It didn't take long for the Red Sox to replace Ryan Dempster as their long-man and starting pitcher insurance policy as they inked left-hander Chris Capuano to a one-year, $2.3 million deal Thursday, according to Ronald Chimelis of Mass Live. The deal also includes performance bonuses that could push its total value to $5 million, per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
At the very least, Capuano provides the Red Sox length our of the bullpen, but could also be a very valuable insurance policy for a rotation that features Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Jake Peavy, and Felix Doubront. Having an established pitcher replace Dempster in that role doesn't just prevent the staff from dropping off in case of injury, it also allows the Red Sox to give their pitching prospects more development time because they won't have to rush them to the majors to fill a big league need before they're ready.
Capuano is no one's idea of a superstar, but the fact that the Red Sox could sign him for a maximum of $5 million suggests that teams were relatively concerned about his injury history which features two Tommy John surgeries. When healthy, Capuano has been an effective starter, with a park and league adjusted ERA that stands just a bit worse than league average over his entire career.
He's a tad homer prone (1.23 HR/9 in his career), but if he is used predominately against left-handed hitters he could be an excellent fit for the Red Sox out of the pen. For his career, he's held lefties to a .227/.288/.331 line compared to .270/.336/.472 against righties. The Red Sox didn't sign an ace when they added Capuano, but they did acquire a very useful major league pitcher who can provide them with depth if everything goes wrong and a solid lefty-neutralizer if everything goes right.