A bit of irony in Vargas trade

Does anyone else find it interesting that the Brewers, scrambling for pitching in the wake of injuries and poor performances, picked up an arm they let go last year because they had too much depth?

That’s probably an oversimplification, but I do remember being very surprised at the end of 2008 Spring Training when the Brewers released Claudio Vargas. They re-acquired him on Friday in a trade that sent longtime organizational man Vinny Rottino to the Dodgers.

Vargas, 31, who pitched for the Brewers in 2007, could provide depth for a pitching staff that has sent three arms — Dave Bush, Seth McClung and now Jeff Suppan — to the disabled list over the past five weeks. Vargas opened the year on the disabled list with an elbow injury, then posted a 1.64 ERA in eight relief appearances for the Dodgers after being activated July 3. His fastball was clocked as high as 93 mph.

By the time the Vargas deal was complete, the Brewers still had not named a starter to replace Suppan on Saturday against the Padres. The team did promote Mike Burns from Triple-A Nashville earlier in the day, and he was one option. But with Burns back in the fold, the Brewers needed to send another player down to make room on the 25-man roster for Vargas. 

Melvin, who was presumably working the phones hard in the remaining hours before Friday’s 3 p.m. CT Trade Deadline, did not immediately return a call.

Melvin originally acquired Vargas as part of a six-player deal with the Diamondbacks in November 2006 and Vargas went 11-6 with a 5.09 ERA in 29 appearances, including 23 starts, the following season. He was one of eight starters vying for a spot in the rotation at the start of 2008 before the Brewers released him on March 25.

In dealing Vargas on Friday, the Dodgers opened a spot on the 25-man roster for reliever George Sherrill, acquired from the Orioles on Thursday.

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