Daily Dodger in Review: The two halves of Chris Capuano
CHRIS CAPUANO, 34, starting pitcher
Final 2012 stats: 12-12, 3.72 ERA, 33 starts, 1.22 WHIP, 7.4 strikeouts per nine innings, .254 opponents batting average.
Contract status: Signed for next season at $6 million; there is a mutual option for 2014 at $8 million, with the Dodgers owning $1-million buyout.
The good: Appeared in 33 games for the second consecutive season, following a second Tommy John procedure. You get a lot of points for that if you’re Capuano. WHIP was actually his lowest since his abbreviated rookie season.
Had an All-Star-caliber start to the season, going 9-2 with a 2.60 ERA in his first 15 outings. Finished second on the team in strikeouts (162) and innings (198 1/3).
The bad: In his last 18 starts, he went 3-10 with a 4.78 ERA. Curiously, for the fifth time in his last five full seasons, lost exactly 12 games. Allowed a team-high 25 home runs and struck out only 19 in his last eight starts.
What’s next: At the moment, the rotation is full and either he or Aaron Harang is expected to be traded before the season starts. Chad Billingsley is trying to avoid elbow surgery, so that might provide the only opening.
The take: Capuano was a steal the first half, but his second-half fade was not exactly shocking. For his career, he is 46-36 with 3.70 ERA in the first half, and 23-40 with a 4.94 ERA in the second.
You have to wonder if that twice-rebuilt elbow doesn’t begin to wear down as the starts mount.
He was signed under the budget constraints of Frank McCourt’s ownership and doesn’t appear a fit in the new bottomless checkbook of the Guggenheim regime. He was a fine back-of-the-rotation starter for McCourt, but Guggenheim has more ambitious plans.
If he could pitch out of the bullpen, it could theoretically solve the team’s quest for a left-handed reliever, but he has almost exclusively been a starter in his eight-year career.
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