Yesterday, we glimpsed at what impact Dellin Betances could make to the ball club in 2015. Today, we shift focus to Chris Capuano, a pitcher who didn’t start the 2014 season with the Yankees but made an impact to the rotation when it was bombarded with injuries. So, with his 2014 season behind him, what can we expect from Chris Capuano?
Chris Capuano’s 2014 season didn’t start off the way he hoped: he was a failed reliever in the Boston Red Sox bullpen (4.55 ERA, 1.547 WHIP in 28 games), which ultimately led to Capuano being cut from the team. In a surprising turn of events, Capuano found a team that was interested in him–the Yankees. But the Yankees weren’t interested in having Capuano as a reliever, they wanted him to be in the starting rotation.
The Yankees suffered multiple blows earlier in the year, losing CC Sabathia to knee surgery, losing Ivan Nova to Tommy John surgery and losing Masahiro Tanaka to a small tear in his elbow. The Yankees tried their best to fill the holes, acquiring Brandon McCarthy from the Arizona Diamondbacks, while relying on Hiroki Kuroda, Michael Pineda and Shane Greene to keep the rotation afloat. The Yankees signed Capuano due to him being a veteran presence, and while he wasn’t lights out, Capuano did a decent job by keeping the Yankees in the game every fifth day pitching to a 4.25 ERA and 1.310 ERA in 12 games as a starter.
While many believed Chris Capuano would stay on the team for the short-term, the Yankees surprised everyone and offered Capuano a one-year deal for the 2015 season, mainly due to the severity of Nova’s injury. Regardless of the numbers he puts up in Spring Training this year, Capuano is expected to be in the rotation as a fourth or fifth starter. But what will be Capuano’s outcome by the time Ivan Nova is ready to return? Capuano could either:
A) Pitch well during April, May and parts of June and the Yankees would be forced to keep him in the rotation.
B) Struggle for April, May and parts of June and the Yankees could either banish him to the bullpen or cut him from the team altogether.
What happens to Capuano over the course of the season is up to him, but for now he’s here to stay. The Yankees don’t expect Capuano to pitch to a 3.00 ERA, but they also want him to be effective and be the veteran presence the Yankees are currently lacking since Hiroki Kuroda decided to finish his career in Japan. He was quite helpful for the Yankees during the second half of the year and the Yankees would be thrilled if he could find a way to somehow replicate his second-half success.
Tomorrow: We analyze what David Carpenter did for the Atlanta Braves last season and what the Yankees can expect from him as he becomes a new fixture in the Yankees bullpen.