The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet

Baseball? In December?

Hey guys, I found a baseball article! It’s by Tim Brown, and it’s not terrible. It’s about how the Dodgers didn’t offer mediocre 32-year-old Randy Wolf arbitration. It’s here if you want to read the whole thing, but it’s not really outrageously bad. There’s just one little section of crazy in the middle:

Running the comparables, they apparently came up with pitchers such as Ryan Dempster ($12.5 million in 2010), Oliver Perez ($12 million) and Derek Lowe ($15 million), and they couldn’t have that, not after paying Wolf $5 million in ’09.

Yes, that makes sense. All of those pitchers are massively overpaid. That seems like smarter general managing than I’m used to from Ned Colletti, who likes nothing more than overpaying for mediocre veterans.

Thing is, Wolf was their best pitcher, on a staff that was far better than the sum of its parts.

No he sure damn wasn’t. He wasn’t even their best pitcher if you’re only talking about starters, and, hey, here’s a hint: the reason the Dodgers’ staff seemed, to you, to be "better than the sum of its parts" is mainly because you’ve forgotten about the bullpen. The Dodgers had an incredible bullpen this year, which definitely helped them weather some poor outings from their above-average-but-not-amazing rotation. Do you see? God damn, George Sherrill’s ERA+ with the Dodgers was 606. The Dodgers had an unreal bullpen.

At worst, he was their second-best pitcher to Clayton Kershaw, but threw 40-some more innings than Kershaw.

Again, you’re forgetting the bullpen. But, yes, Wolf was the Dodgers’ second-best starter, after Kershaw. BP puts Wolf’s DERA at 3.88 (only a little bit better than average), whereas Kershaw is at 3.34 (meaningfully better than average). Fangraphs’ FIP concurs, with Wolf at 3.96 and Kershaw at 3.08. Kershaw was a lot better. Wolf threw 43.1 innings more, which is definitely important, and you could claim he was more valuable as a result (BP would agree, giving him the edge, 4.6 to 4.5, though Fangraphs disagrees sharply and picks Kershaw, 4.2 to 3.0), but it’s pretty clear that Kershaw was better at actually pitching, but they’re easing him in due to his age, and he didn’t throw as many innings. He will throw more innings next year.

And the other thing is, every time they give up on Wolf they wish they had him back.

Every time? You mean literally every single one time? Since they’ve let him go one time.

They let him walk after ’07 and he killed it with Houston down the stretch in ’08.

That badass killed it with Houston to the tune of a 3.57 ERA, 1.302 WHIP, 2.38 K/BB, and 118 ERA+. What Tim doesn’t mention is how he killed it with San Diego for the first half of that season, which was: 4.74 ERA, 1.421 WHIP, 2.23 K/BB, and 80 ERA+, which was very similar to the numbers he put up for the Dodgers in 2007. 2007 was also the only year he pitched for the Dodgers. I can’t believe they gave up on him after such a long and distinguished service! Jim Tracy would never give up on Clint Barmes after that amount of time.

They rode him through ’09, then pushed him to the back of the NLCS rotation, which didn’t turn out to be a great idea.

Randy Wolf, NLCS: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 HR, 2 BB, 2 K. You’re right: that wasn’t a great idea. They should have played Sherrill instead.

They’re going to need starting pitching. And there was nothing wrong with paying Randy Wolf. Or taking the chance of paying Randy Wolf.

There is something wrong with paying Randy Wolf $12-15 million for one year. His ERA+ from 2005-2008: 84, 94, 92. Career: 103. The one thing the Dodgers’ front office does well is not pay dudes tons of money for career years; they like old, broken-down veterans better.

That’s it. Not great, I know, but the best I can do in December. When the hot stove really gets going I’m sure I’ll get some awesome piece about how well Eric Byrnes will fit in on the Cubs due to his leadership and mouth, and I can write six thousand words about that and then kill myself.

December 2nd, 2009 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

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