any of the 2005-2007 seasons. Although he is by no means a power pitcher, the fact that he regained his previous velocity is yet another positive sign.

The Mets should offer Capuano an incentive-laden deal for 2011. Although the Brewers attempted to do just that earlier in the offseason, it sounds from the report on their split that his role was at least as important a factor as the salary proposed by the Brewers. Capuano needs a place to re-establish himself as a viable starting pitcher, and the Mets need starting pitchers and have the spacious outfield of Citi Field to offer as a bonus. At a time when their budget is tight and they still have needs for the upcoming season, the Mets could certainly do worse than signing Chris Capuano.

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