Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Second Coming Of Jaret Wright

I saw a story in yesterday's New York Post that I found interesting. Apparently, the Yankees have much interest in free agent pitcher Jeff Suppan. Suppan, 31, had that great run in the playoffs, especially against the Mets and Tigers that garnered him the NLCS MVP for the champion St. Louis Cardinals.

Apparently Suppan and his agent are looking for one of those deals that would get him $10 million per year. His numbers since he got to the Cardinals in 2004 aren't bad, as he's had two 16-win seasons and a 12-win season in 2006. His ERA was 3.57 in '05 and 4.12 in '06. Suppan's a classic innings eater, as he's worked just under 200 innings all 3 seasons. He strikes out about one batter every two innings or so, and his walk totals are about one every three innings.

His career record is 106-101, with a 4.60 ERA. He's also had two turns with the Red Sox, as he came up with them in 1995 and spent parts of three seasons with them, and then came back from Pittsburgh in a deadline deal in 2003, and was terrible, going 3-4 with a 5.57. The Red Sox even left him off their postseason roster that year.

When I looked over his record, and then saw his contract demands, and WHO was interested in him, one name came to my mind: Jaret Wright.

This guy's like Wright in so many ways. His career seems to have been rejuvenated by a big time pitching coach (Suppan by Dave Duncan, Wright by Leo Mazzone in Atlanta). Both were thought to be possible stars when they were first brought up but both were derailed for different reasons (Wright's because of injuries, Suppan was just ineffective). But when both have a measure of success after being rescued, it's time to leave for the big money. Wright left Atlanta for the Yankees and the heavy-hitting AL East, and his time in New York has been a complete disaster, as he went 5-5 with a 6.08 ERA in 2005, and 11-7 with a 4.49 ERA in 2006, after signing a three-year deal with New York for $21 million. (On the day he signed that, I thought to myself, "The Yankees will regret that.")

Suppan's like Wright, a mediocre pitcher looking for a big deal, and he might just get it with Wright's team, the Yankees. He might want to rethink it and stay in St. Louis, but the Yankees will probably get suckered into making another move for an NL pitcher with decent numbers. (Does the name "Carl Pavano" sound familiar?) I don't know how in the world you'd give a guy like Suppan $10 million a year, but it's not my cash. I certainly can't blame Suppan for taking a multi-year deal worth that kind of loot.

Whatever. It's their money.

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