Randy Wolf, who has won 69 games in the National League, was a free agent who was pursued by many major league teams this winter.
But the former Pepperdine pitcher decided against putting himself into a bidding contest. Instead, Wolf has signed with the Dodgers for 2007 and could be with them longer.
“I could have gone to the highest bidder but that wasn’t important to me`” he said. “It was important to go to the place where I always wanted to be. I don’t know how many more times I’ll have that opportunity.”
Wolf, a left-hander, underwent “Tommy John surgery” in 2005 and was out of baseball for a year. Upon returning, he was effective but didn’t pitch deep into games. However, he said his arm felt very good as the 2006 season progressed.
The Dodgers weren’t willing to give him a long-term deal considering his history with the injury. But they did want him.
They’ll pay $7.5 million for the 2007 season. If Wolf pitches 180 innings, a $9 million contract for 2008 becomes guaranteed.
Although that’s a lot of money, it’s small compared to other amounts being paid to free agents. For instance, Barry Zito is a free agent expected to command at least $70 million in a multi-year deal. With Wolf signed, the Dodgers aren’t expected to make a serious bid for Zito.
Wolf, who grew up in the San Fernando Valley, was 69-60 in eight seasons with the Phillies.
As a left-handed starter, he should be an improvement over Odalis Perez. The Dodgers still need a fifth starter and are inclined to look within the organization if they can’t sign Greg Maddux for another year.
The highlights of their off-season have been signing Wolf, signing free agent centerfielder Juan Pierre for five years and giving first baseman Nomar Garciaparra a new two-year contract. The low point was losing outfielder J.D. Drew, who opted out of the remaining three years on his contract. He had the right to do that but he sacrificed a guaranteed $33 million.
Obviously, agent Scott Boras believes he can do better elsewhere. The Dodgers weren’t intending to keep Garciaparra but quickly used the money to bring him back.