Tough break for Capuano

Posted by Steve

Bad news today, as Chris Capuano’s shoulder injury will likely require Tommy John surgery. It would be the second TJS for Capuano, which puts serious doubt on how effective he might ever be again.

While Capuano had not been sharp in spring or most of last season, this is nothing but bad news for the Brewers, either. Any team can make room for a decent lefty starter, and Capuano has been better than that for much of the last few years.

What hurts just as much is the once-deep starting pitching staff is quite a bit thinner. We now know for sure that neither Capuano nor Yovani Gallardo will be in the opening-day rotation. Unfortunately, this means the Brewers will probably not trade a pitcher after all, and that Claudio Vargas will remain in the rotation for the foreseeable future. Blech.

The likely rotation now appears to be: Sheets, Suppan, Bush, Vargas, Parra (roughly that order) with Villanueva being sent down to AAA. Many fans are upset at the prospect of Villanueva being sent down, but I have no problem with it. He’s probably better than Vargas, and may be better than Suppan or Bush, but not by so wide a margin that it’s criminal to not start him in Milwaukee. I’m still a bit skeptical of Villanueva’s overall ceiling, as I’m not yet convinced he’ll be a 4.0 ERA-type starter as his 186 MLB innings might indicate. PECOTA has tempered enthusiasm on him as well, projecting a 4.72 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP.

The last thing the Brewers want to do is to trade Vargas or Bush now to make room for Villanueva, only to have another starter fall to injury or poor performance. There is nothing wrong with pitching depth.

Too much is made of opening-day rosters; the rotation will sort itself out. Yo will be ready by mid-April, so if everyone is healthy that will bump another pitcher out of the rotation. Someone else will be sent down, or perhaps we’ll see a trade around that time.  Either way, it’s pretty much a given that Villanueva will see substantial MLB time this year, which is why I’m not too bothered.

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I, as I am each spring, am excited for baseball to start. But you’ll have to forgive me for not being totally in baseball mode yet, even with the season set to start this week. I am totally enamored with college basketball right now. Marquette lost a heartbreaker, but Wisconsin is looking great.

I am taking great enjoyment out of the fact that a team nobody seems to pick because they don’t play a “flashy” style has done so well all season. USC was the hot pick for the Sweet 16, and when they lost to Kansas State in the first round, all of a sudden K-State was primed for an upset.

Nothing would make me happier than a final four matchup of UW vs Washington State. Wazzu has also played two great games, and I’d love to see everyone whine and complain about a well-played 60-58 game.

I also have to brag, because my bracket is currently in the 99th percentile on Yahoo.  Traditionally, I am lucky to still be in the running after the first weekend.  Needless to say I’ll be taking an interest in the games this upcoming weekend once again.

So basically, all I’m asking for is about a two-week grace period before I’m required to immerse myself in baseball for seven consecutive months.

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