Jeff Suppan?!? Really??
That was the other news Thursday coming out of Giants camp, as veteran pitcher Jeff Suppan signed a minor-league contract with the team. He will earned $1 million if he makes the major league roster.
Suppan is purely a back-up plan for the Giants, as their rotation is set with Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Barry Zito, Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner.
And the bullpen looks solid, as well, with Brian Wilson, Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez, Jeremy Affeldt, Ramon Ramirez, Santiago Casilla, Guillermo Mota or Dan Runzler. There have been reports that the Giants are thinking about converting Runzler into a starter at Fresno this season.
For those folks unfamiliar with Suppan’s track record, here it is:
After going 12-7 with 4.12 ERA and pitching in the World Series with the Cardinals in 2006, Suppan signed a four-year, $40 million contract with the Milwaukee Brewers.
He then went (and for fun, we added Zito’s numbers)
In 2007, 12-12, 4.62 ERA (11-13, 4.53)
In 2008, 10-10, 4.96 ERA (10-17, 5.15)
In 2009, 7-12, 5.29 ERA (10-13, 4.03)
In 2010, 3-8, 5.06 ERA (9-14, 4.15)
In 2010, he went 0-2 with a 7.84 ERA in two starts and 13 relief appearances before the Brewers finally released him on June 7 and eating the rest of the $12.75 million he was making in 2010.
A week later, he signed with the Cardinals, reuniting him with pitcher coach Dave Duncan. Suppan put up decent numbers in St. Louis, going 3-6 with a 3.84 ERA in 13 starts and two relief appearances.
After looking at those numbers, we can say this about Barry Zito … he was not the least productive starting pitcher to sign a multi-year free-agent contract in the 2006-07 offseason.
Hardly a rousing endorsement for Jeff Suppan.
So the idea here is Suppan serves as a Plan B (or C, or D or …) if one of the Giants starters runs into health issues this spring. Suppan’s agent said his client would be willing to pitch out of the pen, and that they’ll think about an assignment to Triple-A when the time comes (kind of sounds like a ‘no’).
But his agent wasn’t asked the most important question regard his client’s chances of making the Giants’ opening day roster.
“Can he play shortstop?”