New York Mets: Chris Capuano Isn't Coming Back, What It Means for the Rotation

Josh BurtonContributor IIINovember 9, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 27:  Chris Capuano #38 of the New York Mets throws a pitch against the Cincinnati Reds in the second inning during a game at Citi Field on September 27, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

On Tuesday, the New York Mets announced that they wouldn't be re-signing left-handed pitcher Chris Capuano for the 2012 season and beyond. After being signed by general manager Sandy Alderson in the 2011 offseason, Capuano was a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter for the Mets in 2011, and it was a surprise that he wouldn't be brought back.

The word on the street is that the main reason Alderson is willing to let Capuano go is because of the dire salary cap situation the Mets are facing right now.

Chris' base salary for 2011 was $1.5 million and that number ballooned to $3.925 million due to incentive caps Capuano reached during the season. Apparently, Alderson doesn't want to commit two years and $8 million to the southpaw, a contract which Capuano is looking to sign.

Losing Capuano from the rotation is a big blow to the Mets' pitching staff for the 2012 season. Even with oft-injured star pitcher Johan Santana returning from shoulder surgery, the starting rotation looks very shaky and, in all likeliness, some free-agents will need to be signed.

One very interesting option the Mets could get to replace Capuano is Mark Buerhle. Buerhle, who has spent his whole career in the White Sox organization, is a solid veteran southpaw who would be wonderful for the Mets' rotation and clubhouse.

Buerhle is also a very solid fielder in addition to his pitching exploits as shown in his amazing play on a Cleveland Indians' batter's ground-ball early in the 2011 season. Buerhle is an innings-eater and has displayed that he is a solid 13-win per season pitcher. This kind of player is what the Mets need desperately on their roster, and a guy like Mark would be a huge coup for the Alderson administration.

Not re-signing Capuano is a surprise move by the Mets, but it's not completely devastating to the team's pitching. In addition to Buerhle, there are a few other solid starting pitchers in free-agency whom the Mets could go after.