I woke up this morning with an upbeat feeling about the start the Royals had this season. They went 3-1 against a solid ball club. This is some evidence that the Royals front office knew what they were doing when they let go some of the veteran players that were already proven.
Then this morning I found out the Royals made another quality move, resigning Jeff Suppan to a minor league deal. This move gives the Royals yet another option to their quality pitching staff in Omaha, but also gives the Royals an option to bring up a veteran pitcher that has experienced both the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows as a major league pitcher.
Jim Breen from Bernie’s Crew had this to say about Suppan in the past:
Suppan benefited from a few solid seasons at the hands of Dave Duncan in St. Louis, but was never able to rediscover that magic in Milwaukee. At that time, it was the biggest contract in the history of the organization. When Suppan began to struggle, Brewers fans felt cheated and that Suppan was not delivering his side of the bargain — which is not exactly fair, as Suppan was never exactly a good pitcher.
He experienced moderate success while pitching for the Royals, with 3 consecutive 10-win seasons. However, his high point came when he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. He ended up wining forty-four games in his three-year stint with the Cardinals (2004-2006), in addition to making nine post-season starts as well. He won the NLCS MVP award in 2006. He also pitched very well in the World Series that year.
Another thing going for Suppan coming back to the Royals is the familiarity he and current manager Ned Yost have with each other. (Yost was his manger while Suppan was in Milwaukee.) If the Royals need a pitcher called up during the course of this season, Jeff Suppan is more than likely going to be on Yost’s short list.
Once again, Breen had some thoughts on Suppan’s time in Kansas City:
For the Royals, very little risk exists on a minor league deal. He will always be known for being one of the “failed contracts” that came out of the 2006-2007 offseason. Forgiveness can come quickly in the game of baseball, but a fanbase that feels fleeced by a bad contract will not forgive easily. To Brewers fans, he will always be a disappointment, a pitcher that collected a huge paycheck, but never delivered.
That is too bad, as Suppan was a model citizen in the community and was actually a Roberto Clemente nominee for the Brewers — an award given to a player who emulates exemplary community engagement and community service. He was a great influence in the Brewers’ clubhouse and an all-around nice guy. That is almost always overshadowed by his underwhelming performance on the mound.
Even if he spends most of the year in Omaha, the Royals will see the dividends of bringing in a quality veteran to help the plethora of young pitchers the Royals having coming up through their farm system. Having a guy like Suppan is like adding another pitching coach to the staff but also having the benefit of having him play every four or five days.