Wolf’s Deal with LA

Randy Wolf had a season not unlike that of Jim Edmonds, wherein he was awful for the Padres, was traded off mid season and then blossomed into a player San Diego were hoping they might have been getting in the first place.

Edmonds remains unsigned this winter, but finally Randy Wolf has put his name to the dotted line, with Los Angeles. Does this mark the beginning of a shift away from pursuing Manny Ramirez? That will be an interesting angle to watch in the forthcoming weeks.

Moving on to Wolf himself, the contract calls for $5 million in guaranteed money and up to another $3 million in incentives. The incentives kick in at $500,000 for reaching 170, 180, 185, 190, 195 and 200 innings pitched.

The various projections range from CHONE marking Wolf down for just 122 innings at a below average FIP to Marcel at 165 innings at a slightly above average FIP. Translated to wins, it comes out to between 1.4 and 2.4 wins. Neither of those projections have Wolf earning any incentives, which means he would end up with just the $5 million paid. Given the value of those seasons ($6.3 million by CHONE, $10.8 by Marcel), this is a good to great deal for the Dodgers.

There are really two possible downsides for LA here. One is that Wolf gets hurt entirely. In that case, they’re out $5 million without much production at all. That’s not too much of a problem as long as they have adequate backups planned. The other is if Wolf is healthy but not overly effective, getting to 190 or so innings of below average pitching. In that case, the Dodgers would probably break even on value unless Wolf is really mediocre, which would seem to go against the whole pitching lots of innings assumption. This comes across as a mild-risk/medium-reward deal for the Dodgers; well done.

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Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.

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