SB Nation’s Brew Crew Ball has a full breakdown of Randy Wolf’s capabilities and limitations as a starting pitcher for the Brewers, and in the end, conclude that the three-year, $30 million deal is a good investment:
There’s no doubt that the Brewers had to go above what Wolf’s probable worth on the market to get him to come to Milwaukee. The Brewers decided that he was their man and went out of their way to get him. I personally have no problem with what they did. Expecting them to set a maximum seems pretty unrealistic to me. If you set your maximum at $9 million per year and Wolf’s agent indicates that it will take $10 million, do you tell them no deal? Considering that sources said Jon Garland (who, like Suppan, has never really been a good pitcher) was the backup if Wolf didn’t accept, I am glad they did what they did.
After saying what I said about Wolf’s ability, I think he should be projected for something like a 4.20 ERA and 180 innings this year. Expecting him to repeat last year’s performance of 214 innings and a 3.50 ERA is unrealistic-first the flaws of ERA, a team statistic that is vulnerable to chance, must be considered and beyond that there’s Wolf’s .250 BABIP allowed and high strand rate, which show that he did not deserve the ERA that he accumulated. Fortunately, paying a pitcher $10 million really only assumes his value to be a slightly above average pitcher. Average for a starter is around a 4.5 ERA. With the Wolf projection I mentioned earlier, he’s worth around $10 million in free agent dollars. There’s an upside there of his production last year, which makes him worth a bit more. There is an injury risk, as there is with any pitcher. […]
I definitely have some concerns about decisions the team has made this offseason-the other signing of today, Latroy Hawkins, included (which I’ll have more on later)-but I do like this deal overall. There might have been other ways of improving the pitching staff, but I can definitely see why Doug Melvin chose to go in this direction. This pitching staff just got substantially better and the team did not have to give up a draft pick or a player to do it, and there are a few other interesting trading pieces (Corey Hart!) on the roster. I would rather the Brewers potentially risk spending $10 million on $5 million worth of production in 2012 than just throw in the towel and not make a move.