Mets Starting Pitcher Target: Chris Capuano

Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

The Dodgers' roster is overflowing with pitchers, which might make Chris Capuano expendable.

The Mets are apparently interested in re-acquiring Chris Capuano to fill the void in the starting rotation created by the R.A. Dickey trade. Capuano was, of course, signed by the Mets as a free agent before the 2011 season, a move that I was hoping the team would make at the time.

The knock on Capuano at that point was that he hadn't pitched in the big leagues in 2008 or 2009 because of injuries and threw only 66.0 innings in 2010. But he put together 186.0 innings of 4.55 ERA pitching with the Mets in 33 appearances, 31 of which were starts, in 2011. His strikeout and walk rates were good, and pitched the Mets' best start of 2011, a 13-strikeout, complete-game shutout.

At the end of the season, though, the Mets chose to let him walk. It was the correct move at the time; R.A. Dickey, Johan Santana, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee, and Mike Pelfrey constituted a good rotation at the outset of the season. When the Dodgers came in an gave Capuano a two-year, $10 million contract, it wouldn't have made sense for the Mets to match the offer. Even if they had, Capuano had expressed a strong desire to start and may have opted for the team with a hole in its rotation.

Capuano had a good year in Los Angeles with a 3.72 ERA, 7.4 K/9, and 2.5 BB/9. His home run rate — which had been quite high with the Mets in 2011 at 1.32 per nine innings — dropped, and he had a 2.81 ERA through July 21. Although he regressed as expected down the stretch, he still put together a good season with 198.1 innings pitched.

Heading into 2013, the Mets and Dodgers find themselves in exactly the opposite scenarios they were in a year ago. The Dodgers have gone out and acquired players left and right and find themselves with expendable starting pitchers. The Mets clearly have a vacancy, at least until Zack Wheeler is ready.

Capuano is set to make $6 million in 2013 and has a mutual option for 2014 at $8 million with a $1 million buyout, and there's really no room for him in the Los Angeles rotation. With Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Josh Beckett, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Aaron Harang in the rotation — plus Chad Billingsley, if healthy — Capuano might be a waste of the Dodgers' resources.

If the Dodgers are interested in dumping Capuano's salary next year, he'd once again be a great fit for the Mets' rotation. If they're looking for a real prospect in return, though, the Mets should find their fifth starter elsewhere.

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