Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Checking In On The One That Got Away

The Dodgers' most prominent missed opportunity this off-season was renewing the contract of Randy Wolf, who had been a solid innings-eater among an inexperienced starting rotation, going 11-7 with a 3.23 ERA in 34 starts during his second Dodgers tour of duty. Wolf led all National League left-handers in 2009 with 24 quality starts. Letting Wolf go meant that beyond Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw, and Hiroki Kuroda (added to a later addition of Vicente Padilla), our starting rotation was looking a little thin. So off Wolf went to sign a $30M, three-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, leaving us behind.

Checking back in with Wolf eight starts into the season, it's not clear that his impact, had he stayed with the Dodgers, would have been that all that positive. Wolf is 3-3 in eight starts with the Brewers, the last of which was bombing at the hands of the Phillies, who torched Wolf for six earned runs, two home runs, and two triples, in what ended up being a five-inning performance at Miller Park. Wolf's ERA this year of 4.66 is well north of his 4.14 career ERA.

In fact, Wolf has lasted only five innings three times this year, and is averaging just over six innings a start over his eight starts. Wolf has 22 Ks this year. Although Kershaw and Billingsley are averaging around 5 2/3 innings per start, they have 52 and 39 Ks each (Kuroda, who has 37 Ks over seven starts, is averaging 6 2/3 innings per start). And all three of those starters have ERAs south of Wolf's (2.66 for Kuroda; 3.55 for Kershaw; 4.03 for Billingsley)

Look, I miss Randy Wolf. Particularly as we flopped around at the beginning of this season trying out Russ Ortiz, Charlie Haeger, and Jon Link (not to mention Vicente Padilla, on the DL with a 1-1 record and a 6.65 ERA), it clearly would have been a nice luxury to have Wolf on this year's staff as a viable fourth starter. But was it worth an extra $30M over three years and $9M - $10M this first year? At this admittedly early stage of the season, I'm not so sure.

8 comments:

Dusty Baker said...

Hell no, he was never worth $30 mil. For all the complaining people do, sometimes incl myself, about the McCourts and Colletti, I am glad as hell we didn't shell out that kind of cash for Wolf. [Caveat: I love the guy. But this is business, not emotion.] We had picked him off the scrapheap, got a shockingly good run out of him, but were right not to pay that high amount for him. That's called good market timing.

Josh S. said...

The only screwup was not offering him arb. He says no, draft picks. He says yes, we get him for way cheaper than the Brew Crew did.

Steve Sax said...

true true, I forgot the arbritration call...

Fred's Brim said...

IF we had offered arbitration and IF he had accepted, what could the team have been on the hook for? Are years part of the arbitration? Or is just a 1 year deal with just the $$ left to be decided on? Or would he be guaranteed more years because of his veteran status? If years are included in the negotiation, would he have come with 3 years, $12 mil per and then the team offers 2 years, $8 per and then the arbitrator comes somewhere in the middle?

Dusty Baker said...

Seems like no matter what, we would have been on the hook for a good chunk of change.

My beef is really that we didnt turn around and spend the "realized savings" on another starting pitcher, not that we didn't spend it on him.

Although I'm glad we didn't spend it on Jason Marquis.

Steve Sax said...

Or a new contract for Jason Schmidt.

Or Darren Dreifort.

Falling LEAVes said...

Josh and Ken on Dodger Talk have beaten this issue to death. Especially in April. They were constantly getting calls of "why didn't we resign Randy Wolf?" I am a huge Randy Wolf fan (ask anyone who knows me), and as sad as I was to see him sign with another team, I was happy for him. There was no way the Dodgers were going to pay him that much money for that many years. No way. As for arbitration, I forgot who said it, but if the Dodgers had offered him arb, he would have said yes and then tried to work out a deal. and like Fred's Brin said, I'm not sure how that would work out either.

After today's (5-19) game against the Pirates, Wolf's record is now 3 - 4. He went 6.1 innings, giving up 6 runs. As for the strike outs, he's not really a big strike out guy. And yes, 22 does sound a little low. But then, we're used to seeing 8-10 strikeouts a game, especially when we play the D-Backs. And don't forget, Wolf is playing for a team that just lost 9 straight.

On the other hand, there's Jon Garland and his 5 - 2 record.

Falling LEAVes said...

One more thing... Wolf's ERA is above 5 right now and his batting average is a little over .300. At least he's getting decisions, compared to his 16 ND's last year. He only has 2 right now. And Garland hasn't lost a game since his second start, which was against the Rockies on 4/11 (he has 2 NDs since then though)