I love it when teams in professional sports sign average players to large contracts based on a single game or one seven-game series. Some examples of this include:

Dallas Cowboys signing Larry Brown to a five-year, $12.5 million contract because he picked off two passes in the Super Bowl.

Tampa Bay Lightning sign complimentary player Ryan Malone to a superstar contract worth $31.5 based on his playoff successes with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

New York Yankees sign Damaso Marte to a $12 million deal because he struck out David Ortiz in a big spot in September in 2008.

One more example would be the Milwaukee Brewers signing pitcher Jeff Suppan to a four-year, $42 million contract in the winter of 2006 because he ran through the New York Mets in the 2006 NLCS. Suppan pitched the game of his life in Game 7 of that series (seven innings of two hit baseball) and it earned him that huge contract.

It was a terrible contract signing at the time and it looks even worse now. The Brewers released Suppan on Monday and will absorb the remaining $10 million left on his contract.

Outside of one good year in 2005 (16-10 with a 3.57 ERA) and that one series against the Mets in 2006 as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, Suppan has always been a below average major league pitcher. However, Suppan represents how the value of pitchers have changed over the last 25 years.

Teams value quantity over quality when it comes to pitching. If a guy is able to pitch 180–200 innings, then he has tremendous value to a team regardless if those 180–200 innings are of quality.

Suppan has always been able to eat innings, but rarely gives a quality performance. Suppan’s ERA is usually in the high-four’s/low-five’s, gives up about 10 hits/9, and K’s only about four/9.

In 2010, Suppan was especially bad. His ERA was 7.84 and gave up a whopping 50 hits in 31 innings. You know you have to be pretty awful to be released from a team that is struggling to find pitching.

I would be surprised if a team didn’t pick up Suppan. He could be a pitcher who is used in mop up duty in order to save the bullpen. A return to the Cardinals wouldn’t surprise me.

Suppan was 29-36 with a 5.06 ERA in his three plus years as a Brewer.

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