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Brewers release veteran starter Jeff Suppan

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).

  1. Drew - Jun 7, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    Cue the JD Drew support chorus.

  2. Mike G. - Jun 7, 2010 at 2:58 PM

    Drew’s about $5-6MM over the value of his contract thus far per Fangraphs’ tool.

  3. BC - Jun 7, 2010 at 3:22 PM

    I think Drew, Lee and Meche were OK deals at the time. Meche got hurt, and the other two guys have been good, not great. I will agree that the other 7 suck pond water however.

  4. Patrick - Jun 7, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    T-minus 23 minutes until the Cardinals sign him…

  5. Joey B - Jun 7, 2010 at 3:50 PM

    This stuff happens all the time. When Drew is the best signing of the group, that’s saying something. I find the interesting part to be that several non-MLB sources basically scoffed at the signings at the time of the signing, seeing the same things that many fans saw, but that GMs missed. I cannot remember one person thinking that Carlos Lee would be able to play the OF anywhere close to the end of his contract.

  6. Mike G. - Jun 7, 2010 at 3:56 PM

    Soriano is also outpacing the value of his contract thus far.

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