Things That Make You Go ‘Hmmm…’

Milwaukee Brewers Jeff Suppan

It’s one thing when Anthony Witrado speculates that Jeff Suppan might be in jeopardy of not making the starting rotation — this is, after all, the same guy that’s been known to speculate that the Brewers might try to trade Ryan Braun.  I tend to take any rumors he runs with with a gigantic grain of salt, and I’m not alone, which is a pretty sad thing to say about a team’s beat writer.

But when Tom Haudricourt posts an update a few hours later which brings the issue up again, perhaps we’re on to something here.

Here is what Witrado wrote:

It isn’t clear what Jeff Suppan will do yet, but Macha said it’s a possibility that the team has a camp game on the minor league side that Suppan can get work in.

That smells a bit fishy. If Suppan is scheduled to line up in that fourth or fifth spot, which he’s sort of been slotted to do through this spring, then he should be pitching in the “A” game. The fact that Macha doesn’t know what Suppan is supposed to do yet seems odd.

Is it a release waivers deal? Is he in the mix for a trade? Is he going to be DFA’d? Does this mean absolutely nothing and Suppan is just not pitching in the main game and there’s nothing more or less to it? There are scenarios in play, but we’ll have to stay tuned to see what comes of this uncertain situation.

It’s just weird because the staff usually has these things mapped out as far as a pitcher’s schedule is concerned. Especially Rick Peterson.

Haudricourt chimed in on the subject while telling us that Yovani Gallardo will be the team’s Opening Day starter:

But, when asked what Suppan would be doing that day, Macha said, “Hopefully, I’ll be able to answer that tomorrow. That’s my best answer.”

That cryptic response made reporters wonder if something is going on with Suppan, if perhaps the Brewers are thinking about not keeping him despite his $12.5 million salary in 2010. An official from another club said he had not seen Suppan’s name on the release waiver wire, so that process apparently had not begun.

Maybe it’s nothing more than having to wait until Tuesday to hear that Suppan is pitching in a minor league game to get his work in. But usually a pitcher, especially a veteran pitcher, knows what his assignment is the day before he’s scheduled to pitch.

Let’s just say some red flags went up with Macha’s response to that question.

Indeed.

We heard rumors a few days ago that the Brewers had discussed a possible Jeff Suppan-for-Chris Snyder swap with the Arizona Diamondbacks, but like I said, that would be a deal that wouldn’t make much sense for the Brewers.  Considering the fact that the 5th starter wouldn’t be used very much early in the season, I still think it would be a surprise if Suppan wasn’t thrown into that spot to start the year.  You can give him a few starts while skipping his spot in the rotation as much as possible, and if he doesn’t prove to be up to the job by mid- to late-May, you can cut ties and slide Manny Parra or Chris Narveson into that spot.

Perhaps we’ll know more by the time Tuesday is done.  If Narveson impresses again, it could lead the Brewers to finally decide to pull the trigger and cut ties with Suppan.  You’d be hard-pressed to find a Brewer fan that won’t be pulling hard for Narveson on Tuesday, to say the least.

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