According to the manager himself, Terry Francona always tells Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein to get a pitcher. Get me dat pitchah. I need dat pitchah.
Sure. That sounds simple enough. But have you seen the free agent market? It's kind of ugly. Plus, what does Tito want exactly? A starter or reliever? Or a guy that can do both? Or a guy who he can beat in cribbage? Unlike this guy.
There's one name that is intriguing to me and I think the Sox can grab him if they wish: Chris Capuano, formerly of the Brewers.Like most free agent pitchers, there's a lot of reasons to cover your eyes when Capuano's name comes up. First of all, he hasn't pitched in the major leagues since 2007. He underwent Tommy John surgery to start 2008 and the only time he's been on the mound is in rookie ball for six starts (three runs in nine innings).
Health is obviously a concern with Capuano, but he also brings some good things to the table as well.
Capuano is a deceptive pitcher with a solid strikeout rate in his career (7.4 K/9 in more than 700 innings). While other numbers of his like to fluctuate -- including his BB/9, which has historically been in the 3.5 range, but in '06 was under around 1.9 -- his strikeouts have been pretty consistent. This bodes well for someone pitching in Fenway Park.
He had a "career year" in 2005, winning 18 games with a 3.99 ERA and earning a trip to the All-Star game. He struck out 7.2 per nine innings while his WHIP was a tad high at 1.38. A solid season for a pitcher in the National League, but 2006 was probably even better, despite less accolades (and wins, of course).
Capuano won seven less games in 2006 while raising his ERA by .04. It seems like the year was slightly worse, but his WHIP actually improved greatly, down to 1.25 and he decreased his BB/9 almost by two: from 3.74 to 1.91.
But after that, downhill. In 2007, he missed a few games and just struggled. A lot of it was being unlucky, though. His BABIP was .308 in his solid 2006 season, but in 2007 it ballooned to .340. It's tough to be a great pitcher with a number like that.
Another selling point: Capuano is a local boy. Born and raised in Springfield, Mass., I'm going to assume he was a Red Sox fan, but I can't confirm that. Who doesn't love it when a local boy comes home?
How will Capuano bounce back from Tommy John? No one knows and that's the No. 1 concern. How would he adjust to pitching in a tough AL East? No one knows and that's probably concern No. 2.
While it doesn't seem Capuano has a clear spot in the pitching staff, I think he'd be a great pickup by Theo just to see what he could offer once he's ready to go. A starter or a reliever, it doesn't really matter. A Capuano signing would just be Theo trying to find another diamond in the rough that has shown potential. He's not going to be expensive either, so don't worry about the money.
It's a low-cost move with a potential high-reward. I think Theo should make it happen.
What do you think? Is this a move that could work for the Sox, or is this just another cheap option to hopefully fill a gap? How do you think Capuano would pitch in Boston? Is there a better pitching option?