Right Idea, Wrong Replacement

MLB: Brewers vs Nationals APR 17

Forget the game — Lord knows we’ll try — the big news on Sunday was Jeff Suppan being removed from the starting rotation in favor of Chris Narveson.

It was an announcement that created mixed emotions for me.  Suppan out of the rotation?  That’s fantastic.  It’s everything we’ve been waiting for ever since the (stupid) decision was made to put him in the rotation when he returned from the disabled list.  Replacing him with Narveson?  Not exactly what I had in mind. 

Yes, Narveson was great in September last season and again during spring this year.  But what has he done this year in a relief role?  Take a look at Narveson’s stats so far this year, and compare them to what Suppan has done in his two starts:

Narveson – 10 IP, 17 H, 9 R, 8 ER, 7 BB, 6 K, 7.20 ERA, 2.40 WHIP
Suppan – 9.1 IP, 16 H, 10 R, 9 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 8.68 ERA, 2.04 WHIP

Incredibly small sample size, yes, but the production has been eerily similar.

It just doesn’t make much sense to me, and neither do the comments made by Ken Macha about why the Narv Dog is being moved into the rotation instead of Manny Parra.  His reasoning?  Narveson has struggled in the bullpen, Parra’s been great, so let’s give Narveson more innings.  As the guys from Guinness would say, “Brilliant!”

Was Narveson the best starter in the so-called “open competition” this spring?  Yes.  Does he represent a significant improvement over Jeff Suppan at this point, though?  I’m not so sure.  What I am sure of, though, is that Manny Parra will get some starts down the line, and depending on how those pan out, Ken Macha might end up looking like a fool.  Again.

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