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Brewers Trade Villanueva to Toronto
April 18, 2010: Carlos Villanueva for the Milwaukee Brewers pitches in relief during a game against the hometown Washington Nationals at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The Brewers beat the Nationals 11 - 7.

And you thought the Brewers were done after last night’s tender deadline. Apparently making it past the deadline didn’t mean Carlos Villanueva was safe, as the team announced in the past hour that he’s been shipped to Toronto. The Brewers will get a player to be named later.

Adam McCalvy notes that most trades this time of year include a PTBNL due to the upcoming Rule 5 draft. Once the draft is over, the Brewers will probably see who’s left in the Toronto system and then pick their return. Toby from Brewerfan.net tweeted a link to a list of the Jays’ Rule 5-eligible players, which is a list that does include some interesting names.

This is a move that was genuinely surprising to me — while he was due another raise in arbitration this winter, his traditional stats didn’t scream “huge salary.” It’s a little disappointing to see him go right now, because I did think he could be a valuable part of the bullpen in 2011. Despite his struggles with giving up home runs, he did post a career-high 11.4 K/9 last season. Considering his tendency to surrender homers, I’m not expecting him to do incredibly well in the AL East, but like Lyle Overbay, I will be rooting for him there.

Villanueva’s tenure with the Brewers consisted mostly of him being jerked back and forth between the bullpen and rotation. In hindsight, it probably would have been better had the team just put him in the bullpen earlier and kept him there. While it was a lot of fun to see him throw his changeup, his other pitches just weren’t good enough to get through a lineup three times — he was much more effective when he was only throwing one or two innings a game and batters weren’t able to figure him out. From a non-performance standpoint, I always enjoyed watching him pitch because he had such a cool demeanor on the mound. Very rarely did we see him get worked up when he got himself into a jam, and when he got a big strikeout to end an inning, he’d carry himself the same way. It’s the “that’s right, I got you, and I’ll get you again” type of thing that I just love seeing in general.

So I’ll probably miss Carlos Villanueva more than most Brewer fans. In the end, he wasn’t a spectacular pitcher, but he was more effective than many of his teammates during the time he was here — not to mention a pretty damn good return for Wayne Franklin.