Jun 7, 2010, 2:40 PM EDT
Demoted to the bullpen in mid-April after back-to-back ugly starts to begin the season, Jeff Suppan posted a 7.48 ERA in 13 appearances as a reliever, allowing 19 runs on 34 hits and nine walks in 21.2 innings, and was released by the Brewers this afternoon.
Milwaukee signed Suppan to a four-year, $42 million contract in December of 2006 despite his being a 32-year-old journeyman with a 4.60 career ERA who’d posted an ERA below 4.00 exactly once.
For that money Suppan ended up going 29-36 with a 5.08 ERA in 577 innings, with his performance declining so much that the Brewers are now eating about $8 million of the $12.5 million he’s making this season. Oh, and the contract also includes a $12.75 million option for 2011 that the Brewers must buy out for $2 million.
The lesson, of course, is that signing mediocre, over-30 players to big long-term contracts usually doesn’t end well. During the offseason Suppan signed with the Brewers there were 10 free agents who got more than his $42 million: Alfonso Soriano, Barry Zito, Carlos Lee, Aramis Ramirez, J.D. Drew, Gil Meche, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Gary Matthews Jr., Jason Schmidt, and Juan Pierre. I’d say there’s a pretty strong chance the teams regret all 10 of those deals (with the possible exception of Drew … maybe).
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