Chris Capuano will sign with the Dodgers for two years and $10 million, Jim Bowden reported today. Capuano was somebody that I think a lot of us were hoping would end up with the Pirates. You can see that that’s a very reasonable deal and as a lefty that can strike guys out, he’s something the Pirates don’t really have right now.
I’m not really sure what the club’s goal is with the rotation this winter.
As near as I could tell, they didn’t even express a ton of interest in Capuano (I’m wrong here, the Pirates were apparently involved in the bidding), who would’ve been a nice fit and a decent value even at, say, $7 million a year instead of five. This rotation needs help, and the guys that they seem most likely to sign right now (Francis and Cook, the ex-Rockies) won’t give the help they need. Hopefully, Huntington’s got something else up his sleeve for next week’s meetings.
Possibly in that vein, Rob Biertempfel tweeted today that the Bucs are interested in Wei-Yei Chen and Tsyoshi Wada. Chen is the more interesting of the two to me. He’s Taiwanese and the Pirates have actually established a bit of a presence in Taiwan over the last couple of years, signing a handful of teenagers from the island. I can’t find much information about his 2011 season, but in August of 2010 Patrick Newman said he had “NPB’s top power lefty arsenal,” with a low-90s fastball and a high-80s slider. I’m not sure that’s still true as his K-rate plummetted in 2011 after a drop in velocity, but if the Pirates think he’s healthy he’s definitely worth a look. Wada’s older (he’ll be 32 before opening day, Chen will be 27 in July) and more of a soft-tosser and from reading about him I kind of get the feeling that he might have some trouble transitioning to MLB. Either way, it is nice to see the Pirates show some international interest this winter; they’ve made some big strides in the Latin American market, but the club hasn’t done much on the other side of the world. As near as I can tell, the only Major League leve talent that they’ve brought in directly from Japan is Masumi Kuwata, who was 39 and very clearly past his prime when the Pirates had him in 2007 (hat-tip to Bucs Dugout for the FanGraphs links)