As the most recent pitchers to be tied to the Twins, courtesy of Mike Berardino, Gavid Floyd and Chris Capuano are both familiar for different reasons. Floyd, 31 in January, spent most of the last seven seasons pitching for the White Sox; Capuano, who turned 35 in August, has been on Minnesota's radar for the last couple of seasons.
What's the story with each pitcher? Here's the side-by-side.
Gavin Floyd, RHP
2014 Age: 31
Health: Floyd underwent procedures in May of 2013 on his right (pitching) elbow, and he also had his ulnar collateral ligament repaired. At the time, recovery was expected to take between 14 and 19 months, which would put his return at sometime in July at the earliest.
Reports from Floyd's camp are, of course, more optimistic. In a recent report from MLBTR, Tim Dierkes said that Floyd's agent spoke about a throwing program that was already underway, and that, more impressively, included throwing off of a mound by December 7.
Over at South Side Sox, where people will be more familiar with Floyd than his own mother, Jim Margalus has a great article running through pitchers who recently undertook Tommy John surgery. He discusses when the surgery occurred, when the pitcher returned, and when the pitcher reverted to form, ultimately coming to the unsurprising conclusion that even the most optimistic scenarios see Floyd returning to pitch in June and being his "old self" by July or August.
The Twins have had plenty of pitchers go under the knife for TJ in recent seasons. Scott Baker, Joe Nathan, Kyle Gibson, Alex Wimmers, the list goes on; as successful as Mike Pelfrey was, after he shook off the rust, a gamble on Floyd will need to be carefully measured.
Scouting Report: At his best, Floyd is a ground ball pitcher who strikes hitters out at a league average rate. His walk rates are also right around league average, and he suffers when he can't locate his breaking pitchers or if he can't get that big curveball to go for strikes. To be the most effective, he needs the curveball to be a legit offering, he needs to work the cutter in on left-handed hitters, and he needs to hit his spot with his fastball. All three of those things aren't likely to be happening at the same time for his first ten or 12 starts of 2014.
In his career he's been a much better pitcher against right-handed batters, where a solid .248/.312/.392 looks really good and the triple slash against lefties (.264/.339/.450) isn't terrible but it isn't really good, either. Opposing teams should be trying to stack the deck against him.
Contract: If he signs early, a team will likely be looking for an option year or two. But if he lingers on the market and most of the jobs get snapped up, he'll be forced into a one-year offer. It's not inconceivable to think that he gets to January before signing. But I'd guess he signs for something similar to Pelfrey last winter, and takes a one year deal in the $4 million range.
Chris Capuano, LHP
2014 Age: 35
Health: Capuano missed short time on a number of occasions this season. Because of the "embarrassment of riches" in the Dodger rotation, Capuano was, for a short time, one of the odd men out. But he quickly made his first start on April 16, then didn't pitch between May 29 and June 19, and then missed a couple of weeks in September. he started and ended the season in the bullpen. The various injuries do not appear to be anything serious, but at his age should be considered a larger red flag than if he were in his mid or late 20s.
Scouting Report: When he's healthy, Capuano is an effective and reliable pitcher. His strikeout rates sit right around league average (although his swinging strike rate is above league average) and his command is better than Floyd's, but his ground ball tendencies aren't as prevalent and Capuano's velocity isn't as much of an asset as his ability to hit his spots. His fastball sits in the upper 80s on one end of the scale, and his curve floats in at the mid 70s. In recent seasons, his most effective pitch has been his changeup.
Unlike Floyd, Capuano would (barring something unexpected) be ready to go north with the team at the end of spring training. For a team like Minnesota, that has to be a very large mitigating factor in any decision on a pitcher.
Finally, Capuano's splits are more dramatic than Floyd's. Albeit from the opposite side. The southpaw has limited left-handed hitters to a .213/.288/.331 triple slash in his career, but righties have hit him to the tune of .276/.336/.472. In other words: Capuano's strong side is better than Floyd's, but his weak side is worse.
Contract: I still think Capuano could get two years from most teams interested in his services, but in the case of the Twins it might take a third year option with a nice buyout - if not a third year outright - in order to get him into a uniform. Regardless of the years, I expect Capuano could get $6 to $8 million a year, and could get up to $10 million if the signing team is desperate enough.
Which pitcher would you rather have, and under what contract terms?