Discussion: Jeff Suppan

Jeff Suppan is a free agent now, after being released by the Brewers with over $10MM remaining on his contract.  Suppan's new team would be on the hook for only the pro-rated league minimum.  The righty is projected by ZiPS to post a 5.40 ERA from here on out.  That's not appealing, but maybe a 4.75 ERA can be coaxed out of Suppan over a half-season.

A Cardinals reunion has been bandied about by some analysts, as the team could use a rotation arm given the injuries to Kyle Lohse and Brad Penny.  However, Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch would be stunned if the Cardinals show interest.

How about another former team of Suppan's, the Pirates?  Back at the '03 trade deadline, the Bucs sent Suppan, Brandon Lyon, and Anastacio Martinez to the Red Sox for Mike Gonzalez, Freddy Sanchez, and cash.  The Pirates currently have Jeff Karstens and Dana Eveland at the back end of their rotation, though Brad Lincoln is on the way and Charlie Morton is on the DL.  What's the point in a rebuilding team letting Suppan soak up innings at an ERA over 5.00?

The Brewers would not commit a rotation spot to Suppan, and their starters have a collective 4.82 ERA.  The reality is that he is not going to jump into anyone's starting five.  Suppan could instead sign a minor league deal with a club like the Astros, and hope to get the call if Brett Myers and/or Roy Oswalt are traded a month from now.

28 Responses to Discussion: Jeff Suppan Leave a Reply

  1. BravesRed 5 years ago

    I say Arizona signs him.

  2. Brandon Woodworth 5 years ago

    Me too. Arizona would sign Nolan Ryan if he said he was available.

  3. nickfit 5 years ago

    I understand the theory behind a new team being only on the hook for the minimum, but is there a rule preventing a (muted) bidding war or sorts where Suppan can get extra money (on top of the money owed under his current contract)?

    I assumed there was a rule saying he could choose the current deal or a different one, so logic would assume the current deal would be the best (or someone would trade for him).

    Does anyone know?

    • Yeah teams are free to pay him more than the prorated league minimum. I can’t recall it happening after someone was released though.

  4. rayking 5 years ago

    Bernie M. is usually on point, but I disagree and do think the Cards will bring him back. If they can coax a 5.00 ERA out of him and avoid overexposing the young arms of Ottavino, Hawksworth, Boggs and Walters, they have to do it. Use him until they know more about the injury status of Penny and Lohse, and also until more teams are willing to be sellers and offer pitching in trades, and if it doesn’t work, cut him at a minimal loss since he would only cost the pro-rated league minimum.

    Besides, Duncan squeezed blood out of a rock last season with Smoltz, why not try it again (I admit this would be slightly different since Smoltz came over from AL).

    • j6takish 5 years ago

      Getting a productive season out of future hall of famer in his early 40’s isn’t quite the same as trying to get production from a guy who just failed a mop up gig in the NL central

      • rayking 5 years ago

        That’s a valid point of view, and I understand that perspective. But future hall of famer status aside, Smoltz’s BoSox stats of 8.33 ERA and 8 HRS allowed in 40 IP were almost as bleak as Suppan’s 7.84 ERA and WHIP of 2.00.

    • Triteon 5 years ago

      I agree with you (and Jeff Gordon). As rayking hinted at below, Suppan has issues but all it took to turn Smoltz around was a side session with Duncan, Carpenter and Wainwright to point out a flaw or two in Smoltz’s approach.
      Suppan doesn’t have the HOF creds, but he’s liked in St. Louis and could calmly go about pitching without having to play to the expectations of his oversized Brewers contract.
      However it plays out, this discussion further exposes a major weakness in the Cardinals’ minor league system.

      • Smoltz had 5-6 more mph on his fastball and walked just a hair over 2 per 9, vs. 4+ for Suppan.

        Even greatly diminished, Smoltz had far superior talent last year than Suppan has had in years.

  5. TytheSportsGuy 5 years ago

    Suppan can’t be any worse than Hawksworth, Walters, or Ottavino…

  6. Ian_Smell 5 years ago

    No way should the Pirates sign him. They’re better off with just Karstens and Eveland and Lincoln is coming up soon so it doesn’t really make sense to spend more money.

    • mrsjohnmiltonrocks 5 years ago

      Yeah, the Pirates should just say no. Anyway, Jeff Karstens is made for 5th starter, and he can go to relief if they actually find a better one.

  7. ThePaulCrew 5 years ago

    The brewers and all their fans would cream in their pants if Jeff Suppan signed with an NL Central team. Seriously, if this guy has an ERA under 6 from here on out it will be a surprise. Im sorry but this isnt some young pitcher who just needs a change of scenery. Suppan is just flat out bad. That being said, I wish him luck

    • TytheSportsGuy 5 years ago

      He won the 2006 NLCS for St.Louis. He deserves a 2nd shot.

      • vtadave 5 years ago

        Seriously? I believe So Taguchi hit a pretty big homer in that series if I’m not mistaken. Maybe he could platoon with Rasmus?

        • brstreet9 5 years ago

          Even though Suppan is only 35 and Taguchi will be 41 next month, I wouldn’t be surprised if Taguchi is still able to hang in there with 200 PA and solid defense in center.

          • Philip Marlowe 5 years ago

            Taguchi did play some outfield for the Cubs last year and really didn’t play poorly at all. I can’t say I was ever excited when he came in as a defensive replacement, but he was at least as good as you’d imagine him being.

          • Triteon 5 years ago

            It’s easier to get PAs with the Orix Buffaloes.

    • brstreet9 5 years ago

      I think a reunion with Dave Duncan would turn this guy around. Many pitchers (with career .500 or lower records) have succeeded in Duncan’s system, and I think Suppan was a product of that. Look at his stats before and after playing for St. Louis. I think it would benefit both STL and Suppan if he signed with them.

    • brstreet9 5 years ago

      I think a reunion with Dave Duncan would turn this guy around. Many pitchers (with career .500 or lower records) have succeeded in Duncan’s system, and I think Suppan was a product of that. Look at his stats before and after playing for St. Louis. I think it would benefit both STL and Suppan if he signed with them.

  8. dc21892 5 years ago

    I didn’t realize the Red Sox gave up so much for Suppan. Sad.

  9. dc21892 5 years ago

    I didn’t know the Red Sox gave up that much for Suppan. SAD.

  10. AndrewEI 5 years ago

    That’s pretty miss leading. The Red Sox didn’t really give up that much. Mike Gonzalez was only Red Sox property for 9 days. They traded Lyon and Martinez to the Bucs for Gonzalez and Scot Sauberbeck. Lyon was injured so the trade was vetoed so they just swapped Lyon back with Gonzalez. I’m pretty sure Martinez was returned too. And his agent doesn’t deserve more of a medal than any other agent from that free agent class. That’s what the market called for. You can thank Kris Benson’s agent for setting that market a few seasons prior.

  11. Suppan tops out around 87 mph. All the coaching the world isn’t going to make that successful, even if they can get his walk rate under 4-1/2 per nine.

    He’s a soft tosser with a tired arm.

    Sure, Brewers fans got on him more than is reasonable for a guy with and 0-2 record, but the truth is he shouldn’t be expected to do anything but give up bunches of hits and runs at this point.

  12. Philip Marlowe 5 years ago

    He may be done, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of teams kick the tires on him

  13. Hard to see too many teams being interested in Suppan. The Brewers pitching is pretty brutal and if they don’t have a spot for him I don’t see too many other teams having a spot for him either. Pittsburgh doesn’t make sense for the reasons Tim stated, rebuilding team wasting innings on a retread. St. Louis doesn’t really seem to make sense either unless Duncan knows how to turn him around. If a rebuilding team doesn’t want to waste innings on a retread why would a contending team? If the Cards can’t do better than Suppan given their need of a starter then their outlook isn’t great. My guess is some team like Houston or Baltimore, teams that aren’t rebuilding and/or not contending that don’t have a lot of youth to call on or be blocked by a veteran on the downside.

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