Chris Capuano, We Hardly Knew Ye


     Earlier this morning, it was reported by Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the Brewers had broken off contract talks with former starting pitcher Chris Capuano.  Doug Melvin was quoted as saying, “Chris wants to be a starting pitcher and we don’t see a match at this time.”  My response to that is…..why not? 

Is Capuano not a better option than Narveson?  Did we, the fans, not sit and wait for him to come back for two entire seasons?  I think it only fair that we should reap the benefits of his injury prone hiatus.  Even with his ‘Terminator’ left elbow, he is still a really solid option at the back of the rotation.  It is for this reason, we will look back at his time in Milwaukee and say, “Chris Capuano, We Hardly Knew Ye”.

Chris was drafted by the Diamondbacks in 1999 and had his first Tommy John surgery in May of 2002.  One year later he made his major league debut, with a sparkling new elbow.  That off-season, the Brewers made one of the finest decisions I can remember, they traded Richie Sexson to the Diamondbacks and got Capuano in return.  By 2005 he was making a name for himself, not only among the rotation, but nationally.  He posted an amazing 18 win season and lead the major leagues in quality starts.  To start the 2006 season he became the “Ace” of our rotation with an injury to Ben Sheets (another sad tale).  He was also named to the National League All-Star team in 2006.   Despite being an All-Star, he finsihed the season with a less than amazing 11 wins.  It never got much better than these two seasons.

The 2007 campaign started like a dream, Chris was 5-0 right out the gate.  After that 5th win, he would not win another start in a Brewers uniform until July 3 of the 2010 season.  Take a minute to wrap your brain around that.

Mr. Capuano then rattled off an impressive 22 consecutive losing starts.  Now I do not mean he lost 22 games, I mean the team could not win when he was on the mound…22 times in a row.  This clearly lead to his elbow ligaments fraying from embarrassment, as he decided to have his second Tommy John surgery that off-season.  We did not see him the entire 2008 season.  Fortunately, no one seemed to care very much since we made the playoffs for the first time in 25 years.  At the end of the season Capuano was released, but quickly re-signed to a minor league deal for the upcoming 2009 campaign.

His 2009 was embarrassing.  He spent half the time injured (guess what body part) and the other half throwing for a rookie league club.

Then the Crew released him again, only to snatch him back up for the exact same deal he had a season prior, however this time he got an invite to spring training.  Turns out, he had a really great time because he decided to have an extended stay in spring training.  Eventually he got a couple of starts for the Brevard County Manatees and he dominated.  Then he was called up to Nashville were he also got a few starts and was quickly called up to the Brewers again in May of 2010.  Thus our story has come full circle.

     This past season he posted a 4-4 record with a 3.95 ERA.  Not terrible by any means.  I guess Narveson does not impress me, so by having Capuano signed to an incentive based contract, Narvey would move to the pen.  He might make a terrific long reliever!!  Randy Wolf is still on the team, so there will be those games where we will need a reliever to throw 3-5 innings.  But, it doesn’t matter now, since Melvin is happy with Narveson.  It is hard to say what having Marcum and Greinke will do for Narveson’s confidence level.  Pitching behind Gallardo, Greinke, Marcum, and Wolf will probably take some stress off of him.  He does show alot of potential, sometimes.  Other times, he looks like Suppan Jr. : Giver of runs.  

In short, I am a little disappointed that we did not give Capuano one more chance.  Just in case.  Chris, I was always a believer in you and I hope you find a nice 4th or 5th spot in someone’s rotation.  We will always have the good times in ’05 and ’06, but we can never forget the bad times……..’07-present.  Chris Capuano, We Hardly Knew Ye.