Sports Outside the Beltway

Jeff Suppan added to Brewers…best NL rotation?

As Jonathan Mitchell reported a couple days ago, the Brewers signed veteran starting pitcher Jeff Suppan to a 4 year, $42M contract, pending a physical.

This got me to wondering, could this move give the Crew the best rotation in the National League? I looked up the Brewers’ expected starters ERA’s in the past three seasons, and here’s what I came up with.

Ben Sheets, 3.13
Chris Capuano, 4.17
Jeff Suppan, 3.95
Dave Bush, 4.18
Claudio Vargas, 5.08 (4.37 ERA in his “away” games, which may be a more accurate representation, as Vargas pitched a lot of innings in the offensive confines of Arizona)

That’s mighty solid from top to bottom, to be sure. In an age where several teams are unashamedly going after Joel Pineiro, who was last remotely effective in 2004, it is unusual for clubs to have five decent options in the rotation.

Other starting staffs of note? I would probably say San Diego would be my choice as the top challenger for this mythical crown. Let’s look at their numbers.

Jake Peavy, 3.13
Clay Hensley, 3.51
Chris Young, 3.93
Greg Maddux, 4.16
Mike Thompson, 5.14
Chan Ho Park, 5.32

I listed both Thompson and Park because I do not know who is expected to be the 5th starter, or even if Park is expected back, though he was offered arbitration. Regardless, since both have similar numbers, it barely matters. I would normally argue that Petco Park may hold down the Padres’ ERA’s a bit, but their splits do not show that.

I would have to give a slight edge to the Padres, though if you use Vargas’ road numbers only, the small advantage could easily shift back to the Brewers. However, it would seem that with the addition of Suppan, the Brewers rotation can now easily be included when you discuss the best in the National League.

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