We’ve known for awhile that three fifths of the Milwaukee Brewers’ starting rotation this season would be Yovani Gallardo, Randy Wolf, and Doug Davis. With spring training winding down, we’ve all taken turns guessing who the #4 and #5 starters are going to be, and when Tom Haudricourt guessed yesterday that Jeff Suppan had the inside track on the #4 spot despite being the worst of the starting pitching candidates this spring, David Hannes took him on and guessed Dave Bush was going to be the guy.
Well, turns out David was right.
According to Haudricourt, Bush’s rest is being lined up as if he’s the #4 guy in the rotation, and Chris Narveson will be moved to the bullpen for the time being.
So that still leaves us with the question of who’s going to take the final spot in the rotation between Suppan and Manny Parra. In reality, we may not know that answer until we get a couple weeks into the regular season — barring any rainouts, the Brewers won’t need their fifth starter until April 15th.
Who deserves the spot? If you’re basing the decision off performance this spring, it’s probably Manny Parra. If you’re basing it off potential performance this spring, again, the choice is probably Parra. In my mind, the only way you put Suppan in the rotation as the 5th starter is if you’re really that worried about having three left-handers in the rotation (and Doug Melvin has said he isn’t) and you keep trying to justify his contract.
The problem with putting Suppan in the rotation — other than the poor performance that’s likely to follow — is the fact that suddenly the bullpen becomes heavily left-handed. Other than Narveson, you’ll have Mitch Stetter returning to the LOOGY role and Manny Parra would be relegated to long relief duty. With that many left-handers, it would be hard to find enough innings for Narveson and Parra to keep them sharp and stretched out in the event that they do need to make a spot start.
Would the bullpen be much better with Suppan holding down a spot? Probably not, and the thought of a $12 million long reliever is probably enough to make a few fans throw up in their mouth. Carlos Villanueva will give you roughly the same numbers, so instead of shipping him off to Nashville to make room for everyone, why not just cut your losses with Suppan and pay him his money to go away?