December 20, 2014

The Return of the Wolf

Finally!  Yup, it’s done.  Ken Gurnick is reporting that lefty Randy Wolf is back with the Dodgers for 2009 after signing a one-year deal for $5 million.

In previous posts we’ve rationalized the myriad of reasons that this signing is great for the Dodgers, but allow me to summarize:

– Another lefty for the starting rotation

– A mentor for the young pitching staff

–  A guy with the potential to eat up a lot of innings (in 2008 he had 33 starts and  190+ innings)

Personally I hope Ned goes out and signs another starter (ala Pedro), but I think that’s just wishful thinking given the handful of tomato cans he’s signed to minor league deals over the past few weeks.

Time to focus on the relief pitching…

Pedro Back to Dodgers?

Jon Heyman over at SI.com has an interesting column on this topic.  I also caught his interview on Colin Cowherd’s show this morning on ESPN Radio and the logic makes sense: the Dodgers need a fifth starter and at least one veteran mentor for the young staff.  I don’t know about you, but I’m a little nervous that all isn’t going well with the Randy Wolf negotiations…why hasn’t Ned locked this guy down yet?

Plus, it would be a nice homecoming with Pedro coming homw to finish his career at Dodger Stadium.

This all assuming that the guy has enough gas in the tank to be effective.  When agents make comments like “He feels the best he’s ever felt” I get a little nervous.  Still the World Baseball Classic will be a great exhibition for Pedro and who knows, maybe we’ll see him pitch here in LA in the semis or the finals.

What do you think?  Should Ned sign Pedro Martinez?  The longer the negotiations take with Wolf and Looper, the more I’m leaning towards yes (with a one year deal, of course).

McDonald Headed to the Pen

James McDonald will be coming out of ther bullpen to start the year, mirroring the development plan for Chad Billingsley in 2007.  The move gives Joe Torre a big arm capable of working a lot of innings and definitely reduces the pressure on the Dodgers’ 2008 Minor League Pitcher of the Year.  It’s also interesting to note that McDonald’s fastball topped out in the 88-92 mph range as a starter, but rose to 96 mph as a reliever.

Thinking back to last season, I remember Ned expressing concern about Clayton Kershaw’s rush to the majors and the huge increase in sheer innings that starting pitchers that make the jump experience.  Ned’s always been cautious with his young arms, and I really can’t fault the guy.  The way the club handled both Bills and Kershaw was fantastic, and both had successful transitions to the majors (granted, 2009 will be Kershaw’s first full year with LA).

In other “news,” the Dodgers signed former Dodgers SS Juan Castro and RP Tanyon Sturtze to minor league deals.

Kershaw Getting Set for Full Season in the Bigs

Ramona Shelburne has a nice article on Clayton Kershaw in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.  It’s a nice look at the story of the man behind the uniform and his life away from baseball.  Here’s a quick excerpt about Kershaw’s high school career that I hadn’t heard before:

In his senior year he went 12-0 and struck out 139 batters in 64 innings. Then on one May afternoon, Kershaw did something that should be included in every story ever written about him: he struck out all 15 batters he faced in a five-inning perfect game. The Dodgers just so happened to have sent a scout out to watch him that day.

I know all Dodger fans can’t wait to see what kind of pitcher the kid develops into in 2009.  One thing’s for sure: it’s going to be special.

Are the Dodgers Hungry Like the Wolf?

Sorry, couldn’t resist an ’80’s Duran Duran reference.  So it looks like Ned is zeroing in on lefty Randy Wolf.  As MLB.com reports, last year Wolf had 33 starts, going 12-12 with a 4.30 ERA.  When Randy pitched for the Dodgers in 2007 he started 18 games and was 9-6 with a 4.73 ERA. 

My take is that Wolf is a solid #3 starter.  Nothing really to get excited about here, given that on average he made it through 5.7 innings last year, but there aren’t that many left-handers left out there and Randy has proven to be a productive starter when healthy.