Should Chris Capuano be on the Angels Radar?


Veteran southpaw, Chris Capuano, is currently participating in the Japan All-Star Series with the Major League Baseball All-Star team. Capuano is pitching very well in the series, and is reportedly drawing interest from multiple Nippon League clubs. Capuano started the 2014 season pitching with the Boston Red Sox, and finished the campaign playing for the New York Yankees.

Capuano is a name the Halos could conceivably have interest in. He has the ability to start ballgames, he has experience pitching in relief, and he should come at a bargain price. The 36-year-old lefty apparently has always been intrigued by the idea of playing in Japan, but obviously would listen if an MLB team comes calling.

The Good

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221. That is the number of starts Chris Capuano has made in just over 9 big league seasons. Cap has plenty of experience. His 12 starts in 2014 were his lowest total since 2010, but that had more to do with his situation than his performance. Capuano started 84 ballgames between 2011 and 2013. Chris has appeared in one career postseason game, and was an All-Star in 2006 for the Milwaukee Brewers.

For a 36-year-old, Capuano’s numbers have stayed relatively consistent over the past few seasons. After a rough start to 2014 in Boston, Capuano joined the Yankees in early July, and reasserted himself as a legitimate big league starter. Capuano posted a 4.25 ERA over his 12 outings last season with New York, which beats his 4.28 career average. His 7.5 strikeouts per 9 innings matched his career average, and his 2.6 walks per 9 innings bested his 2.8 average. Cap registered a 2.89 strikeout per walk ratio, once again beating his career average of 2.66. His 3.85 FIP last season was really impressive, and blew away his career average of 4.22. None of these numbers suggest that Capuano is declining, if anything he appears to be pitching better over the past four seasons than at any other point in his career.

Perhaps, the biggest thing Capuano would bring to the Angels in 2015 is his versatility. He has shown the ability to take the ball every five days and give you quality innings, but he has also shown a willingness to work out of the pen. Cap could be an insurance plan for if Garrett Richards is not able to make it back in time for opening day, or if one of the other starters goes down with an injury during the season. He could start the season as the final member of the rotation, and shift into the bullpen if, Hector Santiago, or, Nick Tropeano, prove worthy of the spot. Capuano may not be household name, but he can do a lot of good things for a team.

The Bad

Chris Capuano has plenty of regular season experience, but he has pitched just three innings of October baseball in his career. His lone work in the playoffs came in 2013 pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series against the Atlanta Braves. Cap threw three innings in relief, striking out three, and issuing three free passes. He did hold the Braves off the scoreboard, but he was not overly impressive.

2014 did not start the way Capuano or the Boston Red Sox had hoped. The Sox chose to use Cap as a reliever, and that move backfired. Capuano went 1-1 with a 4.55 ERA across 28 appearances. While he was not horrible for the Red Sox, Capuano was released from his contract on July 1st. He had trouble keeping the ball in the strike zone while pitching for Boston, averaging 4.3 walks per 9 innings in 2014, as compared to his career mark of 2.8. Capuano’s performance should give any interested teams pause about his effectiveness coming out of the bullpen.

Capuano relies heavily on a sinker that tops out in the mid 80’s, while mixing in a changeup, curveball, and slider to get hitters out. His stuff is by no means overpowering, as Capuano is considered to be a finesse southpaw. Capuano has showcased above average command throughout his career, but if that aspect of his game were to drop off, his value could diminish considerably.

Projected Contract

Chris Capuano is likely to only be offered a one-year deal from Major League teams. Last offseason, Capuano signed a one-year contract with the Boston Red Sox worth $2.5 million. Based on his performance in 2014, Cap will likely receive a similar contract this offseason. If the Angels were to offer him a one-year deal worth $2.5 to $3 million, Capuano would likely be interested.

However, if the reports coming out of Japan are true, and Capuano is interested in playing overseas next season, it may be tough for the Halos to compete. A story in the Japan Times suggests that Chris has always been curious about playing in the NPB. According to Capuano, he and his wife have really enjoyed their time in Japan this fall. I would imagine that if he signed with a Japanese team, Capuano would likely be given a guaranteed spot in the starting rotation, and a prominent role on the team. For Capuano playing overseas might be a more attractive option than fighting for a spot on a big league club this spring. If he comes back and signs with an MLB team, he will likely be guaranteed nothing in regards to a spot in a starting rotation.

If Capuano is drinking the sake, and wants give the NPB a shot, I would consider raising my offer to $4 million.


I think signing Chris Capuano would make the Angels better in 2015. Capuano is exactly the type of guy the Angels have to pursue this offseason. His experience, versatility, consistency, and price tag all make Capuano an attractive option for the Halos. With the current cash constraints, Angels general manager, Jerry Dipoto, is dealing with, a guy like Capuano could give you plenty of bang for your buck. Capuano is unlikely to make 30 starts or hurl 200 innings in 2015, but he could easily make 20 starts and pitch 150 innings. You would be hard pressed to find better value for less than $5 million dollars in today’s game.