IMO, Wolf is probably closer to Suppan in terms of “stuff” than the comments indicate. Performancewise, Wolf is superior, and significantly.
2 Things …
 Suppan signed with MIL when his value was at his highest. He had just pitched lights out against the Mets in the playoffs, and then contributed to a WS victory. (Also, not only was it adding Suppan to MIL, but was also removing Suppan from StL. Basically they took StL’s 2nd best SP.
[I think cardinal fans suspected what might happen once Suppan left Dave Duncan. Drop-off. It seems to happen quite a bit once guys leave his mentoring.]
 This is a BIG deal in the NLC. It’s no secret that StL’s weakness is hitting vLHP. While Wolf wasn’t that good in his one playoff appearance vStL in 09, he’ll likely get 4-6 starts against StL in ’10, and the increase of 2-3 wins for MIL in those games could settle the division … especially with StL losing DeRosa and Holliday (likely). CIN’s best hitters are also LHB’s.
I think this move could be VERY significant in a usually tight (and somewhat mediocre) NLC.
I wish the Cardinals would have signed Figgins … he always seemed to be a “Cardinal in waiting” to me , anyway.
Comment by circlechange11 — December 9, 2009 @ 4:22 pm
You know, that comment is pretty offensive even for people who recognize it as a quote from Pulp Fiction (given that the movie is 15 years old, it certainly didn’t jump out at me right away).
Seems like a reasonable move from a team in a tight spot. From the Journal Sentinel story:
The Brewers knew three years at more than $9 million per year was a bit of a stretch but they also knew they had to do something to improve their starting rotation. The Brewers’ starting pitchers posted a 5.37 ERA, tied with Baltimore for the worst in the majors.
And the Dodgers didn’t offer this guy arb… Epic fail.
I think his stuff is much better than Suppan. He doesn’t have great velocity, but it’s good enough, and he has a nasty curveball for an out pitch. He had much better peripheral stats than Suppan and he hasn’t been overly hittable like Suppan with his batting practice stuff.
Totally baseball-unrelated comment: I found myself saying aloud “please tell me he just said ‘In my trollings of the interwebs'” while reading this article. Nice touch.
Comment by Evan Kirkwood — December 9, 2009 @ 5:15 pm
Comment by Doug Melvin — December 9, 2009 @ 5:16 pm
I haven’t watched many of Suppan’s starts as a Brewer, but while in StL, his 2-seamer, particialrly his location of it, was the key to his success. ‘Soup’ has a decent curve and change, but I do see how Wolf’s excellent deuce could be the significant difference between he and Suppan.
Comment by CircleChange11 — December 9, 2009 @ 5:18 pm
As a Brewers fan, I’d have to say this is probably the best move we could have made in the FA market. We don’t have the money for Lackey, and we don’t want to risk our whole season by relying on Bedard/Harden to be healthy. I was hoping Pavano wouldn’t accept arb, but whatever.
I don’t see this deal coming back to bite us for at least the first two years, and even in the third, if Wolf can still give us 180 innings, I can’t see him being too awful. And the $10M will hurt the first year, but we have $22M coming off the books next offseason when Suppan, Bill Hall, and David Riske all expire.
I don’t think the comparison is as crazy when you also consider the fact that Wolf is over a year older at the time of signing and their xFIPs (4.52, 4.35 and 4.66 for Suppan and 4.36, 4.29 and 4.17 for Wolf) are closer than their FIPs.
Comment by Toffer Peak — December 9, 2009 @ 7:55 pm
I love Randy Wolf but they overpaid. I hope for their sake he comes close to justifying that contract. However, his history of injuries and numbers every other year but last year worry me. When a guy is consistently 4-4.50 ERA for several years and then posts a low 3s, it screams fluke…especially when those numbers are accompanied by an unsustainable .257 BABIP.
Still, he’s a decent pitcher so they should likely at least get a #3/4 guy for 3 years…if his arm issues don’t come back.
erik – my concern in giving wolf a three-year contract is that his durability is suspect. the two seasons prior to the three you cite were years of 56 and 80 innings pitched. his value in those two seasons was 0.5 and -0.3.
the past two years were the first seasons since 2003 where he pitched a full season. if wolf turns in partial credit on one or more of those three years, the contract could really end up not looking good.
As a Brewers fan, I was expecting to overpay and I think Melvin was, too.
Gotta eat a little cash to make sure you get somebody competent and that’s what Wolf is. Better than Suppan, better than Looper, better than Bush. We needed a guy and we got a guy, even if we paid too much.
As far as Hawkins…. well this article isn’t about him so I’ll save it.