Chris Capuano Rumors

AL Notes: Starling, Capuano, Rollins

The career of 2011 No. 5 overall pick Bubba Starling hasn’t gone according to plan, but the Royals remain patient with the now-22-year-old, Alan Eskew writes for Baseball America (subscription required). “He’s got the type of body and athleticism that will be able to play for a long, long time,” says assistant GM J.J. Picollo. “So whether he gets to the big leagues at 24, 25, 26—that’s not really a factor because he’s going to be able to play for a long time.” Starling hit .218/.304/.338 while striking out 150 times in 549 plate appearances for Class A+ Wilmington in 2014. Here are more notes from the American League.

  • Once Chris Capuano recovers from a quad strain, he’ll be a serviceable pitcher who provides the Yankees with flexibility, Mike Axisa of River Ave Blues writes. Capuano will miss the start of the season and might not have a rotation spot waiting for him when he returns, but he can also pitch out of the bullpen, as he did last season for the Red Sox and once did on occasion for the Brewers. Axisa suggests Capuano might work well in a swingman role. As a pitcher who can work in a variety of roles without worries, he could provide reasonable value on his $5MM contract.
  • Among the players the Mariners sent to minor-league camp today were lefties Lucas Luetge and Rafael Perez. That leaves David Rollins, a Rule 5 pick from the Astros, in competition with Joe Saunders and Tyler Olson to join Charlie Furbush as the Mariners’ second lefty out of the bullpen, as Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times tweets. Rollins has pitched well so far in Spring Training, striking out seven batters and walking none in his first 6 1/3 innings.

AL East Notes: O’Day, Rays, Capuano

Michael Saunders‘ recovery from a torn meniscus is “kind of a miracle,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons told reporters, including Mark Zwolinski of the Toronto Star.  Saunders is already back to baseball activities in camp less than two weeks after deciding to have the injured cartilage removed completely.  It was originally thought that the injury would sideline Saunders for the first half of the season, but he now has a shot at the Opening Day lineup and, at worst, should be back on the field by mid-April.  Here’s some more from around the AL East…

  • Orioles right-hander Darren O’Day said the club has yet to discuss a new contract with him, MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko reports.  While O’Day said he’d enjoy staying in Baltimore, he also noted that team will have a lot of other business to handle, as O’Day is one of 11 Orioles who will be free agents after the season.
  • Pitching and defense is how we build this team and it’s going to be the way we continue to succeed,” Rays GM Matt Silverman told Steve Phillips and Todd Hollandsworth of MLB Network Radio interview (audio link), though Silverman also believes the lineup is “much more balanced…and much more formidable 1-through-9.”  This balance, Silverman feels, will help Tampa string together more big innings and have more luck scoring runs.  “A lot of it [the scoring problems] had to do with situational stuff and things that not necessarily were flukish, but things that we thought would revert back to the mean.  We put a lot of guys on base, we just didn’t get them home,” Silverman said.
  • Phillips and Hollandsworth also interviewed Evan Longoria during their visit to the Rays‘ camp (audio link), and the third baseman said that he’s hoping to finish his career in a Tampa Bay uniform.  Longoria’s contract with the club runs through 2022, which would be his age-36 season, plus the Rays have a club option on his services for 2023.  While Longoria expressed his desire to be a one-franchise guy, he did hint that this would be contingent on the Rays continuing to be a winner.  “From the beginning, I really wanted to be one of…those rare guys who get to spend their whole career in one place,” Longoria said.  “I’ve been lucky enough to be on good teams and that’s really what makes guys want to stay places….For as long as that’s happening, I’m happy being here.”
  • Estimates on how long Chris Capuano will be sidelined with his strained right quad range from “at least the first week or two of the season” (as the southpaw told MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch) to all of April.  Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters, including ESPN New York’s Andrew Marchand that Capuano “is not going to do anything, at least for a couple of weeks. Nothing. The problem is we are so early in the process, you are almost going to have to start over.”

Chris Capuano Likely To Open Season On DL

Yankees left-hander Chris Capuano suffered a Grade 2 strain of his right quadriceps while covering first base in today’s Grapefruit League game and is expected to open the season on the disabled list, writes MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. Capuano had been expected to fill a spot in an already thin Yankees rotation, but his injury will open the door for candidates such as Esmil Rogers, Adam Warren, Bryan Mitchell and non-roster invitee Scott Baker.

The 36-year-old Capuano signed a one-year, $5MM contract with the Yankees this winter after he impressed them in a half-season’s worth of work last year. After being released by the Red Sox in July, Capuano signed with the Rockies and then was traded to the Yankees in exchange for cash considerations. With New York, the southpaw notched a 4.25 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 65 2/3 innings. Metrics such as FIP (3.85), xFIP (3.78) and SIERA (3.85) all felt that his work with the Yanks was better than his ERA indicated.

There’s currently no timetable for his return, but manager Joe Girardi told reporters that he’d “be surprised if [Capuano]’s not down for awhile.” GM Brian Cashman expressed earlier in the day that he’s been very impressed by Rogers thus far, Hoch writes, saying that Rogers would be “one of the guys we’re really looking at.”

The Yankees’ projected rotation right now includes Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Nathan Eovaldi and Michael Pineda, though Tanaka is attempting to pitch through a minor tear in his UCL, Sabathia missed most of last season with knee injuries and Pineda has just 247 innings in the Majors since debuting in 2011, due largely to shoulder injuries.



AL Notes: Red Sox, Cabrera, Capuano, Mariners

Commisoner Rob Manfred tops the 50 most fascinating figures in baseball, according to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman. Manfred has been pro-active during the first month of his tenure, Sherman opines, by already engaging the MLBPA over issues such as keeping the batter in the box between pitches and being ready to ignite play quicker after half-inning breaks while continuing the pitch clock experiment in the minors with an impetus to have them in MLB by next season. Rounding out Sherman’s top five are: Alex Rodriguez, Matt Harvey, Giancarlo Stanton, and Joe Maddon.

Here’s the latest news and notes from the American League:


Yankees To Re-Sign Chris Capuano

The Yankees have agreed to a one-year deal with lefty Chris Capuano, Jack Curry of the YES Network reports (Twitter links). Capuano receives a $5MM guarantee, per Curry. ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick tweeted this morning that Capuano was nearing a deal with an unspecified big league club.

Since his strong 2012 (198 1/3, 3.72 ERA), Capuano has been steady, if unspectacular, over the last two seasons. Last year, his age-35 campaign, he worked in a swingman capacity for the Red Sox and Yanks, posting a 4.35 earned run mark over 97 1/3 innings. He worked exclusively from the pen in Boston, and in the rotation in New York.

Capuano figures to provide some much-needed protection against injury for a New York rotation that includes question marks like Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda. If he is not needed as a starter, Capuano should be able to work as a long man in the pen.


Quick Hits: Pirates, Bruce, Rule 5 Draft, Capuano

The Diamondbacks won the Yasmany Tomas sweepstakes, signing the Cuban outfielder to a six-year, $68.5MM contract and drawing praise from some around the baseball world, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports.  One AL scout called the contract “a great deal,” since another AL scout told Piecoro that “most people thought it would cost between $80MM-$100MM” to sign Tomas.  It’s possible that the Snakes were able to get a relative bargain, however, due to concerns that other teams had about Tomas’ defense and plate discipline, not to mention career numbers in Cuba’s Serie Nacional that fell well behind the totals posted by such stars as Jose Abreu, Yoenis Cespedes or Yasiel Puig.

MLBTR wishes all our readers a Happy Thanksgiving, and here are some items from around baseball to go with your pumpkin pie for dessert…

  • Pirates president Frank Coonelly tells Dejan Kovacevic of DKOnPittsburghSports.com that the team’s payroll “certainly can and I suspect will” top the $90MM mark in 2015.  This works out to roughly $20MM in available funds by Kovacevic’s calculations, and “everything I’m hearing is that most, if not all, of that money will be committed to starting pitching,” with the Pirates hoping to re-sign both Francisco Liriano and Edinson Volquez.
  • The Reds are looking for multiple “inexpensive Major League-ready players” in exchange for Jay Bruce, a rival scout familiar with the team’s demands told Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun.  Cincinnati is known to be listening to offers for Bruce, though it could just be a case of due diligence rather than a legitimate desire to deal the outfielder.
  • The Rule 5 Draft is coming up on December 11, and Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper lists some of the intriguing names that are likely or unlikely be picked in two weeks’ time.  BA’s Matt Eddy, meanwhile, examines some of the key statistics and factors that led several prospects to be added to team’s 40-man rosters in advance of the draft.
  • Chris Capuano said “there’s a lot of truth to” rumors he is interested in pitching in Japan next season, the veteran lefty told Casey Stern and Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (Twitter link).  “It piqued my interest back in 2006….we’re considering it,” Capuano said.  The 36-year-old posted a 4.35 ERA, 2.47 K/BB and 7.5 K/9 over 97 1/3 IP in 2014, making 12 starts for the Yankees and 28 relief appearances for the Red Sox.
  • The Mariners would be hard-pressed to deal starting pitching given their lack of rotation depth, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times writes, and thus a rumored Hisashi Iwakuma-for-Yoenis Cespedes deal doesn’t make much sense for the team.
  • If GM Brian Cashman truly believes David Robertsonchecks every box” for what’s expected from a Yankees closer, then the team should’ve re-signed Robertson by now, Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News opines.  The Robertson/Dellin Betances combo was a major strength for the Yankees last season, though Betances might not be ready to take over the closer’s role.  Plus, as Feinsand argues, “who takes over the setup role if Betances moves to the ninth? Andrew Miller? Luke Gregerson? If you’re going to pay a free-agent reliever, why not spend on the one you’ve drafted and developed yourself?”

AL East Notes: Jays, Kendrick, Yanks, Cruz, Sox

Blue Jays president Paul Beeston appears set to continue on in that capacity, according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca. Of course, as Davidi notes, both Beeston and GM Alex Anthopoulos could face questions if a postseason berth is not in the offing in 2015. The front office will have at least $20MM to $30MM in free salary, Davidi reasons, which could be bolstered with a spending increase and/or move to shed some payroll obligations. As Davidi rightly notes, Toronto has a very clean balance sheet after this year, which could potentially leave the team with a big hammer to wield in free agency.

Here’s more from Toronto and the rest of the AL East:

  • The Blue Jays have a number of possible offseason targets on both the trade and free agent front, writes Sportsnet.ca’s Ben Nicholson-Smith. Among them is Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick, who Toronto has “placed multiple calls on,” according to Nicholson-Smith — who, it should be noted, also recently reported that the Jays are on Kendrick’s no-trade list.
  • Whether or not the Yankees are big free agent spenders this year remains to be seen, but the club’s financial muscle is flexed in many and disparate ways, as Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs writes. Over recent years, New York has consistently controlled the market for minor league free agents, bringing bigger and better offers to the table for players like Yangervis Solarte. (In an interesting note to give context to this relatively minimal spending, McDaniel says a team source told him the team could break even financially even if it carried $500MM in total payroll obligations, including luxury tax costs.)
  • The early set of rotation targets for the Yankees features names like Brandon McCarthy, Jason Hammel, and Chris Capuano, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. That jibes with another recent report suggesting that New York has no current plans to attack the arms at the top of the market.
  • Free agent closer David Robertson, who is currently weighing a qualifying offer from the Yankees, is one of the most fascinating free agents to watch. Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes that his sense is the club will be interested in exploring a multi-year deal with Robertson, but may not chase him at the top of the market and would be comfortable allowing him to walk.
  • Another QO recipient, Nelson Cruz, told MLB Network Radio (via Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun) that a return to the Orioles is his preferred outcome. “No doubt it’s my first choice,” said Cruz. “I’d love to be back. I understand the business. I know they’re interested in bringing me back. Hopefully we can work something out.” Cruz was not willing to say he would take a lesser deal to stay in Baltimore, though it is obviously hard to fault him for not copping to that publicly — or, for that matter, for choosing the best contract offer he receives, if that ultimately proves to be the case.
  • The Red Sox catcher of the future is Blake Swihart, not Christian Vazquez, opines J.J. Cooper of Baseball America. But the team need not decide now how it will sort out the presence of two highly-regarded young backstops. Instead, the team has the option of adding a veteran presence alongside Vazquez for the coming year while Swihart continues to develop in the minors. Assuming Swihart establishes himself as a big league regular, Boston will have plenty of time to assess whether it makes more sense to keep both players or deal one away.

Yankees Designate Chris Leroux For Assignment

The Yankees announced that they’ve selected the contract of the recently acquired Chris Capuano and designated right-hander Chris Leroux for assignment.

Leroux’s most recent callup with the Yankees lasted just a day, and he didn’t appear with the club during last night’s contest. The Canadian righty allowed five runs in two innings with the Bombers earlier this season and has pitched to a 5.08 ERA with a 23-to-10 K/BB ratio in 28 1/3 innings at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season.

The 30-year-old Leroux has a fair amount of Major League experience (71 2/3 innings), highlighted by 25 innings of 2.88 ERA ball with a 24-to-7 K/BB ratio for the Pirates back in 2011.


Yankees Acquire Chris Capuano From Rockies

The Yankees have acquired lefty Chris Capuano from the Rockies in exchange for cash considerations, the club announced via press release. Capuano joined Colorado on a minor league deal after he was released by the Red Sox.

The 35-year-old starter had not been given a chance to pitch for a Rockies club that is desperate for pitching, despite throwing 19 1/3 strong innings at Triple-A (2.79 ERA, 9.8 K/9 against 2.3 BB/9). He had less success at the MLB level this year as a member of the Boston bullpen, however, as he worked to a 4.55 ERA in 31 2/3 frames while striking out 8.2 and walking 4.3 batters per nine.

Offering the potential to start or relieve, Capuano represents a solid and flexible depth piece for the Yankees. It is not yet clear whether or when he will get a chance at the MLB level for New York.


Rockies To Sign Chris Capuano

The Rockies and left-hander Chris Capuano have agreed on a minor league contract, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports (via Twitter).  The deal will cost the Rockies only the minimum, as the Red Sox still owe Capuano the approximately $1.18MM remaining on his previous contract after he was released earlier this week.  Capuano is represented by Moye Sports Associates.

Capuano will be stretched out as a starting pitcher at Triple-A, Heyman notes, after pitching exclusively out of the bullpen in Boston.  The veteran southpaw posted a 4.55 ERA, 8.2 K/9 and 1.93 K/BB rate in 31 2/3 IP this season, and that ERA was largely inflated by a five-run outing on June 23 in what ended up as his final appearance with the Red Sox.

The signing marks both a return to starting and a return to the NL for Capuano, as he spent the first nine years of his career in the senior circuit before signing with Boston last winter.  Given the Rockies’ need for starting pitching, it’s basically a no-lose signing on their part to see if Capuano can adapt to the thin Colorado air and eventually provide some innings to the Major League rotation.