Brewers Staying Busy During Winter Meetings, Sign Pitchers Randy Wolf, LaTroy Hawkins

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Brew Crew Ball: Randy Wolf Signing Is Good Deal For Brewers

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.


Brewers Sign Pitchers Randy Wolf, LaTroy Hawkins

The Milwaukee Brewers were busy today in Indianapolis at the MLB winter meetings, signing a pair of pitchers.

First, they snagged starting pitcher Randy Wolf to a three-year deal, reportedly worth $29.75 million guaranteed. Then later in the day, the Brewers added an arm to their bullpen, inking LaTroy Hawkins to a two-year deal, which, pending a physical, is worth $7.5 million. SB Nation's Beyond the Box Score takes a look at how both additions affect the Brewers.

A career National Leaguer, Wolf more than likely made the right decision by sticking with the league he knows best. He's probably not the #2 starter that Milwaukee is hoping for him to be, but does give the team another quality arm behind Yovanni Gallardo. His 3.23 ERA in 2009 is partly a product of a lower than normal BABIP, but his 3.96 FIP suggests that he was still above average.

Again, there's no guarantee he'll give you 200 innings again. And there should be some adjustment from Chavez Ravine to Miller Park, however, Wolf should be able to cover 2.5 WAR needed to make him "worth" the near $10 million dollar salary; at least in the contract year 2010.

The other part of the equation is LaTroy Hawkins, and the two-year, $7.5 million dollar contract he received from Milwaukee. Like Wolf, Hawkins does himself a favor by sticking in the National League. After a mostly successful stint with the Minnesota Twins, he suffered through two less than stellar trips through the AL East before settling down with the Astros in the NL Central.

Be sure to visit Brew Crew Ball for more analysis of the two signings.

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