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.