Tag: Randy Wolf

Scott Baker AP

Mariners release right-hander Scott Baker


According to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish, the Mariners granted Scott Baker his release today. Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports that he asked for his release after declining an assignment to Triple-A.

Signed to a minor league deal over the winter, Baker appeared to have a rotation spot to lose after Hisashi Iwakuma went down with a finger injury and Taijuan Walker fell behind due to a sore shoulder, but he pitched himself out of consideration with an awful spring. The 32-year-old allowed 12 runs (nine earned) in just 12 Cactus League innings. He struck out just one batter and allowed 16 hits and seven walks. He also hit three batters in a row in one of his starts. Put it all together and you have a ghastly 1.92 WHIP.

Baker has three major league starts to his name since 2011, but he shouldn’t be long before he gets an opportunity elsewhere. As for the Mariners, they will now likely go into the season with a rotation of Felix Hernandez, James Paxton, Erasmo Ramirez, Randy Wolf, and Roenis Elias.

Randy Wolf will make his comeback attempt with Mariners

Randy Wolf

Randy Wolf is attempting a comeback at age 37 after missing all of last season and it’ll be with the Mariners, as Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports that he’s agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

Wolf hasn’t pitched since September of 2012 because of Tommy John elbow surgery and posted a 5.68 ERA that season before going under the knife, but after a 14-year career spent as a starter he’s apparently willing to shift to the bullpen.

Wolf hasn’t had particularly extreme platoon splits for a left-handed pitcher and struggled to crack 90 miles per hour even before the surgery, but certainly a relief workload would give him a better chance to stick around for another season or two.

Randy Wolf auditioned for eight teams last week

Randy Wolf

Fox’s Ken Rosenthal reports that Randy Wolf auditioned for eight teams last week.

I love the use of the word “auditioned.” It makes me think of “X-Factor” or “American Idol” or something. After Wolf throws, a GM and an ex-player, sitting at a table with product placement-festooned cups rip him to shreds. One other guy — maybe a play-by-play guy — says he loved him and to keep his chin up. Wolf looks uncomfortable taking both the the insults and the praise, and later, when a camera is on him alone, he says defiant things about how everyone will be sorry one day for doubting his talent.

For what it’s worth, Rosenthal says that Wolf — who posted a 5.68 ERA in 158 innings for the Brewers and Orioles in 2012 — threw between 87-89 m.p.h. but his curve looked good and he’s getting offers already.

Randy Wolf is making a comeback

Randy Wolf

Randy Wolf hasn’t pitched since September of 2012, sitting out all this year following Tommy John elbow surgery, but the 36-year-old left-hander is making a comeback.

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that Wolf is scheduled to throw for interested teams later this month in Los Angeles and is looking to sign somewhere willing to give him a shot at winning a rotation spot.

Even setting aside the injury Wolf had an ugly 5.68 ERA in 158 innings for the Brewers and Orioles in 2012, although he was a solid mid-rotation starter for the previous decade.

Four years later, 2009 free-agent pair comes up big in LCSs

ALCS - Boston Red Sox v Detroit Tigers - Game Three

Headlined by three players, the post-2009 season MLB free agent class was undoubtedly the weakest seen in at least a decade. The prizes: Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday (acquired from the A’s earlier that summer), Red Sox outfielder Jason Bay and Angels right-hander John Lackey.

The field was so bad that the fourth biggest contract went to Chone Figgins (four years, $36 million from Seattle). Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman (six years, $30.25 million from the Reds) and left-hander Randy Wolf (three years, $29.75 million) were the only other players to get contracts worth a guaranteed $20 million.

The big question at the time was whether the Red Sox would re-sign Bay or try to upgrade to Holliday in left field. Instead, they shocked pretty much everyone with their play for Lackey, signing him to a five-year, $82.5 million contract in mid-December. They added Mike Cameron on a two-year deal at the same time to officially take themselves out of the mix for the top two outfielders.

Bay went on to sign with the Mets two weeks later, getting a guaranteed $66 million over four years. About 10 days after that, Holliday reupped with the Cardinals for $120 million over seven years. The Orioles were also reported to be in the running for Holliday, but that might have been mostly posturing. Before signing Lackey, the Red Sox reportedly offered Holliday the same five-year, $82.5 million deal that the right-hander received, then moved on when it was declined.

Obviously, of the long-term contracts, only those given to Holliday and Chapman worked out as hoped. Lackey, though, has earned his money this year. He and Holliday both came up very big on Wednesday, with Lackey pitching 6 2/3 scoreless innings in Boston’s 1-0 win over Detroit and Holliday hitting a two-run homer in the Cardinals’ 4-2 defeat of the Dodgers.

Still, I can’t help but wonder how much different things would look right now if the Red Sox had stepped up and signed Holliday, as many thought they would. Lackey had a solid first season in Boston before posting a 6.41 ERA in 2011 and missing all of 2012 following Tommy John surgery. Cameron was injured and rather ineffective in his Boston stint. Obviously, Holliday would have been great to have around in the middle of the order from day one. However, if the Red Sox had signed him, they probably wouldn’t have landed Adrian Beltre on a bargain one-year deal later that winter. Those two went on to produce very similar numbers in 2010.

One thing is for sure: if the Red Sox had signed Holliday, they wouldn’t have given Carl Crawford a seven-year, $142 million contract to play left field the following winter. And if they hadn’t done that, there’s no megatrade with the Dodgers a year ago (perhaps they also don’t trade for Adrian Gonzalez in the first place).

And if the Cardinals had missed out on Holliday? Well, it doesn’t seem like they had any interest in Bay, so they probably would have dodged that bullet. It also isn’t very likely that they would have ended up with Lackey. Perhaps they would have signed Beltre instead, though that would have meant bypassing David Freese at third base. They also could went after Johnny Damon as a left fielder and leadoff man.

For the long term, without Holliday, one imagines there would have been no 2011 World Series championship. There likely would have been more pressure to re-sign Albert Pujols, and if the Cardinals could have gotten that done, not only would they probably be stuck with maybe the game’s worst contracts, but they could have missed out on Michael Wacha, who was selected with the Angels’ pick in the 2012 draft (also, the Angels very well could have ended up with Crawford in this scenario, making it even more likely that Pujols stays in St. Louis).

In the end, it seems that everything worked out for the best. Well, not for the Mets, obviously. And the Mariners.  And the Angels. And, lets face it, 2011-12 weren’t too peachy for the Red Sox. But it definitely worked out best for the Cardinals, and I’m sure at least half of you will tell me that’s really all that matters.