By Steve Dilbeck
1:16 PM PST, January 4, 2014
CHRIS CAPUANO, 35, starting pitcher
Final 2013 stats: 4-7, 4.26 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, .295 opponent batting average, 6.9 strikeouts per nine innings in 24 games (20 starts).
Contract status: Free agent after Dodgers bought out option for $1 million.
The good: Had a 3.17 ERA on the road. Unscored upon in four relief appearances. Dodgers went 7-3 in his last 10 appearances (3.14 ERA). Always solid in the clubhouse.
The bad: By the time he finally embraced coming out of the bullpen, the Dodgers had a surplus of pitchers and he failed to make their postseason roster.
Had a 5.18 ERA at home. Struggled with calf and shoulder injuries the first half of the season, and then as he hoped he was beginning to find a groove going into the stretch, a groin injury.
What’s next: He remains unsigned, but as what’s left of the upper tier of starting pitchers is picked up, he figures to sign with someone. Plenty of teams are dire need of starting pitching, and he is left-handed.
The take: When Capuano was at his best, he was effective. He was never going to be better than that, and the Dodgers have bigger things in mind. When he was not at his best, he could be awful. He had a 0.36 ERA in his four wins and a 9.10 ERA in his seven losses.
It was difficult to know what to expect from him, and he’s at an age where another injury always seems around the corner. The Dodgers made the logical move in buying out his option, since the $8 million he was due in 2014 is steep for so much unknown.
He pitched very well for the Dodgers in 2012 (12-12, 3.72), so he was hardly some disaster signing. But an ambitious team like the Dodgers needs more certainty for their rotation this season.
If he can stay healthy – a big “if” these days -- he could yet prove an effective addition to some team’s staff.
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