One year ago one of the debates surrounding the Mets was what they should do with Angel Pagan (though, it was for extremely different reasons than the current debate). With Carlos Beltran also on the roster someone was going to have to move. Pagan was also coming off a career year, so you had to wonder if the Mets should cash in their chips and get value in return.

Looking back twelve months later, we all know what the answer should’ve been. Unfortunately the Mets chose to hold onto Pagan and now are left with a “commodity” that brings little intrigue to opposing front offices.

As we close in on free agency the Mets face a similar debate with Chris Capuano. While it is a slightly different situation, as Capuano is a free agent and can leave on his own accord, the decision is the same. Having gotten more than anyone could’ve imagined in his first year as a Met, should the team look to ante up and bring him back or cut ties before they get burned?

To me it’s an easy decision. There is no way I would bring Chris Capuano back to New York. Instead of giving you just one reason, here’s five to consider:

1) He posted a 4.55 ERA and 1.35 WHIP
For all the talk of how successful Capuano was in 2011, are these really the type of numbers we are looking for from our starting rotation? It wasn’t like he had particularly poor luck that cost him either, as he posted a .311 BABIP and 72.0% strand rate (compared to career marks of .300 and 72.8%). In a season where he made at least 17 starts his best ERA is 3.99. The fact of the matter is that he is not that good.

2) He struggled away from Citifield
Just take a look at the home/road split:

Home – 3.82 ERA, 1.21 WHIP
Road – 5.42 ERA, 1.51 WHIP

The major difference? He had a HR/9 of 0.89 at home while the balls routinely flew over the fences on the road, with a 1.81 HR/9. Now, consider the fact that the team will likely change the configuration of Citifield to convert it from a pitchers park to more “neutral”.

Does that not concern anyone else?

3) He’s a consistent threat to get hurt
Let us not forget that Capuano has undergone Tommy John surgery not once, but twice over the course of his career. Since debuting in 2003 he’s made over 30 starts and thrown over 150 innings three times (not counting when he was at 150.0 on the nose in 2007). Who is to say that he is going to be able to give 180+ innings again in 2012?

4) He’s a five-and-fly pitcher
If the Mets had a bullpen similar to the Atlanta Braves, maybe that wouldn’t be such a concern. All you need out of your starting pitcher is five or six strong innings and then you can turn things over to the bullpen and let them get the fine 12 outs. Not a problem because you have the weapons to complete the job.

Even if the Mets were to overhaul their bullpen, does anyone believe it can possibly be that dominant? If you consistently ask the bullpen to get more than six outs you are asking for trouble. In his 33 starts in 2011, Capuano went 6.0 innings or less in 23 of them. I’m not looking for him to be James Shields and look to go nine every time he takes the ball, but it would be nice if he could consistently go deeper into games.

5) There’s a good chance he’s too expensive
If he was willing to sign at a discount once again, then maybe I’d consider it (similar to the $1.5 million he signed for prior to the 2011 campaign). Being left-handed and showing that he was healthy, does anyone really believe that he is going to agree to that? The Mets have way too many needs in order to spend “bigger” dollar for a mid-rotation starting pitcher who will likely post an ERA well above 4.00.

We can get into the talk of him being a swing man of sorts, or even pitching exclusively out of the bullpen in 2012. However, at 31-years old, how many more opportunities will Capuano truly get to cash in? He’s likely going to look to take advantage of the moderate success he had in 2011 and I don’t blame him.

However, let someone else spend the money. He has disaster written all over him and you should be able to get equitable production at a fraction of the cost. Throw in the fact that he’s mediocre, at best, and the Mets would be much better served to part ways before they regret it. Considering that we all know they likely won’t compete in 2012, I’d much rather give up on him a year too early then have his contract sitting on the books in 2013 or 2014 with nothing to show for it.

What about everyone else? Do you believe the Mets should try to bring Capuano back in 2012?


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26 comments on “Five reasons the Mets should not re-sign Chris Capuano

  • Brian Joura

    I’m ambivalent about Capuano. I think he did a good job (3.67 xFIP) and I’m not overly concerned about him being reinjured.

    For me it all comes down to how much he wants. I’d do a Dickey-type deal of two years with a club option for a third. But I have no interest in anything longer than that.

    It may be another club values him more than that and if so – I thank him for a solid year in 2011 and wish him well in the future. But I have no trouble with seeing him in the 2012 rotation.

    • Ron Davis

      Every pitcher is a risk he did have a few surgery he is gaining milage on his arm now after it was rebuit . He can also be like R A a later bloomer. You know what you get from him. You have Pelfrey and he is alot younger and has not done nearly as good. I think with Johan being a if. and Neice coming back from another injury . the only dependable vet was Cappy. Sure you can fine another guy but no gaurentee he does not break down just as much risk. If the price is under 3 million i would take another year of Capuano but thats me.

  • metsstem

    This guy sucks. He is not going to help this team win consistently and I believe even another youngster could preform comparably. Let’s just say, I would rather give Pelfrey another run over Capuano and let’s face it, that’s not saying much… or maybe it says a lot.

    • Ron Davis

      The guy is average ok sucks no. If put in the right spot of rotation bottom he can be effective. I like Gee but the record was better then he pitched in the second half. He is at best a 4th or 5th starter or a middle inning pen pitcher.

  • Metsense

    Capuano is a back of the rotation starter. So is Pelfry and Gee. Santana will replace Capuano in the rotation. Even in rehab type mode, Santana should at least put up similar #’s to the 2011 Capuano. If not, there is big time issues in Metland. I would rather pitch Gee than Capuano because of his age and potential. I would rather pitch Pelfry because of his durability and age. Capuano may make more money in 2012 (due to the lack of quality pitching on big market teams) than Pelry in arbitration. The Mets don’t need to spend the money on Capuano, especially if it also requires a three year contract.

    • Ron Davis

      What starts the season does not always finish the season you can always trade Cappy if you sign him by all star break on the waiver trade time a guy like Cappy can be treat a left hander is always in demand sign him and then you can always trade him. By August you have have Familia and Harvey starting to come up to the majors for a month to month and half. it buys time till you can bring up the kids. its like insurance

    • NateW

      I do like the idea of not expecting more from Santana than Capuano gave them, and its basically a one for one replacement.
      However, Gee is more of a AAA starter, he was not big league quality for more than half of his season this year. And what if Santana instead imitates Chris Young’s year? Then you have Dickey, Niese, Pelfrey, and a rotation of AAA retreads and big league cast offs. Maybe Levon Hernandez wants another go-round with the Mets… Brian Bannister is available…

      Basically, my point is that they need to replace Capuano and Gee so that there is some depth when Santana comes up lame. Not count on a healthy Santana and the mirage that Gee is an effective big league pitcher, and everyone else had an off year.

      • Metsense

        Since the post was about resigning Capuano, I tried to stay with that theme. I strongly believe that the Mets need to upgrade their starting pitching and overhaul their bullpen. If Jose leaves, they may have some money for a FA #2 starter (although I doubt Alderson will go in that direction) otherwise a trade of a current 15M player for a #2 starter (again I doubt Alderson will do that also) is the only other way to stay within budget if Jose signs. I do think Alderson will go the FA route for a closer as it is a buyers market.

  • Chris Walendin

    Yeah, I have no problem with being glad about getting one year of decent value out of Capuano, shaking hands, and letting him walk.

    Whether by trade or another round of FA dumpster diving, they will have to bring in one or two more bodies, though, because a starting rotation of

    1) what’s left of Johan Santana
    2) RA Dickey
    3) Jon Niese
    4) Mike Pelfrey (assuming he survives the mob that forms when he’s tendered a contract)
    5) Dillon Gee

    with just Chris Schwinden and whoever is next year’s version of Pat Misch waiting in the wings doesn’t exactly give me a warm and fuzzy feeling…

    • SovereignRonnie

      I agree with Chris. You need a good 8-10 starting pitchers in any given year. I would rather sign Capuano for one year, especially if it means not starting Harvey’s or Familia’s arbitration clock until 2013 if at all possible. But, it depends on how much Capuano wants and how long the deal is for.

    • j

      Makes me once again wish Mejia didn’t get hurt.

      Still, by September of next year may we may see some combination of Mejia, Harvey, Familia, and maybe even Wheeler pitching in Queens.

    • Blaze #13

      If you ask me I think the mets need to wake up, look whose across town, and remember that they are a New York team and there are high expectations. They need to over pay for an ace right hander on the trade market because even if there was a top notch free agent he would never even consider the Mets unless they were desperate, pretty much like Jason Bay. I think that James Shields would be perfect. He’s a true gamer, he’s extremely durable, and going from pitching in the American League East to the National League, all while pitching in Citi Field could even make him a Cy Young front runner. He would bring a winning attitude and a lot of confidence to a team that the last five years has had little to none of. Once they have brought in someone to go in front of Johan Santana they need to have someone to go behind him. Mike Pelfrey does not fit this bill in any way, shape or form. This year’s free agent pitching market is extremely thin, and for the most part feature’s guys that are injured year after year looking for one year incentive laden deals. I say they trade Pelfrey for what or whoever he is worth and then trade for a reliable two-hundred inning number three starter, such as Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer of the Tigers, or Edinson Volquez of the Reds if they have given up on him. Another option is to make a big splash and sign Edwin Jackson. He’s a guy who has proven the ability of being a good pitcher, and if he has other guys around him to keep his confidence up he could be great. I honestly believe that they have the prospects and funds to accomplish this. Niese and Dickey are more than capable of rounding out the remaining two spots in the rotation. I should also mention that they need a great not good defensive catcher who calls a great game and throws runners out. I don’t care how bad his bat is, he can bat eighth, just as long as he keeps the pitchers calm throughout the game and knows where and how to get hitters out. After all this is done, they can work on yet another year of rebuilding an entire bullpen, resigning Reyes, and accessing the outfielders and second base. Good Luck Sandy, your gonna need it!

  • Shu

    Our problem is that we have a staff of 4 & 5 starters. Niese could be ready to take the leap that we were expecting Pelf to take and Dickey can be our 3.

    However this is about Cap. And I like Cap a lot. He is great no, but he is better than Pelf because he guts it out. Pelf fold like a cheap suit. However Pelf is under team control so I expect that Cap will be gone unless he signs a team friendly deal. I really hope that the Mets can find a way to trade Pelf for something decent.

    As the rotation is presently constituted I do not see Cap being back.

  • robert

    get rid of pelfrey he sucks,capuano is much better

  • robert

    dillon gee is there second best starter next to santanna

  • Wayne Garrett's Ghost

    Another year out of Capuano would be fine with me ($6.5 mil for 2 years if he’d sign for that). Lets face it, the Mets won’t be above .500 next year with or without him and giving some of their best young arms another year to develop would be a huge benefit (do we really want to hear for the next six years about how Matt Harvey turned out to be Mike Pelfrey because he was rushed and how he had to develop in the big leagues like Pelfrey?). Does anybody believe the rotation will be as healthy as it was this year? Chances are the at least a few starters go down or you have a veteran lefty (always a plus) for the trading deadline. Sure he’s an injury risk, but so is every other player in the league. He seems to be well respected, solid clubhouse guy and smart. I have confidence he’ll figure something out and give us some longer starts.

  • NormE

    Eric’s #4 reason is why I would probably not sign Cappy. We already have too many starters who can’t go 7/8 innings. The new bullpen
    will wither as the season goes on. We need inning eaters and Cappy can’t do it.

  • Chris

    If they do it should be as a long relief/spot starter/emergency type, not a regular rotation guy.

  • Cpins

    Who exactly are all the guys from whom we can “get equitable production at a fraction of the cost”?

    Pelf made $4m last year and will get more next season yet provided only 7 more innings with a higher ERA, WHIP and MUCH worse K & K/BB rate. Capuano’s base was $1.5m.

    The question is what will Capuano command? Double him to $3m and he’s still a bargain if he’s $6m a year ok – take a pass. This rotation is threadbare . . . Pelf is a low-k, more expensive right hander w/Cap like production. Santana is coming off an injury Wang took 2+ years to recover from. Niese coming off an injury. Gee has regression written all over him. Dickey is the best combo of proven results/health/front end production.

    I’d love to upgrade the rotation but we don’t have the dough to get a “sure thing.” If there really are better guys out there for “a fraction of the cost” I’m all for it but given not a single example was given . . . especially left-handers (help vs. Philly) who strike out 8 batters per nine innings.

  • Mike Koehler

    I’m not worried about Cap being an all-star. I’d welcome him back with open arms as a back end pitcher with a back end contract. And if the team really does end up with a surplus of starters (either via trade, FA or call ups), he can be a valuable arm in the bullpen.

    Bring back Cap!

    • Chris F

      Although not as enthusiastic about bringing Cappy back as Mike is, I think if we can get a year or two for a middle rotation guy is worth it. as others have mentioned, Pelf is an utter disaster, and a much bigger matter to deal with ahead of Cap. The off-on flashes of brilliance are good too. In the overall pitching crisis, I dont see him at the top of the worry list presently…Pelfrey on the other hand…


  • Mark V

    Eric Stash, Well sais, couldn’t have wrote it better myself. Agree with you on all points. Thank you !

  • argonbunnies

    Correct on the average strand rate, only slightly unlucky BABIP, and home HR rate. But that road HR rate is CRAZY bad. That is a fluke. His overall HR/flyball rate was 12%, 15th worst in the majors. I don’t expect him to get fewer flyballs, but I do expect fewer of them to leave the park.

    I’m also not sure what accounts for the half-run gap between his actual ERA and his FIP based on his K:BB rate (which was actually pretty excellent).

    I do not think Capuano is a must-keep, but I think he is a safe bet to be more effective than Pelfrey (who walked more, struck out less, and wasn’t a groundball machine either).

    If we were hell-bent on contending in 2012, I’d say Gee should be the #6, Pelf should be gone, we should sign an ace, and a 2-3-4-5 of Dickey-Santana-Niese-Capuano is fine.

    If we can’t sign an ace, then our rotation won’t match up well against the competition, so I say plan for the future. Bye bye, Cappy.

  • Thomas Fallacaro

    Every time I tuned in to listen to a Chris Capuano post game interview, he was alway`s explaining why he got shelled. With the Mets moving the fences in next season, Chris is not a good fit.

  • Thomas Fallacaro

    With the Mets bringing in the fences, Chris Capuano would not be a good fit being a fly ball type pitcher

  • Alberto Venezia

    nice call on capuano!

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