According to Kevin Burkhardt of SNY, the Mets added a pair of Tommy John survivors today by agreeing to one-year contracts with left-hander Chris Capuano and right-hander Taylor Buchholz.
Capuano, 32, returned from his second Tommy John surgery to post a 3.95 ERA and 54/21 K/BB ratio over 66 innings with the Brewers last season, including a 4.14 ERA over nine starts. It was his first appearance in the major leagues since 2007. The southpaw isn’t a hard thrower, but his velocity (87.4 mph) was at its highest since 2004. It’s not clear if the Mets will add another starter — Mike Puma of the New York Post hears this signing won’t stop them from pursuing other options — but he will presumably battle for a spot in the back end of the rotation during spring training.
Things didn’t go quite as swimmingly for Buchholz last season, as his comeback was sidetracked by back problems. He ended up posting a 3.75 ERA and 9/6 K/BB ratio over 12 innings between the Rockies and Blue Jays, averaging 89 mph on his fastball. Still, this is a guy who was a highly regarded prospect and posted a 2.17 ERA and 56/18 K/BB ratio over 66 1/3 innings with the Rockies back in 2008, so this is a worthwhile gamble for a bullpen that is considered a question mark.
The Mets also designated right-hander Ryota Igarashi for assignment. He was signed to a two-year, $3 million contract last winter, but posted a disappointing 7.12 ERA and 25/18 K/BB ratio over 30 1/3 innings in his first season stateside.
UPDATE: Capuano will earn a base salary of $1.5 million with the chance for more based on performance-based incentives. Buchholz’s deal is worth $600,000 and is not guaranteed.