St. Louis Cardinals: Top Ten Free Agent Signings

8 of 12

#7 Jeff Suppan 

View image |

Suppan was one of the most perplexing pitchers I have ever seen. Having pitched in Boston, Kansas City, and Pittsburgh before, Suppan signed with the Cardinals in the 2003 offseason. He pitched three seasons in St. Louis and was not very good in the regular season, posting an ERA over four in two of his three seasons in St. Louis and FIP over four in all three seasons. He also gave up over 20 homers in each three seasons.

However, what made Suppan great was his ability to morph into a good pitcher in the postseason. I am not sure where it came from, but it started in his first playoff appearance as he kept the Dodgers at bay in the 2004 NLDS, tossing seven innings, allowing two runs on just two hits, while walking three. Suppan then allowed four runs on eight hits in two starts against the Astros in the LCS. Unfortunately, it ended there for him that year, as the Red Sox got to him for four runs in 4.2 innings in his only appearance in the World Series.

Suppan was back at it again a bit in 2005, as he only allowed one run on three hits and three walks, in five innings against the Astros in the NLCS, getting stuck with the loss. In 2006, Suppan was unable to exit the fifth again, as he gave up three runs in 4.1 innings on six hits and three walks. Suppan then shined in the NLCS against the Mets in two starts. He went a total of 15 innings in the series and allowed just one run, as he pitched the Cardinals to a Game 7 victory and the earned MVP honors for his surprise performance. He even had a solo home run that series.

He put together another quality start in the World Series, going six innings and allowing just three runs on eight hits and two walks.The Cardinals did not see enough value to bring Suppan back to the rotation in 2007 with Adam Wainwright ready to join the rotation. However, Suppan’s postseason performances make him one of the best signings in Cardinals’ history.

Next: David Eckstein