The Brewers addressed one of their glaring weaknesses today by Signing Randy Wolf to a 3-year deal today. Some thoughts on the signing:
-Upgrade In the Starting Rotation: Assuming Parra bounces back from a bad 2009, this gives the Brewers a 1-2-3 combo of Gallardo, Parra and Wolf. Not the best but replacing Looper with Wolf is definitely an upgrade to the rotation.
-He has been a steady performer throughout his career. His peak isn't stratospheric but looking at his career body of work he hasn't been too low.
-Its a good sign that the Brewers aren't going into "rebuilding" mode. I was a little worried when J.J Hardy was traded for Carlos Gomez which made it clear Mike Cameron was on his way out.
If nothing else, this indicates the Brewers are willing to spend some money to improve in the areas that caused problems last year
- Length of contract: Considering Wolf isn't that young (33), I would have preferred a 1 or 2 year contract. Nothing against him personally but considering how well the last time a long term free agent contract went (Jeff Suppan), I have some residual skepticism built up
-Repeat of last year's performance not likely: In '09, Wolf had his best season (in a contract year) and his numbers were helped by a lower than usual BaBip (.256-last year, .285 is his career total), it is reasonable to expect that his era is going to be closer to 4 and not the 3.23 he put up last year
-Tendency to give up the long ball: Pitching half his games in Dodger stadium, Wolf still managed to give up 24 homers despite having a solid season (Braden Looper gave up 25 pitching for St. Louis in '08 and we all saw how well that worked out). One concern I have is this propensity for giving up homers could become problematic with him pitching half his games at Miller Park
Despite his flaws, i'm still happy with the Brewers getting Wolf. Considering the Brewers need of starting pitching and him stacking up competitively with most of the free agent starting pitching (the exception being John Lackey who was outside their price range anyways).
If Wolf can keep his era around 4, keep the ball in the park and keep his K/BB rate above 2, i'll be happy with the contract. I'm not expecting him to be an ace but if he can be a solid 2/3 starter the Brewers will be one step closer to contention.
Also, not sure what to make of the LaTroy Hawkins signing. He had a good year in Houston last year and some good years in Minnesota, he seems to be just as likely to be ineffective and be the complete opposite of a fan favorite in other stops (Cubs).....probably should of stuck to a one-year deal on this one.
Since the Browns-Steelers game will be in progress or done when I post the NFL Preview Posting i'll leave with my pick for the game:
Tier IV: Browns 13 Steelers 10 [Yes I'm placing the Steelers as a bad team...thats what happens when you lose to the Raiders.....and i'm picking the Browns to win]