As exhibition games begin, the Dodgers are trying to figure out who they should trade off from their extra starting pitchers. They have three of them, lefties Ted Lilly, Chris Capuano, and right hander Aaron Harang. The Dodgers are expected to keep Lilly based on the speculation that he would be the hardest to move because of his salary, age, and rustiness. So that leaves Cappy, and Harang.
So what do the Dodgers do here? Which one should the Dodgers trade? By the way if anyone has any thoughts of the Dodgers trading within the division, forget it. It won’t happen. The Dodgers rarely ever trade within the NL West. Troy Renck of the Denver Post seems to think that there is a possibility of it happening though. Renck reported the Dodgers shopping Capuano to the Rockies, but speculates there isn’t a fit. Well duh. I think Capuano would fit with the Rockies, I mean I think he would fit with any team. That’s not the question here. There is no fit in the return for the Dodgers. Cappy is a good pitcher. I think it’s more of the fact that Colorado has nothing good to offer us in return. Do we want any of their crap prospects or mediocre position players? No. The Dodgers do have a need for a third catcher, but do you want someone like the aging injury prone Ramon Hernandez? No thanks.
Anyways, both Capuano and Harang, make about the same amount of money. Cappy is on the final year of a two year 10 million dollar contract. He is due to make six million dollars this year, and the Dodgers have a six million dollar mutual option, or a one million dollar buyout. While Harang has a very similar contract. Harang is on the final year of a two year 12 million dollar contract, where he is due to earn seven million dollars in 2013. Harang also has an option year for 2014, but his deal has some vesting options that can kick in if he reaches a certain number of innings. Harang would need to pitch 180 innings for his options to vest, so it seems unlikely he would get that much pitching time with the Dodgers.
The question is who is the better pitcher? And who could get the most return for their value? That’s a tough question to answer, because both pitchers are somewhat similar, but with different pitching styles. Both however are fly ball pitchers who would be better off in spacious ball parks. One of them might find themselves the odd man out in 2013.
Capuano is more of a finesse guy, while both pitchers seem to be workhorses. Cappy pitched 198 innings last season for the Dodgers, and got off to a great start in the first half. He finished the first half with a 9-4 record, and a 2.91 ERA, but struggled to find his rhythm in the second half. We had heard that Cappy has a history of fading down the stretch, and that is kind of what happened. Cappy finished the second half with a 3-8 record, and a 4.76 ERA. Overall, Cappy was 12-12 with a 3.72 ERA in 33 games pitched. He walked only 52, and whiffed 162, while posting a 7.4 whiff per nine rate. His splits were very good, as he limited lefties to a .229 batting average against and an OPS of .599.
While Cappy has impeccable command of his pitches, the Big Show does not. Harang’s major problem is his lack of control. The Big Show posted a 10-10 record, and a very respectable 3.61 ERA in 179 innings, However he walked 83, and only whiffed 131. That comes out to a very poor 4.4 walk per nine rate. But Harang had his strengths too. He only served up 14 home runs, despite being more of a fly ball pitcher. He limited right handers to a .233 BAA. Early in the season last year, Harang tied a Dodger record for whiffing nine consecutive Padres in a row.
Capuano is a fastball, change-up slider guy, with a great pick-off move, and a sly delivery. Harang is more of an over the top guy, and has a bevy of pitches in his arsenal. He has a two-seamer, and four-seam fastball, change-up, slider, and curve. He also mixes in a couple of different cutters, but his biggest weapon is his rising fastball. When Harang’s fastball is rising up in the zone, he can be hard to hit.
So which pitcher should the Dodgers trade? I’m not sure there is a right answer here. Their contracts are virtually the same, and they put up somewhat similar numbers. Harang seems to be more durable, but Capuano has much better control. Remember, Cappy has had two Tommy John surgeries.
Harang has said that he is not interested in pitching out of the bullpen, but Capuano has not ruled out breaking into the starting rotation, and has not asked to be traded yet. Cappy seems more open to the idea of pitching out of the bullpen. Logic would assume that whoever the Dodgers keep would be working out of the bullpen, as a spot starter/long man. I do think that Harang would probably be better suited for that role, but he doesn’t want to pitch in relief.
Should the Dodgers just dump one of them for a couple of prospects? To tell you the truth, I like both of them. They’re decent pitchers, and they both have exceeded expectations. Unfortunately the Dodgers don’t need both of them, and one of them has to go.
There is even a possibility that the Dodgers could trade both, and just keep Lilly. I would doubt that would happen, but you never know if they receive a good offer for both pitchers. This is a tough one guys, and I expect for this not to be decided until the end of spring training. I’ll leave the question up to you guys. Who do you think the Dodgers should trade? Capuano? Or the Big Show? Or perhaps you would like to see the Dodgers trade Lilly instead, and keep Capuano and Harang? I predict we will be discussing this for quite a while. I’ve always loved a good debate. Debate on guys!