The Capuano Corollary, the Villanueva Vex and the Gallardo Gallimaufry

Posted by Steve

A day after his call-up, we’re hearing more about Yovani Gallardo and the role he might play with the Brewers.

  • The Brewers are hoping to start Yo on Monday against the Giants at Miller Park.  He is, however, going to be available out of the bullpen this weekend against the Twins if the Brewers really need him.  I’m hoping they don’t need him this weekend, mainly because I have tickets to Monday’s game.
  • Capuano’s injury didn’t just lead to the promotion of one promising Brewers prospect.  Lefty Manny Parra was promoted from AA Huntsville to AAA Nashville, and Will Inman was promoted to AA to replace Parra.  Both Inman and Parra had been carving up their respective leagues.
  • The one bad thing about Capuano going to the DL (uh, aside from losing a solid pitcher) is that the injury was to his groin.  Now we get to hear Brian Anderson talk about “groan injuries” for at least another week.

I’m stopping the bullets here, because this next topic is deserving of multiple paragraphs.

There has been a lot of discussion over how the Brewers should handle Gallardo.  Should he go right into the starting rotation?  And if he excels, who should he replace upon Capuano’s return?  Or should he just be used out of the bullpen to limit his innings?

The Brewers don’t (or at least shouldn’t) want Gallardo to pitch much more than 180 innings, and using him out of the pen would be a good way to accomplish that.  They’d also be able to use him all season in this manner, including, dare I say, a playoff run.  A lot of people are afraid to use Yo as a starter because of injury risks.  As long as they monitor his innings, I see no problem with that though.  It’s not like the Majors doubles the torque on a pitcher’s arm or something.

There are reasons for and against either side.  It’s hard to ignore what Carlos Villanueva has done this season.  He’s earned a position as a starter, and his emergency start against Detroit only proved that further.  Yost is saying that Villanueva is too valuable out of the pen right now, which is passable I guess.  I think there might be another reason they haven’t moved him, though.

Let’s just speculate that Capuano is ready to pitch again in ten days, which means he’d miss two more starts.  The Brewers would use Gallardo in those two starts and then insert Capuano back into the rotation.  At this point they could either send Gallardo back to AAA for a while or move him into the bullpen.  Then Villanueva remains in the pen rather than building him up to make a few starts and then sending him back to the pen again.

If Gallardo really does well they could always keep him in the rotation for the foreseeable future.  If they did that, however, they’d have to shut him down early.  One quick note on this:  Please don’t be surprised if Gallardo doesn’t pitch well right away.  In fact, there’s a better chance he gets rocked that him throwing a gem at any point this season, probably.  Countless young pitchers struggle their first year in the majors.

I don’t really think the Brewers will do this, but I still think the best solution is to remove Claudio Vargas from the rotation.  He hasn’t pitched poorly, but he hasn’t pitched particularly well either, and frankly he’s been very lucky.  Vargas is the one pitcher who I’m all but certain won’t be in the rotation next year anyway.  He’ll probably be traded after this season.  I would either move Vargas to the bullpen or trade him (with Mench?) for a more conventional bullpen arm or a right-handed hitter.

That would open up one spot in the rotation permanently for either Yo or Villy.  Say Villanueva becomes the fifth starter and Yo goes to the pen.  Then you have Yo ready to step in if a starter goes down, but you’ve limited his innings in the meantime.

It’s that simple, really.  😉

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