By: Big Rygg
On March 24, 2008, Claudio Vargas was a member of the Milwaukee Brewers and competing for a spot in the starting rotation. On March 25, 2008, Claudio Vargas lost that competition and was cut from the team altogether.
In reality, there were too many starters for not enough spots in that rotation…on March 25. Shortly after, Chris Capuano was injured and hasn’t thrown a pitch in the Majors since. Thus is the tenuous nature of pitching. One day you can have an apparent surplus and the next you can have a severe dearth.
There is one more date to point out though in Vargas’ relationship with the Brewers. That date is July 31, 2009. That is the day that Claudio Vargas, by way of New York and Los Angeles, returned to the Milwaukee Brewers in a non-waiver trading deadline deal for Vinny Rottino.
This time around, after rehabbing from an injury, Vargas would log his innings out of the bullpen. Those innings for Milwaukee in 2009 would be very effective ones to the tune of a 1.78 ERA, a 0.956 WHIP and a 226 ERA+ in 30.1 innings pitched.
Vargas resigned with Milwaukee this offseason to resume his newfound bullpen role and hopefully continue his newfound post-surgery success. I foresee his main contributions, assuming the health of his bullpenmates, as a bridge-gapper in reaching setup men Todd Coffey and LaTroy Hawkins.
Should someone go down at the back end of the bullpen, Vargas will be the man to slide into a setup role, especially if his contributions continue to be at a level commensurate with recent history.