Wolf downplays exit from L.A.

Wolf04 copy.jpgOn a dreary day outside Miller Park, Randy Wolf insisted he was right where he wanted to be.

The left-hander passed a physical on Monday and finalized a three-year contract with the Brewers that includes a club option for 2013. It guarantees $29.75 million, making Wolf the third-richest pitcher in franchise history.

Wolf was all smiles in his new Brewers jersey and cap, but conceded last week that he was “disappointed” his hometown Dodgers didn’t make more of an effort to bring him back after he went 11-7 in 2009 with a 3.23 ERA in a career-high 34 starts. The Dodgers declined to offer him arbitration, then decided against making an offer once Wolf hit the open market.

That left an opening for the Brewers.

“To tell you the truth, going into this offseason I wanted to be on a team that wanted to win and I wanted to be on a team that was dedicated to me and having that feeling be mutual,” Wolf said. “I went into this offseason with a very open mind. I wasn’t set on going back to L.A.

“When the Brewers came out very early and showed me that I was a priority this offseason, I looked at them a lot closer and realized this would be a great fit for me.”

Part of the Brewers’ pursuit was a West Coast trip by Brewers GM Doug Melvin, who, along with principal owner Mark Attanasio, met with Wolf in L.A.  Brewers closer Trevor Hoffman joined the sales pitch in a 45-minute conversation with Wolf about playing in Milwaukee.

“From Day 1 they made it very clear that I was a priority this winter,” Wolf said. “Not only was I the priority, but winning was the priority … and that’s very important to me. When you become a free agent, you want a team that desires you and thinks that you can help their team win. The thing I see from this organization is they’re making a huge effort to win.”

Wolf’s financial package was evidence of that effort. His deal is the third-richest for a pitcher in Brewers history and, according to the Associated Press, includes base salaries of $9.25 million in 2010, $9.5 million in 2011 and $9.5 million in 2012. The club option for 2013 would pay $10 million with a $1.5 million buyout.

He can earn an additional $250,000 per year in incentives: $125,000 for 190 innings and $125,000 for 200 innings. Wolf gets a limited no-trade clause and additional payment of $250,000 if he’s dealt.

“We felt he fit for what we needed here,” Melvin said. “In the past, you’re always looking for somebody to give you innings, but what you need is someone who’s going to give you quality innings. Randy fit a lot of our criteria.”

“I really strongly believe that he’s turned a corner to his career,” Melvin said. “I think he can really take off in these next few years. He is one of the better pitchers in the game today and he can continue that as a Milwaukee Brewer.”

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(All photos courtesy of Scott Paulus/Brewers)

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