When the Chicago Cubs announced the signing of outfielder David DeJesus, the belief resulting from president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer was that DeJesus could bounce back from a down 2011 season, and turn out to have greater value than the two year, $10 million contract he signed with the Cubs. The New York Mets applied the same concept with starting pitcher Chris Capuano when they offered the veteran pitcher an opportunity last off-season.
Capuano repaid the favor by having a relatively productive 2011 season as starting pitcher for the Mets. Capuano started 31 games for the Mets last season, appearing in another two games as a reliever, posting a record of 11-12 with an ERA of 4.55. After a bounce back season with the Mets, Capuano is on the free agent market hoping to be of service to a team that is in need of pitching help. Enter the Chicago Cubs.
Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times is reporting that the Cubs are expected to make a run at signing Capuano. Capuano makes for a logical free agent target for the Cubs. Prior to Capuano’s time with the Mets, the veteran starting pitcher spent his past seven seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers’ organization. Meaning that new Cubs’ manager Dale Sveum and soon-to-be new Cubs’ pitching coach Chris Bosio already have a relationship with Capuano, which could make the Cubs a more appealing suitor to Capuano.
Capuano’s heyday came with the Brewers in 2005, when the starting pitcher turned in a record of 18-12 in 35 starts, posting an ERA of 3.99 in 219 innings pitched. Considering Capuano underwent Tommy John Surgery in 2009, it would seem unlikely that he is capable of being the workhorse he once was for the Brewers. Bill James projects Capuano’s 2012 season to be similar to his 2o11 season, with a projected record of 10-11 with an ERA of 4.12.
While Capuano is not C.J. Wilson nor is he Mark Buehrle, it is important to realize that the Cubs would not be asking for that caliber of pitching from the veteran starting pitcher. Besides, the Cubs pursuit of Capuano should not inflict their interest in Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. Capuano could serve as the Cubs swing-man between the starting rotation and the bullpen. Though, Capuano could also serve as the missing left handed starter in the Cubs’ rotation. Capuano could certainly be no worse than the revolving door the Cubs had at the fourth and fifth spots in their rotation last season. The Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Dodgers have also expressed interested in Capuano.