Results tagged ‘ Randy Wolf ’

Wolf confirms deal with Brewers

Last winter, Randy Wolf watched a three-year offer disappear and then had to wait until February to find work. This time, he won’t have to worry. 

Wolf agreed to terms on a three-year contract with the Brewers on Wednesday that according to numerous reports includes a fourth-year club option and guarantees $29.75 million. Yahoo! Sports was first to report the deal.

The Brewers can’t confirm it because Wolf has yet to pass a physical, but Wolf himself went on Sirius XM radio and said he was “excited” to be a Brewer.

Not to mention relieved to have some job certainty.

“It was only natural to be a little bit apprehensive about where the market is considering what happened last year,” he said in the interview. “It was a crazy offseason last year, especially with me.  It made it really easy the way the Brewers came in very aggressive and made it really clear they wanted me there.  So I kind of knew things were going to happen with them.” 

When finalized, it will be the third-richest pitching contract in Brewers history to Jeff Suppan’s four-year, $42 million deal that expires after next season and Ben Sheets’ four-year, $38.5 million deal from 2005-08.

For more on the signing, see my story on Brewers.com

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Still waiting on Wolf

The Brewers’ contingent didn’t just sit around the Winter Meetings on Tuesday waiting around for an answer from Randy Wolf.

While Wolf and his representatives mulled the proposal Milwaukee reportedly made Monday night — multiple reports said it was for three years and something like $30 million — Brewers general manager Doug Melvin met in his suite at the Westin with four or five agents about other pitchers. One of them, according to SI.com, was Gregg Clifton, the rep for left-handed starter Mark Mulder, and whether or not agent Scott Boras actually stopped by the suite, Brewers officials at least spent part of their day debating the merits of Mike Gonzalez, the left-handed former Braves closer who will cost his signing team a Draft pick because he’s a Type A free agent who declined arbitration.

The Brewers have also talked about former Cubs closer Kevin Gregg, who is also a Type A free agent but wouldn’t cost a pick because Chicago declined to offer arbitration. At the same time, the team is close to re-signing one of its own free agents, reliever Claudio Vargas.

Vargas and someone like Gregg or Gonzalez would help the Brewers solidify the innings in front of closer Trevor Hoffman, but it’s the early innings of games that continue to dominate the discussions. To that end, the Brewers were waiting to hear back from agent Arn Tellem on Wolf.

Asked whether he had more than one outstanding offer to free agent pitchers, Melvin said. “I would say that we have a narrow focus at this time on the starting pitching group. We have them ranked, we have them listed, because you have to be prepared.

“We’ve done our part,” he added. “We’ll continue to meet. We might meet again [Wednesday] with people.”

Rumors that the Brewers were nearing a deal with Wolf spread quickly as midnight approached on Monday, the first day of these Winter Meetings. Since the Brewers are unlikely to offer the kind of length of contract or dollars that John Lackey is looking for, it made perfect sense that their top target could be Wolf, a 33-year-old who was 11-7 with a 3.23 ERA in 34 starts with the Dodgers last season after signing a one-year deal worth $5 million.

Wolf is another Type A free agent but the Dodgers didn’t offer him arbitration. That fact made him more attractive to the Brewers.

The late-night reports said a deal with Wolf was imminent. Melvin wouldn’t say whether that was the case.

“Deals aren’t done until they’re done,” Melvin said. “I was telling Mark [Attanasio, Milwaukee's principal owner] the story today today that in Anaheim a few years ago [in 1999, when Melvin was still the Rangers' GM] we swear we had Todd Zeile signed. All he wanted was a no-trade [clause] in the contract and we didn’t want to give it, and then we finally gave it, but he and [his agents] went to dinner and they came back and told us they were going with the Mets, after we gave them what they wanted. I was ticked.”

Without naming Wolf, Melvin said he thought there was a desire on both sides to leave Indianapolis on Thursday with a resolution. But he has not put a deadline on any offers.

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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.

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Brewers eye free agent pitching market

Surprise, surprise. Brewers general manager Doug Melvin spent his time at this week’s General Managers Meetings in Chicago focused on pitching.

Melvin spoke this week with agent Arn Tellem, who represents free agent left-hander Randy Wolf, and Steve Canter, the agent for free-agent left-hander Doug Davis, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. At some point he also expressed interest in left-hander Jarrod Washburn, Washburn’s agent Scott Boras told the newspaper.

According to a Major League source, Melvin also met with Steve Hilliard, who represents righty John Lackey, the top available pitcher. In a chat with the Journal Sentinel before heading home to Milwaukee, Melvin downplayed the Brewers’ chances of landing Lackey. 

“It depends what they’re asking for,” Melvin said. “I don’t know if it could fit or not. I might have to make some other moves to make it fit.” 

The Brewers may have jumped to the top of the list of teams expected to pursue Lackey last week, when Melvin brought up Lackey’s name in a discussion of his plan to bolster a pitching staff that ranked next-to-last in the National League in 2009. 

Melvin said he would have to focus on bounce-back candidates coming off poor- or injury-plagued seasons, and indeed he has already checked in with the agent for Mark Mulder, who missed all of 2009 with shoulder woes. At some point Milwaukee could also check in with former Brewer Ben Sheets, who never pitched in 2009 after undergoing elbow surgery.

But at the same time, Melvin would not rule out a look at the top shelf of free agents. 

“There’s one guy that stands out and it’s John Lackey,” Melvin told reporters on a conference call last Friday. “He’s head and shoulders above the others. … You look at the consistency of pitchers who are out there and John Lackey is a great competitor, but we’ll have to take a look at that and see.” 

Since Melvin raised Lackey’s name without being asked, he was pressed on the matter. Is he a free agent of interest to the Brewers? 

“We’ll leave that discussion internally for ourselves,” Melvin said. “When you get involved in free agency and you talk about people, then all you’re doing is letting people know you’re interested and it drives the prices up. So I’m not going to say who we’re interested in or who we’re not.” 

It’s a two-way street, said Melvin, who believes most free agents enter the market with a short list of teams they prefer. 

“It’s our job to find out if we’re on that list of teams,” Melvin said.  

If the Brewers are on Lackey’s list, then Melvin might have to move some more payroll, as he suggested to the Journal Sentinel on Wednesday. 

Melvin has already said he won’t pursue center fielder Mike Cameron, who earned $10 million last year, and has hinted that Jason Kendall’s $5 million salary might not fit next year, either. His highest-paid returning players are starter Jeff Suppan (due $12.5 million in 2010, the final year of his four-year contract), first baseman Prince Fielder ($10.5 million), closer Trevor Hoffman ($7.5 million) and reliever David Riske ($4.5 million in the final year of his three-year deal). 

More decisions are coming. The Brewers have until Saturday to exercise their half of starter Braden Looper’s $6.5 million mutual option, and pitcher Dave Bush (who made $4 million in 2009), outfielder Corey Hart ($3.25 million) and second baseman Rickie Weeks ($2.45 million) head the list of arbitration-eligible players whose salaries could jump again. 

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