Brewers release veteran starter Jeff Suppan

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Demoted to the bullpen in mid-April after back-to-back ugly starts to begin the season, Jeff Suppan posted a 7.48 ERA in 13 appearances as a reliever, allowing 19 runs on 34 hits and nine walks in 21.2 innings, and was released by the Brewers this afternoon.
Milwaukee signed Suppan to a four-year, $42 million contract in December of 2006 despite his being a 32-year-old journeyman with a 4.60 career ERA who’d posted an ERA below 4.00 exactly once.
For that money Suppan ended up going 29-36 with a 5.08 ERA in 577 innings, with his performance declining so much that the Brewers are now eating about $8 million of the $12.5 million he’s making this season. Oh, and the contract also includes a $12.75 million option for 2011 that the Brewers must buy out for $2 million.
The lesson, of course, is that signing mediocre, over-30 players to big long-term contracts usually doesn’t end well. During the offseason Suppan signed with the Brewers there were 10 free agents who got more than his $42 million: Alfonso Soriano, Barry Zito, Carlos Lee, Aramis Ramirez, J.D. Drew, Gil Meche, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Gary Matthews Jr., Jason Schmidt, and Juan Pierre. I’d say there’s a pretty strong chance the teams regret all 10 of those deals (with the possible exception of Drew … maybe).

Tigers sign Josh Thole to minors deal

Josh Thole
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The Tigers signed catcher Josh Thole to a minor league deal, per an announcement from the Double-A Erie SeaWolves on Friday. Thole is expected to report to Double-A Erie, where he’ll split time with starting catcher Jake Rogers.

Thole, 31, has not appeared in a major or minor league game since 2016. He signed a minors deal with the Diamondbacks back in 2017, but was sidelined through most of the season after undergoing hamstring surgery in April. He was released by the team during spring training and failed to catch on with another major league club through the first two months of the 2018 season.

While the veteran backstop hasn’t tested his skills in pro ball for several years now, he held his own during a short-lived run with the independent New Britain Bees of the Atlantic League. Over 17 games in 2018, Thole batted .317/.425/.367 with three extra-base hits and a .791 OPS in 75 plate appearances. He’s expected to serve as catching depth within the Tigers’ organization, but may yet work his way back to the majors if he can get his average back over the Mendoza Line again — a feat he hasn’t managed since 2015.