It appears that Chris Capuano's time as fifth starter is about to end.
The Dodgers are set to give Edinson Volquez a major league deal, pending a physical. Volquez was released from the Padres this past Sunday, and his former team will be responsible for nearly all of his $5.725 million deal.
The move seemed to come out of nowhere, but if you were really paying attention to Capuano, it shouldn't be too surprising. He's simply been way too inconsistent, and now that we're entering the stretch run of September, the Dodgers are in a position to go for home field advantage in the NL. If they don't feel that they can rely on their fifth starter, then it's the right thing to get someone else.
Considering the Padres are paying most of his deal this season, it appears to be a low-risk, high-reward move. Then again, looking at Volquez's stats this season (9-10, 6.01 ERA, 1.67 WHIP), you have to wonder if this is the guy who will actually improve on Capuano's stats (4-7, 4.74 ERA, 1.44 WHIP).
I don't mind the move because I just don't see Capuano getting any better, especially when the games start to mean a little more and more. He had a pretty good July with a 4.15 ERA in four starts, but tanked this month to a 5.26 ERA in five starts. And that was with giving up no runs in 6 1/3 innings against the Cubs to start August.
Volquez is a former All-Star in 2008 with the Reds, going 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. But that was then, and this is now. He hasn't had an ERA below 4.14 since, and that was last season. Padres' pitching coach Darren Balsley was quoted as saying that Volquez runs into trouble because he actually tries too hard and starts to throw his mechanics out the window during games. That would appear to be one of the key aspects of his game to focus on for Rick Honeycutt.
And speaking of Honeycutt, if he gets some good starts out of Volquez, then it'll be further proof that this guy might be the top pitching coach in the game. Yes, I know it helps when you get to claim guys like Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke as yours. But, take a look at the work of Hyun-Jin Ryu and Ricky Nolasco. There's two great examples of how Honeycutt has left his mark this year.
This deal isn't final yet, but appears to be on the verge. Stay tuned.