Bernie Miklasz on the Cardinals' newest (and oldest) starting pitcher:
- Presuming that a tentative agreement is finalized, Jeff Suppan will be returning to St. Louis to pitch for the Cardinals.
He comes back several years older and with a battered, black-and-blue ERA.
And if pitching coach Dave Duncan can fix Suppan this time around, then it’s probably time to send Dunc to the Gulf Coast to see if there’s anything he can do about that oil spill.
Suppan is a beloved figure in St. Louis, as he should be. He’s a great guy who had three good seasons (2004-2006) for the Cardinals; this team wouldn’t have won two NL Pennants and the ‘06 World Series without him. Suppan’s resolute performance in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS — his dogged ability to make pitches and hold the NY Mets off — was unforgettable.
And that was 2006; this is 2010.
Bernie goes on to recite the horrors of 2010 (so far), most especially Suppan's 7.84 ERA and $12.5 million salary. So why do the Cardinals want him? Because they need a starter and they don't trust rookie P.J. Walters or rookie Adam Ottavino. It's tempting to argue that La Russa and Duncan just flat-out don't trust rookies, except Jaime Garcia is a pretty powerful counter-argument. If they think Jeff Suppan is better than Walters ... well, I'm tempted to give them the benefit of the doubt.
But Jeff Suppan's ERA since leaving the Cardinals is 5.08. If Suppan really is good enough to stick in the rotation and help the Cardinals reach the playoffs, I think Dave Duncan should give his Hall of Fame induction speech the same day Tony La Russa does.