Red Sox Sign Chris Capuano

SATURDAY 12:36pm: Capuano can earn as much as $500K in roster bonuses, $1.25MM for starts (with bonuses beginning at 12 starts) and $1MM for innings pitched (with bonuses beginning at 70 IP), CSNNE.com’s Sean McAdam tweets.

10:31am: Capuano has passed his physical, so his deal is now complete, MLB Daily Dish’s Chris Cotillo tweets. Ryan Dempster has officially been placed on the disabled list to clear space on the Red Sox’ roster, the Providence Journal’s Tim Britton tweets.

FRIDAY: WEEI.com’s Alex Speier reports that Capuano’s incentives are tied to games started. He adds that the Sox are expected to clear room on the 40-man roster by officially placing Dempster on the restricted list (Twitter links).

THURSDAY: The Red Sox have agreed to a contract with free agent pitcher Chris Capuano, reports Ron Chimelis of the Springfield Republican (hat tip to his colleague, Jason Mastrodonato). Capuano receives a $2.25MM guarantee, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). He can earn bonuses that would increase the value to as much as $5MM.

The 35-year-old Capuano, who is preresented by Moye Sports Associates, must pass a physical to complete deal. If he does, it appears that he will not be in line for a regular rotation spot, but should be first up in case another arm is needed in that role. If he does indeed start the year off working as the long man in the pen, it would mark just the second time in his nine-year career that Capuano has not featured primarily as a starter. (In 2010 with the Brewers, he started nine games and made 15 relief appearances.)

Over his career, Capuano has proven a sturdy, if unspectacular, big league arm. Though slowed by injuries last year, he logged 198 1/3 innings of 3.72 ERA ball for the Dodgers in 2012. Last year, in twenty starts and four appearances from the pen, Capuano threw 105 2/3 innings and ended up with a 4.26 ERA. Though he logged just 6.9 K/9 last year, the lowest level since his rookie year, Capuano also held down the free passes with a 2.0 BB/9 mark. The resulting 3.38 K:BB ratio, along with a 46.4% ground-ball rate, left him looking good in the eyes of advanced stats like FIP (3.55), xFIP (3.67), and SIERA (3.87).

Though he carries the baggage of two Tommy John procedures and a series of bumps and bruises last season, Capuano looks to come at a solid rate. His new deal lands in much the same realm as fellow southpaw Paul Maholm, who got a slightly lower base salary ($1.5MM) but greater overall incentive package (he would max out at $6.5MM) with the Dodgers. Another lefty, Bruce Chen, got $4.25MM from the Royals. The younger and historically healthier Jason Vargas landed a much bigger deal, getting $32MM over four years from Kansas City.

From Boston’s perspective, it has essentially swapped out Dempster (and the $13.25MM he was owed) for Capuano and his much cheaper price tag. While retaining its depth entering the season, then, the club should have additional space to take on salary if mid-season additions become desirable. 



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