Claudio Vargas, really?

The trade deadline is one of the most exciting parts of the season. The reason I enjoy it so much is that there is so much to analyze, so much to think about. How good are the Red Sox if they land Adrian Gonzalez? Does George Sherill have a marked effect on the Dodgers chances in the playoffs? For every trade, there are a dozen or more rumors, so you can play the what-if game all you want. Best of all, you get to play it with unfamiliar players. You’re not limited to the typical “Should we call this guy up?” questions of May and June.

Unless, that is, you’re a Brewers fan right now.

With Dave Bush and Jeff Suppan on the DL, the Brewers had to make some kind of move, if only to bring in another warm body with a fighting chance to post an ERA under 5.00. Today Doug Melvin made that move, trading organizational fodder Vinny Rottino for Claudio Vargas.

Vargas, you may recall, has already done time in Milwaukee. He came over as part of the Doug Davis/Johnny Estrada trade in the 06/07 offseason, but got cut in Spring Training last year. Rumor has it that Vargas had one chance to prove his worth in a bullpen session in front of the top brass, but after 12 pitches, everyone had fallen asleep, so they parted ways with him.

In other words: Brewers fans know what we just got. It’s one thing when your deadline acquisition is a fifth starter. That’s disappointing, though understandable. But when it’s a familiar fifth starter…well, it may not make any difference in the standings, but it’s not nearly as much fun. Had the Brewers made a deal for, say, Kevin Correia, that’d still be underwhelming, but at least it’d be interesting. And the very fact that a player is unfamiliar leaves some room for wishcasting.

There are a lot of players out there within spitting distance of replacement level. Please, Doug, next time you need to get one, find a new one. If you can’t bring us a pennant, at least get us a fresh face to analyze and keep us entertained for a couple of days.

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