Mets sign Segway enthusiast

The Mets signed lefty Chris Capuano and righty Taylor Buchholz last night and designated Ryota Igarashi for assignment.

According to Adam Rubin, Capuano contract provides a $1.5 million base salary with incentives. Back in the middle part of the aughts, after his first Tommy John surgery but before his second, Capuano was a stalwart member of the Gary (IN) Templetons’ rotation (also the Brewers’, but my fantasy league was pretty high stakes back then).

In 2005 and 2006, Capuano chewed up innings and struck out a decent number of batters, a nice if unspectacular pitcher. Though he missed all of the 2008 and 2009 campaigns after another arm injury shortened his 2007 season, he returned to the Brewers in June of 2010 and enjoyed a decent stint as a long reliever and spot starter until he took a place in Milwaukee’s rotation in late August.

In those final seven starts of the season, Capuano posted a respectable 4.14 ERA with small-sample peripherals vaguely in line with his 2005 marks. He featured a similar mix of pitches as he did in his healthy years and actually threw his fastball a touch harder. He seems like a great pickup at the cost, and should earn a role in the middle of the Mets’ rotation if he can stay healthy. That’s nothing certain, of course — he has, after all, had two Tommy John surgeries. But if he hadn’t, he wouldn’t be available for $1.5 million.

Perhaps most importantly, Capuano is apparently a Segway enthusiast. In this 2007 interview, he reported that he was frequently called a nerd by passersby while he sped around Milwaukee on his personal transporter. I can’t speak for my fellow New Yorkers, but I can promise Chris Capuano this: If I ever see him riding around Midtown on a Segway, I’ll call him a different name: “Hero.”

(Hero? That could work for me.)

Capuano also appeared on an episode of The Young and the Restless and was Phi Betta Kappa at Duke. Bronx Banter’s Emma Span recently described him as “blogger catnip.”

As for Buchholz, former roommate and Rockies fan Ted Burke called him “the best setup man in the game” in his healthy 2008 campaign, and though my namesake is prone to hyperbole, Buchholz was pretty awesome that season. A converted starter, in his lone healthy year of full-time relief Buchholz posted a 2.17 ERA and a sub-1 WHIP. Those numbers belied his just-pretty-good peripherals, but even just-pretty-good would be a nice addition to the Mets’ bullpen.

Buchholz missed all of 2009 following Tommy John surgery, returned to the Rockies in July of 2010, then promptly returned to the disabled list with lower-back stiffness. He did finish the year with two healthy innings for the Blue Jays in September. At $600,000 — barely above the league minimum — he seems a worthwhile bargain.

Incidentally, both Buchholz and Capuano went to high school in Springfields — Buchholz in Pennsylvania and Capuano in Massachusetts.

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