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Chris Capuano Rumors
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that back at the Winter Meetings, the Angels offered Matt Garza a four-year contract similar to the deal he eventually he inked with the Brewers last week. However, owner Arte Moreno typically wants a quick response to free agent offers, so the Angels didn't leave the offer on the table for long (Twitter links). The Halos have added Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs this offseason and inked a returning Mark Mulder to a minor league deal. Here's more from the West divisions.
- Rangers southpaw Joe Ortiz will miss three months of the season after he was hit by a motorcycle in Venezuela, tweets Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest. Ortiz, who was a pedestrian at the time of the frightening accident, has a broken bone in his left foot.
- The Astros announced that top prospect and 2013 No. 1 overall pick Mark Appel has had an emergency appendectomy. General manager Jeff Luhnow said in a press release that Appel isn't expected to miss much time: "He will report to camp on time. Once he arrives in Spring Training, we’ll see where he is at health-wise and take it from there. We anticipate that he will either be ready to work out at the start of camp or very close to ready." The Astros also announced that waiver claim Raul Valdes will be out four to six weeks after undergoing knee surgery.
- Former Dodgers starter Chris Capuano figures to be a bargain this offseason, Fangraphs' Jeff Sullivan writes. ESPN's Buster Olney recently noted (on Twitter) that Capuano is now only asking for a one-year contract. Sullivan suggests that could make him a better buy than someone like Bronson Arroyo, even though Arroyo is perceived as being more durable. In October, the Dodgers paid Capuano a $1MM buyout rather than picking up an $8MM option, suggesting that they did not believe he was worth $7MM to them. The Steamer projection system, however, projects that Capuano will be approximately as valuable as Arroyo, Tim Hudson or Phil Hughes.
Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.
Here are a few updates on some free agent situations around baseball:
- The Orioles expect their payroll to top $100MM, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, though it remains to be seen how much over that threshold the club will go. As things stand, Baltimore's player salaries add up to about $85MM, leaving plenty of room to add.
- Right now, the O's remain in contact with Nelson Cruz, A.J. Burnett, and Fernando Rodney, Rosenthal tweets. The team could also be involved on Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana if they fail to land Burnett, says Rosenthal.
- Free agent starter Bronson Arroyo has asked at least one club for a three-year deal within the last two weeks, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com. The durable veteran recently said he had yet to receive an offer, though it could be that he is only willing to field longer-term offers at the present time.
- Lefty Chris Capuano has dropped his ask from two years to one, Olney tweets. The 35-year-old should be an attractive option on a single-season commitment.
Draft pick compensation is hanging over the market for several prominent, unsigned free agents — namely, Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez, Stephen Drew, Nelson Cruz, and Kendrys Morales. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports looks at the draft pick situations of some of the clubs that might consider adding one of those names. As we finish a quiet Monday, let's round up some notes on free agent rumors from around the league:
- The Angels do not seem to be operating with much urgency to add a free agent pitcher, tweets Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. If the club does add to its rotation with an open-market contract, says DiGiovanna, it is more likely to go after Jason Hammel or Chris Capuano than Bronson Arroyo or Paul Maholm.
- Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said today that the club does not have any outstanding offers for guaranteed MLB deals, tweets Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. As MLBTR's 2014 Free Agent Tracker shows, Philadelphia has not entered such a pact since inking Roberto Hernandez on December 18.
- After committing a cool half-billion dollars through free agency (if you count Masahiro Tanaka and his release fee), the Yankees appear to be done adding significant salaries for the offseason, reports Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. New York seems to be following through on GM Brian Cashman's statements that the club would not pursue Drew, says Martino, and the team is not currently trying to work out a deal to bring Chase Headley over from the Padres.
Capuano, 35, posted a 4.26 ERA with 6.9 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 and a 46.4 percent ground-ball rate (the best of his career in a full season) over 105 2/3 frames with the Dodgers in 2013. Though his ERA numbers have been up and down over the past four seasons, Sabermetric estimators such as xFIP and SIERA both feel that his skill-set has been that of a 3.60 to 3.97 ERA pitcher in that time.
The big factor with Capuano is health — something he's struggled with throughout his career. Capuano has twice undergone Tommy John surgery, and while he looked to have overcome his injury woes when he threw 186 and 198 1/3 innings in 2011 and 2012, respectively, he was shelved by multiple injuries in 2013. Capuano saw time on the disabled list with a calf strain and a lat strain this past season, and he also threw just 4 2/3 innings in September as he battled a groin injury. He did throw three solid innings of relief and pick up a win in Game 3 of the NLDS, suggesting that he ultimately overcame that injury as well.
Capuano has posted excellent strikeout-to-walk ratios since returning from his second Tommy John surgery. From 2011-13, there are just 25 pitchers who have thrown 450 innings or more and posted a better K/BB ratio than Capuano's 3.14.
The Red Sox' recent experience shows the need for teams to be flexible at the closer position, writes ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. The Sox traded four players last offseason to get Joel Hanrahan (and infielder Brock Holt), but Hanrahan quickly went down with an elbow injury. They then replaced him with Andrew Bailey, and then Koji Uehara, who pitched brilliantly. The Red Sox weren't the only playoff team that changed closers for one reason or another, Crasnick notes — so did the Cardinals, Pirates, Tigers, Dodgers and Indians. That's worth keeping in mind this offseason, where the market for closers includes Joe Nathan, Grant Balfour, Joaquin Benoit, Brian Wilson, Fernando Rodney and Edward Mujica. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.
- The Twins are interested in starting pitchers Gavin Floyd and Chris Capuano, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Floyd's agent, Mike Moye, says his client is progressing well in his return from Tommy John surgery, and Berardino suggests Floyd will be ready to go by the time spring training games begin. The Twins' top target is still Bronson Arroyo, Berardino notes.
- One under-the-radar starting pitcher on the free agent market is Chris Narveson, who pitched this winter for Licey, in the Dominican. A number of scouts have their eyes on Narveson, Crasnick tweets. Narveson missed much of the 2012 and 2013 seasons due to injury, but was a reliable member of the Brewers' rotation in 2010 and 2011.
- Ian Kinsler could block trades to all but ten teams, but he didn't put the Tigers on the list because he liked their chances of winning a championship, John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press reports. That's what allowed the Rangers to deal Kinsler to Detroit. "I’m really excited," he says. "Our chance to win the World Series is better than anyone's."
- Reliever Javier Lopez, who recently signed for three years and $13MM, figures he might have been able to get similar money elsewhere, but he chose to stay with the Giants because he's happy in San Francisco, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. "In my case, I felt I wanted to be in a comfortable setting first and in a place that I feel has a chance to win. That’s why I chose San Francisco," he says. "I knew the offers would be around the same dollars, so it was just a matter of happiness."
The Dodgers announced on Twitter that they have declined their options on Mark Ellis and Chris Capuano. Ellis' contract contained a $5.75MM club option, and Caupano's deal contained an $8MM mutual option. Each player will receive a $1MM buyout.
Ellis, 36, batted .270/.323/.351 with six homers and four steals in 126 games (480 plate appearances) for the Dodgers this season. As is typically the case, he was a standout defender at second base, posting marks of +7.6 in UZR/150 and +12 in The Fielding Bible's Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) metric. I speculated earlier today that the Dodgers may be able to trade Ellis to a team in need of an upgrade at the keystone position, as his $5.75MM option was plenty reasonable, but the veteran will now be able to negotiate with any club.
Capuano, 35, pitched to a 4.26 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 105 2/3 innings for the Dodgers this season. While his role with the club was uncertain early on, injuries opened up a rotation spot, and 20 of his 24 appearances for the Dodgers wound up being starts. A .334 batting average on balls in play shows that Capuano was the victim of some poor luck, and his FIP reflects that, projecting that his ERA should've been closer to 3.55.
The Dodgers showed a clear readiness to move on from Ellis when they inked Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero to a four-year $28MM contract on Oct. 22. In terms of pitching depth, they can afford to let Capuano go in search of higher-profile options, given the presence of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-jin Ryu, Josh Beckett, Chad Billingsley and Stephen Fife.
Scouts from the Indians, Rangers, Mariners and Pirates were in attendance on the back fields of the Dodgers' Spring Training complex today to watch Chris Capuano in a minor league game, according to MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. Capuano dominated, striking out 11 hitters and yielding just three hits over seven shutout innings (85 pitches). Capuano is pleased with his improved mechanics and results over his past two starts, Gurnick writes. Here's more out of the NL West…
- Gurnick also notes that many of those same scouts (and possibly others) are likely to gather tomorrow for Aaron Harang's start. Capuano, Harang, Ted Lilly and Matt Guerrier are all trade candidates for the Dodgers.
- Troy Renck of the Denver Post tweets that new Rockies pitcher Jon Garland said he "strongly considered" signing with the Rox as a free agent this offseason before accepting a minor league deal from the Mariners. When that didn't work out (they released Garland on Saturday), he quickly reached an agreement with Colorado on a one-year, Major League deal.
- Top prospect Nolan Arenado has had a great Spring Training and is still in camp with the Rockies, but MLB.com's Thomas Harding tweets that the team isn't planning a Chris Nelson trade to clear a starting spot for Arenado.
- The Giants are in the market for a backup middle infielder, according to CSN Bay Area's Andrew Baggarly, who opines that Nick Noonan makes for a fine internal option (Twitter link).
Here's the latest from the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo:
- Pitcher Bud Norris of the Astros has "drawn interest from at least six teams," but Houston does not appear interested in trading him.
- The Yankees have had discussions about Lyle Overbay, who could platoon with Juan Rivera at first base in Mark Teixeira's absence. Overbay is currently with the Red Sox, but he has an out clause in his contract that he can trigger on Tuesday.
- The Red Sox aren't inclined to deal reliever Clayton Mortensen, even though he is out of options.
- The Orioles, Brewers, Indians, White Sox, and Mets have all had "internal discussions" about surplus Dodgers starters Chris Capuano, Ted Lilly and Aaron Harang, and scouts feel that the Dodgers will ultimately trade at least one of them.
- The White Sox are looking for another starter because John Danks, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, has struggled this spring, allowing 21 runs in 11 innings.
Congratulations to the Dominican Republic for capturing its first World Baseball Classic title, gaining a 3-0 victory over Puerto Rico in tonight's championship final. The DR finished with a perfect 8-0 record in the competition, led by tournament MVP Robinson Cano and seven saves by closer Fernando Rodney. One downside for the Dominican team (and the Dodgers) is that Hanley Ramirez left in the sixth inning with a jammed thumb and will likely undergo an MRI tomorrow.
Here's the latest from around the majors…
- The Mariners will likely be one of the trade deadline's busiest teams whether they're in contention or not, Larry Stone of the Seattle Times writes. The M's could look to deal one of their several short-term veterans if they're out of the race, or could augment their Major League roster if they're in the hunt for a playoff spot.
- In past years, the Yankees might have responded to Mark Teixeira's injury by simply acquiring a proven everyday bat like Justin Morneau, but Davld Waldstein of the New York Times uses this hypothetical trade to illustrate how the Yankees' philosophy has changed under Hal Steinbrenner.
- Mets assistant GM John Ricco talks to Alexander Hyacinthe of Metsblog about how the team views the 2013 season and what they expect from their young core players in the coming year.
- The Tigers could keep Rick Porcello due to dissatisfaction with current trade offers and because they may be forced to use Drew Smyly as a long reliever, Lynn Henning of the Detroit Free Press reports. Smyly projects as the Tigers' fifth starter if Porcello is moved.
- MLB.com's Jason Beck looks at some of the Tigers' bench options at the back of their roster. Don Kelly, who signed a minor league deal with the Detroit in January, can opt out of his contract if he doesn't win a roster spot but Beck believes Kelly has won a spot on the team.
- Catcher Brian Jeroloman became a "phantom ballplayer" when he spent over a month on the Blue Jays' roster in 2011 but never actually appeared in a game due to injuries. Now in the Indians' minor league camp, Jeroloman talks to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian about his quest to "officially" become a Major Leaguer.
- We've already heard that the Dodgers may hold onto their surplus of starting pitching, though Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano's trade value may have dropped anyway given their struggles during Spring Training, Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times reports.
Despite their rotation surplus, Ned Colletti and the Dodgers are "in no rush" to trade a starting pitcher, MLB.com's Ken Gurnick reports. Zack Greinke and Chad Billingsley are dealing with minor injuries, and Ted Lilly is coming back from shoulder surgery. Even if all the Dodgers' starting pitchers are healthy, one scenario might be for Hyun-Jin Ryu, Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang to begin the season in the bullpen.
Previous reports have indicated that other teams may be trying to force the Dodgers into a tough spot by lowballing them on trade offers until the need to set their 25-man roster forces L.A. to make a decision about how to handle its eight starting pitchers. If one of their starters isn't healthy or if the Dodgers are willing to use several of their starters in relief, that negotiation tactic might not work. Forcing a number of starters to the bullpen, though, would simply move the logjam from one part of the team to another, where it might affect pitchers like Matt Guerrier and a number of younger relievers. Here are more notes from the Dodgers.
- The Dodgers may eat the remaining $8MM on Juan Uribe's contract, Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times reports, but Uribe is trying to recast himself as a utilityman who can also back up Adrian Gonzalez at first base. Uribe's three-year, $21MM contract, signed after the 2010 season, almost immediately proved to be a poor investment, as Uribe hit .204/264/.293 in the first year of the deal, then .191/.258/.284 in 2012.
- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly says his team should consider letting him go if the team does not make the playoffs, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. "If we can't get them to play the game right, they may have the wrong voice. There's a ton of talent here," Mattingly says. Mattingly is not under contract for 2014, and Shaikin reports that Mattingly does not expect to receive a contract extension before the season starts.