Not a creature was stiring in Philadelphia, but in Milwaukee, there arose such a clatter last night as the Brewers put Jeff Suppan under the tree, to the tune of four-years, $42 million.
I guess it’s the part about six teams in 12 seasons, including Kansas City and Pittsburgh. Suppan always struck me as a journeyman. No pitcher is added and dropped more times in our fantasy league.
But that’s selling him short. The 32-year-old right-hander has amassed four consecutive solid seasons, including three good years with St. Louis, in which he’s earned 44 wins. The reigning NLCS MVP isn’t someone I think about much until the pennant race, and the Brewers will be glad to have him for that reason. He’s excellent down the stretch. The Brewers are starting to look like a small force in the NL Central, and Suppan will fit well with their rotation, which includes Chris Capuano, Ben Sheets, Dave Bush and Claudio Vargas. I like them better than Houston. Despite spending $100 million on Carlos Lee, the Astros still look mediocre. And I like Milwaukee a whole lot more than Cincinnati. The Reds early dominance of '06 was a stone-cold fluke.
Suppan's signing puts pressure on a number of teams still searching for top pitching, including the Mets, believed to be targeting Suppan as a backup plan in case they can’t sign Barry Zito. Over on Metsblog.com, interest in Suppan was lukewarm. Their entire offseason agenda revolves around Zito.
Suppan is the owner of a career 106-101 record with a 4.60 ERA in 317 games. Hardball Times ranks him as the 21st best SP in the NL, according to Win Shares, including a 108 ERA+. That’s following a season when it reached 118+, which is quite solid.
Minor league transaction news
It’s a fun time of year to see where baseball’s bottom feeders have signed for 2006. For example, former farmhand Anderson Machado, who was part of the Todd Jones deal of 2004, is back with Cincinnati. Here’s a player whose entire career is based on soft-handed defense. It has to be; he swings the bat like Heidi. Machadao is the owner of a .227/.335/.333 minor league line and has distinction of walking 108 times while striking out 128 times all in the same season (Double-A Reading).
Other ex-Phillies switching sides include infielder Bobby Scales, who signed with Boston, defense-challenged John Castellano, now with Pittsburgh, RHP Jeremy Cummings, who signed with Minnesota, and RHP Eric Junge, also with the Reds.
Aubrey Huff seeking three-year deal
According to an industry source cited by the Baltimore Sun, free agent outfielder Aubrey Huff is looking for a three-year deal worth around $23 million. Huff is considered the best free agent hitter still on the market, and has been discussed here as a possibility for right field. Huff, the former Devil Ray and Astro, has averaged about 90 RBIs a season since 2003.
Phillies announce winter tour
The Phillies Web site has all the details on the 2007 Winter Tour. Once again, the King of Baseballtown Banquet in Reading is on the docket, and figures to be a good opportunity for this writer to get a few interviews. In general, there are more autograph sessions scheduled throughout the region and less media events than last year, when newly hired GM Pat Gillick made his rounds.