Chris Capuano Rumors
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.
The Dodgers have an embarrassment of riches on the mound and it stands to reason that, at some point, they will move at least one of their extra starters for other assets. Earlier today, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported that Ted Lilly is drawing more interest than Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang at this stage, despite missing most of last season. Here's more out of Los Angeles and other notes from the NL West..
- Rival officials believe that other clubs will wait for the Dodgers to be backed into a corner by the calendar before making a deal for Harang and/or Capuano, writes Buster Olney of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd). The idea behind that is to push the Dodgers to eat most of the money owed to the pitchers. Harang will make $7MM for this season and has a $2MM buyout on a 2014 option. Capuano, meanwhile, will make $6MM, with a $1MM buyout.
- Yesterday, Olney wrote that the Giants were in talks on a deal worth roughly $80MM with Melky Cabrera before his suspension, but a source with deep knowledge of the club's thinking says that no deal was close. The slugger ultimately landed in Toronto this winter, signing a two-year, $16MM deal.
- Woody Paige of the Denver Post writes that the Rockies need to upgrade their rotation with Capuano and J.A. Happ of the Blue Jays. Toronto can afford to part with the former National League rookie of the year as he isn't slated to be part of the rotation in 2013.
In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that some league executives feel that the new-and-improved PED testing will have a drastic effect on the power numbers of players. That feeling has given some owners pause about committing long-term deals until they know how it will all play out. “We’re all anxious to see what the result of the testing will be, but we’re anticipating that it will have a significant effect on the numbers, which will impact the game in general,” said an American League owner. “I think a few owners feel the way we do, that we’re going to see noticeable physical changes in players and their stamina in getting through a 162-game schedule.” Here's more from Cafardo..
- The Yankees have explored temporary options to fill-in for the injured Mark Teixeira but they have also looked into more significant moves. The Bombers have inquired on the Padres' Chase Headley, though we learned recently that he's not available at this time. However, Headley could be on the market this summer.
- If shortstop Jose Iglesias continues to hit in spring training, Cafardo wonders if the Red Sox might be open to dealing Stephen Drew down the line. The Cardinals pursued Drew this offseason and they are looking for help with Rafael Furcal sidelined. Drew cannot be traded until June 15 without his approval.
- Teams have a number of reasons why they say they are not interested in Kyle Lohse, but Cafardo isn't buying any of them. He feels that some team will happily give him a one-year, $10MM contract. He would be a great fit in tfhe National League and Cafardo suggests the Brewers as a good fit.
- There is more interest in Dodgers lefty Ted Lilly than fellow surplus starters Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano. The Dodgers are holding on to all of them until they know that Chad Billingsley is fully recovered after undergoing treatments to his elbow this offseason.
- A National League scout suggested that Phillies outfielder John Mayberry might be a good fit for the Yankees at first base, with a switch back to the outfield after Teixeira returns. Mayberry is a former first baseman and was used there last season when Ryan Howard was out of action.
Jack Zduriencik is still the right person to serve as the Mariners' GM, Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times contends. Brewer points to a strong farm system (which includes the likes of Taijuan Walker, Mike Zunino, Danny Hultzen and James Paxton) as evidence that Zduriencik's plan is working. The Mariners have only had one winning season since Zduriencik was hired, however. "I can't say that I'm happy, can't say that I'm satisfied at all," Zduriencik said. "Because, at the end, it's about the finished product at the big-league level and all of these kids becoming what you want them to become." The M's finished 75-87 in 2012. Here are more notes from around the majors.
- The Red Sox clubhouse feels "eleventy-billion times better" than it did in 2012, writes John Tomase of the Boston Herald. The team's decision to replace Bobby Valentine with John Farrell is part of that, Tomase argues, but so is the fact that new additions Ryan Dempster, Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, Joel Hanrahan, David Ross, Jonny Gomes and Stephen Drew weren't around during the Red Sox's ugly 2012 season.
- Napoli will be an impact hitter for the Red Sox in 2013 because he will no longer catch, Michael Silverman argues, also in the Boston Herald. "Now there’s more of a flow to everything," Napoli says. "It’s a tough position — catching and good-hitting catchers are tough to find. It’s just a grind — a grind that I do miss, but I don’t miss." Napoli caught in 72 games for the Rangers last year, but the Red Sox signed him to an incentive-laden one-year deal for 2013 with the plan that he would play first base, where, Silverman writes, he has looked "nimble and sure-handed" this spring.
- The Dodgers "do not appear close" to trading one of their starting pitchers, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Since the Dodgers cannot ship Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano or Ted Lilly to the minors without those players' consent, teams may simply wait for the Dodgers, who don't have roster space for all their starting pitching, to become more desperate. The Orioles, Brewers and Pirates "have expressed interest" in the Dodgers' surplus arms, Shaikin notes, but the Rangers are not a likely trade partner.
They Dodgers have called teams to gauge the interest in left-hander Chris Capuano, sources told Troy Renck of the Denver Post. The Rockies, who have an obvious need for rotation help, are among those teams.
It makes sense that the Dodgers would actively shop Capuano as they have a surplus of pitching after signing free agents Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Renck doesn't see Capuano as a fit for the Rockies, however, given the interest he will draw and the reluctance of both teams to trade within the division. The veteran will earn $6MM in 2013, meaning that the Rockies would have to also unload salary in a deal for him.
For his part, the 34-year-old says that he hasn't asked out even though he seems likely to be squeezed out of the rotation. Capuano is open to moving to the bullpen if he is asked, but fellow veteran Aaron Harang doesn't seem interested in becoming a reliever.