Wolf rules late-night rumor mill

Officially, the Brewers downplayed their contact with free agent left-hander Randy Wolf on Day 1 of the Winter Meetings. Unofficially, the sides appeared close to a deal.

The Brewers emerged Monday as the leading candidate for Wolf, a 33-year-old coming off a career year whose appeal was heightened last week when the Dodgers declined to extend him an arbitration offer. Because of that move, Wolf, despite being a Type A free agent, would not cost Milwaukee a Draft pick. That’s key for a team trying to build a winner today but also trying to sustain some long-term success. 

A Brewers official late Monday night downplayed reports that the Brewers’ signing of Wolf to a three-year deal was “imminent,” but those reports persisted nonetheless. AOL Fanhouse first reported that the Brewers were close to signing Wolf and it was later confirmed by SI.com and the New York Post. 

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin was asked earlier in the day about his interest in Wolf, and he declined to offer specifics because such proclamations hinder negotiations. He did say that as of Monday afternoon, Wolf’s agent, Arn Tellem, was not in Indianapolis. 

Starting pitching is the top priority for the Brewers, who tied the Orioles for the worst starters’ ERA in the Majors (5.37) and finished next-to-last in the National League in team ERA (4.83). The top available free agent is John Lackey, but he would cost Milwaukee more money over more years, and his former team, the Angels, would also get the Brewers’ second-round pick in next year’s Draft because Lackey was offered arbitration. 

Wolf is coming off a career season in which he went 11-7 with a 3.23 ERA in 34 starts with the Dodgers after signing a one-year deal worth $5 million last offseason. The left-hander struck out 160 batters in 214 1/3 innings. 

Wolf has been solid throughout his career when healthy, with a 101-85 record and a 4.13 ERA in 11 Major League seasons. 

But Wolf also comes with some red flags. He’s only pitched more than 200 innings four times in his 11-year career, and before last season he hadn’t reached the 200-innings plateau since 2003. The Brewers are wary of a repeat of 2006, when they bestowed a four-year deal upon right-hander Jeff Suppan after Suppan excelled for the Cardinals in the postseason. 

“Your experience always influences your future decisions,” assistant GM Gord Ash said last week, ahead of the Winter Meetings. “If you were to look at that decision in retrospect, it probably served us well for two years and if you want to take a shot at a third year, that’s fine. But giving a fourth, that’s probably not something you want to do again.

“At the same time, you have to react to the market conditions. It’s easy to look back [at the Suppan deal] and say, ‘You shouldn’t have done it.’ But at that time, if you wouldn’t have done it, you wouldn’t have got him.”

If the Brewers finalize a deal with Wolf on Tuesday, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be announced. Teams are restricted from announcing signings until a player passes a physical, and that step can extend the process several days. Melvin isn’t scheduled to meet with reporters until 4 p.m. CT on Tuesday.

*

Follow Brew Beat on Twitter.

2 Comments

Reading between the lines of Ash’s words, I take it that he’s not optimistic about a Suppan comeback year in 2010 :-P

Seriously, those words are a bit harsh for a guy who’s still on your team. Sounds like they’re figuring out a way to make that not be the case by spring training. Good luck with that.

Reading between the lines, I take it that Ash is not optimistic about a Suppan comeback year in 2010 :-P

Seriously, those words are a bit harsh for a guy who’s still on your team. Sounds like they’re figuring out a way to make that not be the case by spring training. Good luck with that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 78 other followers

%d bloggers like this: