Padres sign 37-year-old Jeff Suppan to minor-league deal

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Corey Brock of MLB.com reports that 37-year-old Jeff Suppan has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Padres and calls it a “depth move,” which is code for “he’ll probably be at Triple-A unless he retires instead.”

Suppan signed a minor-league deal with the Giants last spring, was released during spring training, and then latched on with the Royals via another minor-league deal. He never made it to the majors and wasn’t much good at Triple-A, throwing 166 innings with a 4.78 ERA and 94/51 K/BB ratio against hitters 10-15 years his junior.

Suppan has earned nearly $60 million during his 16-year career in the big leagues, but hasn’t had an ERA below 4.60 since 2006.

Matt Carpenter hit a standup bunt double

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The wave of defensive shifts we’ve seen over the past few years has led to a lot of armchair hitting coaches demanding that players bunt to beat it. This is easier said than done, however.

The shift happens because certain hitters tend to pull the ball. Certain hitters tend to pull the ball because pulling the ball is what happens when one gets a strong, quick swing on a pitch one identifies early and which one endeavors to send as far away from home plate as possible. Which is to say that pulling is a skill that is good to have and which is strongly selected for among hitters.

In light of that, “why not just bunt to beat the shift” takes are kind of lazy. Bunting is hard! And it is not a thing guys who get shifted a lot are good at. Most of the time asking a player to do a thing he is not well-equipped to do is a bad idea. Indeed, a hitter voluntarily going away from his strength is something the defense would much prefer.

Most of the time anyway.

Last night Matt Carpenter made those armchair hitting coaches happy by laying down a bunt to beat the shift. And he laid it down so well that he ended up with a standup double:

One batter later Carpenter scored on a Starlin Castro error.

The shift giveth and the shift taketh away.