Today, Jeff Suppan was released by the Milwaukee Brewers. Suppan’s career is likely over, as he hasn’t shown any sort of life since a semi-respectable 4.42 FIP 2007 season. He will be most remembered for his storied role in the 2006 Cardinals World Series run, including his ALCS MVP award. Still, lest we forget, he had an incredibly mediocre career. Mediocre may even be a generous term. Let’s look at his entire career with the help of a couple graphs:
First, ERA by season:
And K/BB by season:
Let’s take a look at his production strictly from the four years before his contract and his four years with the Brewers.
2003-2006: 126 starts, 776.1 IP, 5.1 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 1.1 HR/9, 7.3 WAR, 1.7 WAR/180 IP
2007-2010: 97 starts, 577 IP, 4.7 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 1.2 HR/9, 1.5 WAR, 0.5 WAR/180 IP
Jeff Suppan was a productive player from 2003-2006. However, he wasn’t a great or even average pitcher, and he certainly wasn’t deserving of ten million dollars per season at a time when a marginal win was going for roughly four million dollars.
And that all ignores his age. He was 32 when he signed his contract with the Brewers. Mediocre pitchers don’t age particularly well, unless they’re Tim Wakefield. We experienced that first hand over the last four years. Suppan’s strikeouts fell and walks rose as he couldn’t maintain his fastball velocity, and what precious little productivity he enjoyed over his career was gone.
Although many of Melvin’s pitching acquisitions haven’t worked out, most were defensible at the time and simply didn’t pan out as expected. This one, on the other hand, has no rational support whatsoever. Suppan simply wasn’t ever a good enough pitcher to deserve a deal like this. It’s possible that Mark Attanasio had his hand in this signing. Regardless, whoever was behind this decision was roped in by a fantastic playoff performance and simply didn’t pay attention to a career of mediocrity. The Brewers have paid dearly for it and will continue to do so for the rest of this season, but at least with Suppan off the roster, the team can now move on.