Where to Shop Chris Capuano

Carlos Beltran has been traded — now what? Is Chris Capuano next?

It’s questionable whether the Mets will trade Capuano to a pennant-contending team. I have read some reports that the Mets may stick with Capuano through the end of the year because a) he could become a Type B free agent, and therefore net the Mets a sandwich pick in next year’s draft; b) the team may want to re-sign him to another one-year, inexpensive deal; and/or c) the front office does not want the fan base to think the organization is throwing in the towel on the season.

Hmm … first of all, I don’t understand how the Type A / Type B status works, but if indeed there is a GOOD chance that Capuano makes Type B, then I can see why the Mets may hold on to him. As for re-signing him to another one-year deal, I’m not sure why Capuano would do that. He has proven to be a workhorse, a solid #4 starter, and he’s lefthanded. On the open market he should elicit plenty of interest and should be able to get at least a 2-year deal for much more than the $1.5M discount he’s getting this year. Further, I would think he’d want to move on to a team that has a shot at the playoffs if possible — and the Mets aren’t going to be one of those teams in 2012. Finally, I’m not buying the idea that the front office is worried about the fan base — particularly now that Beltran has been dealt. The most “in-tune” fans realized the season was over when K-Rod was sent packing, and only be more convinced of the reality. The casual fan — meaning, the people who don’t read Mets blogs every day (and that accounts for at least 75% of the fan base) — could not tell Chris Capuano from Jerry Koosman, and certainly wouldn’t blink if they heard Capuano was traded away. That part of the fan base will miss Beltran, will miss Jose Reyes, would notice if David Wright wasn’t around, but wouldn’t care about Capuano.

My guess is that if another team makes a worthwhile offer, the Mets will be happy to trade Capuano. There are several teams that could use a starter of his ilk — namely, the Yankees, Reds, Indians, Tigers, Cardinals, Red Sox, and Diamondbacks. The Tigers and Indians would seem to be the most likely landing spots, though for whatever reason I keep envisioning Capuano in a Yankees uniform. The Cardinals would seem to be out of the running now that they have acquired Edwin Jackson, but one never knows. From what I’ve heard, the Indians were in the bidding for Jackson, and still shopping for a starter.

What do you think? Is Chris Capuano on the block? Should he be? What teams might be interested in his services? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. ed July 28, 2011 at 9:59 am
    I’ve been saying for two weeks Cappy makes sense to the Yanks. Starting pitcher or LHRP they need both and Cappy has proven he can handle NY. Not sure he’ll translate to the AL but I think the Yanks might be desperate enough to roll the dice.
  2. Paul July 28, 2011 at 11:21 am
    If Capuano is likely to bring a draft pick if the Mets don’t re-sign him, they should hang onto him.

    If not, they should be shopping him even though there isn’t a good choice to plug into his rotation spot for the next month.

    I can’t imagine Capuano (or any other free agent with choices) deciding to sign up for a re-building year with the 2012 Mets.

  3. Mic July 28, 2011 at 11:24 am
    Why would cappy stay? Stability and building on present success. Second as oft stated this is a Great chance to divest of mike pelfrey….if the right trade shows up. If pel wins in arb he may become like armando galarraga…too expensive to keep ( with jeurys, jenry and harvey nipping on his heels). Plus i think cappy has more upside.
  4. SiddFinch July 28, 2011 at 12:03 pm
    I don’t see why you’d want to trade Capuano. He’s a dependable veteran presence who could net a sandwich pick in the offseason or if re-signed serve as a good #4 until the kidde corps arrives from late 2012 into 2013.

    The most you’d get for him might be a middling prospect at best plus you’d create a hole to fill in an already thin rotation.

    Another question is who do you replace him with?

    Other than possibly Byrdak, the Mets have more than likely made their deadline deals-and that’s a good thing.

    • Joe Janish July 28, 2011 at 10:27 pm
      I don’t see why you would want to keep him. The season, for all intents and purposes, is over. Capuano will be a FA at the end of the year, and is unlikely to re-sign here. If you know for sure he’ll be a Type B then I get why you’d hold on to him. But if he won’t, he’ll walk away in return for nothing.

      Who cares about who will replace him? This team is going nowhere.

      A few decades ago Doyle Alexander was traded from the Braves to the Tigers at the deadline for a “middling prospect” named John Smoltz. That’s why you consider dealing Capuano.

      • SiddFinch July 29, 2011 at 1:20 am
        You act as if the Mets are buried in the cellar and should fold up the tent for ’11 and just go home. That they should trade everybody who’s a warm body and play out the string with a mix of AAAA’ers and anybody they can scrounge up off scrap heap. This isn’t an Astros like situation- of course this team and next year’s have weaknesses, but not the degree that it needs blown up.

        You can’t implode and gut a team for no reason. That’s reckless and would turn an already sparsely crowded Citi Field into a modern day version of Grant’s Tomb. Also, what an insult to Wright and Reyes. It’s like saying to them, “Hey we’re gonna suck for the next two years, but man wait till 2014!”

        It’s not about wearing rose-colored glasses or drinking the kool-aid either. This is obviously a deeply flawed team but it’s competitive and not really that far behind talent-wise from the WC teams ahead of them. The fans need a team they can root for and not roll their eyes and go, “not again.” Fans also don’t need 60-70 win teams for the next couple of years just to prove how dedicated the team is to the future. It’s just not that dire of a situation.

        The Reds are underachieving, and I’d say more talented than the Mets. They are not a bad team at all but the Mets just hit them with their first home sweep of the season right after the Reds took 2 of 3 from the Braves and seemed to have righted their season.

        I will say this year’s Mets team is one of the weirdest I’ve encountered in my years of following them. They could implode tomorrow or just as easily run off 10 wins in a row. I said 80-85 wins entering the year (with a 5 win differential) and I’d stick by that prediction now.

        For what it’s worth the Mets currently have a winning record this year against every team ahead of them in the WC race,

        • Joe Janish July 29, 2011 at 11:46 am
          Clearly you see things much differently than I. Sandy Alderson announced the end of the pennant race and rebuild for 2012 and beyond by his actions of trading Krod and Beltran. So it’s already been “blown up”. That said, I don’t think they should trade “every warm body” but do believe the Mets should continue by dealing every player who is not under contract / control for 2012.

          And apparently you missed it – Fred Wilpon already disrespected Wright and Reyes during a press interview in March.

      • SiddFinch July 29, 2011 at 1:50 am
        You’re seriously going to compare the potential trading of Capuano to the Doyle Alexander deal of over two decades ago?

        First, Capuano missed roughly 2 1/2 seasons after his second Tommy John surgery. He hasn’t pitched over 200 innings since 2006.

        Meanwhile Alexander was only a few years removed from back to back 17 win seasons in years he threw 260 innings +, also he was healthy all those years without any arm woes let alone missing complete years, and he wasn’t traded until mid-August (it wasn’t even a deadline deal).

        Not to mention that trade happened over two decades over when the microscope was not nearly as focused on young prospect as it now. I’d also argue that this deal along with the Bagwell one by the Bosox five years later went a long way towards front offices changing their view towards prospects and their future value.

        Teams are much more judicious in their holding onto even the most marginal minor league talent.

        So I just don’t feel you can remotely compare the Alexander deal of ’87 to any type of Capuano trade which could occur this season, particularly in relation to their value on the market or what could be received in return.

        • Joe Janish July 29, 2011 at 11:37 am
          Yes seriously. Look at Smoltz’s numbers as a minor leaguer in Detroit’s system – he SUCKED. So the microscope argument doesn’t fly, because Smoltz would look “middling” today too. My point is that you just never know, and getting something for Capuano is better than nothing.

          If you want a more current example look at what the Twins received from the Mets for Luis Castillo. They didn’t get stars but they got at least one usable MLBer (Butera) – which beats getting nothing.

        • SiddFinch July 30, 2011 at 3:41 pm
          Smoltz was 19 and only in his second year of pro ball-at AA (if he were considered a middling prospect he would not have been promoted that quickly) when the trade was made. He was also one of the most highly regarded Tiger pitching prospects. He hardly sucked. That’s not revisionist history either btw…

          S.I. Aug ’87-Peter Gammons wrote:

          “Back in May, Sparky Anderson said he needed two right-handed hitters and another pitcher to contend. Well, Tiger G.M. Bill Lajoie gave him precisely that in Bill Mad-lock, Jim Morrison and now Doyle Alexander, who was acquired Aug. 12 from Atlanta for fireballing prospect John Smolz (ranked with the Yanks’ Al Leiter as one of the two best pitching prospects in the Eastern League). ”

          Smoltz was far from a middling prospect. When Tigers made the deal they knew they were possibly dealing a future Ace not a marginal 4 or 5 when they made the deal.

          For more info. on minor league Smoltz:

          http://www.minorleagueball.com/2007/3/12/143154/375

        • Joe Janish July 30, 2011 at 4:13 pm
          OK Sidd you’ve made your point. But you’ve missed mine or don’t agree with it, because this post wasn’t supposed to be about John Smoltz.

          I provided a poor example. Or maybe you’re right — perhaps it is completely impossible for the Mets to get anything of value in return for Chris Capuano. So we should just be happy to enjoy watching Capuano for the final two months and then see him sign with someone else in the winter, with the Mets receiving nothing in return.

        • SiddFinch July 30, 2011 at 5:50 pm
          but joe you brought smoltz into the discussion not me. but aside from that, you are assuming capuano won’t re-sign in the offseason and you’re discounting the possibility of a post 7/31 waiver deal of capuano-like the 1987 trade you cited.

          there are other possibilities besides trade him now or he
          walks in the offseason. also, the Mets are 50-38 since their 5-13 start-which included that nightmarish stretch where they blew leads after the 5th in five straight games, think about this-even if they win two of those five, they’re tied for 2nd with arizona in the WC.

          the mets aren’t out of the race yet, have won 5 straight and played .560 ball since mid-april so there’s no reason to trade a starter from an already thin rotation. they have a shot at the WC and should be given the opportunity to go for it.

        • Joe Janish July 30, 2011 at 9:40 pm
          I can’t think of a reason Capuano’s agent would suggest that he re-sign with the Mets rather than go on the open market. And if he goes on the open market, the Mets are very unlikely to give him the years and dollars other teams will be willing to put on the table.

          Yes I agree the Mets should be given a chance at the Wild Card. But their GM traded away their second-best hitter and a lights-out closer, so reaching the playoffs in 2011 is obviously not a priority. I have adjusted my perspective to follow suit, because Sandy Alderson and Paul DePodesta have Ivy League educations and therefore know something the rest of us don’t.

          Also I am tired of hearing the “Mets are doing great since starting the season 5-13” argument. Not from you, but from every media outlet reading talking points distributed by the Mets hype machine. You know what? Those 18 games count, and they’ve been unable to overcome that start because they are nothing more than an average team. Look at the Red Sox, who started 2-10 and are now 24 games over .500 — accomplishing this feat in arguably the most difficult division in MLB. The Mets’ success came thanks to a strong June, when Jose Reyes hit .385, Dan Murphy hit .330, several others were performing over their head, and they still had Beltran and K-Rod. Bottom line is that it’s a level they’re unlikely to sustain, but even if they do, it’s not going to be enough unless all four teams ahead of them crap the bed and the two teams immediately behind stay behind them.

          But hey, 1973 happened so who knows. Ya Gotta Believe!

  5. Gavin July 28, 2011 at 1:30 pm
    We might as well keep him and hope to get a draft pick. I doubt teams would be willing to give up much for a slightly below average league starter.
  6. Garett V. July 28, 2011 at 1:38 pm
    Sandy Alderson has a 5 year plan; he’s dealing everyone.
  7. SiddFinch July 28, 2011 at 3:27 pm
    If there was any trade market for Capuano it probably disappeared after his performance today.
  8. Timo July 28, 2011 at 3:56 pm
    Type A free agents are those determined by the Elias Sports Bureau to be in the top 20% of all players based on the previous two seasons. Type B free agents are those in the next 20%. Unclassified free agents are those remaining in the bottom 60% of players.

    Teams that lose a Type A free agent, to whom they have offered arbitration, receive the top draft pick from the team that signs the free agent, plus a supplemental draft pick in the upcoming draft as compensation. Teams losing Type B free agents, to whom they have offered arbitration, receive only a supplemental pick as compensation.

  9. Timo July 28, 2011 at 4:06 pm
    I didn’t realize Cappy pitched last year. ESB determines the ranking from 2 previous years work. He maybe able to be a type B free agent. However, I would trade him IF you can get something NOW for him. If he doesn’t became a type-B free agent then we get nothing. He will not sign with us. He really likes NY and will probably sign with the Yankees next year.
    • Joe Janish July 28, 2011 at 10:23 pm
      Timo, thanks for all the Type A / Type B details.

      I understand how that part works, what I don’t completely understand is how they determine the rankings. What makes a player in the top 40%? What stats are they looking at? From what I have heard the formula is somewhat mysterious and not necessarily public knowledge. Though, some stat sites are able to predict the Type A / Type B FAs with pretty decent success.

      What I don’t get in particular is how Capuano can be in the top 40% when he made only 9 starts in 2010 and threw a grand total of 66 innings.

  10. Mic July 28, 2011 at 4:24 pm
    1. His performance today and several starts prior show fatigue. Previously joe i believed mention the fish had seen him alot, but i think and have blogged that he is running on empty and is a 5 inning pitcher right now. Anyscout looking at him can see a tired arm.

    2. He’ s lefty. We dont have a glut of lefty pitching.

    3. The experts think byrdak will be traded. Paulino and acosta too could fetch a few chips.

  11. Timo July 29, 2011 at 1:42 pm
    Understood Joe. I would like to know how they do it too. Maybe that can be my next job. 🙂
    I’m not heading up any projects at my company, just running numbers. I could get a job at ESB figuring out Type A/B players. It would be alot more interesting than what I’m doing now. 🙂