Randy Wolf to Milwaukee?

21 05 2008

The collective wheels have fallen off for the San Diego Padres early this season.  Already over ten games back in May, GM Kevin Towers hinted he may be gearing up for a firesale this summer.  The LA Times mentions that Randy Wolf could be a good fit for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Let’s take a look and see if this is true.

Randy Wolf has a relatively reasonable contract for San Diego to trade.  He’s signed only for 2008, and the veteran is a relative bargain at $4.75M.  Money would not be an issue for the Brewers, especially since Mark Attanasio has said that he is willing to ante up the cash to bolster the starting rotation.  That part checks out rather well for Milwaukee.

How about Randy’s 5.05 ERA?  Would the Brewers want to give up someone like CF Tony Gwynn Jr. for those numbers?  It is early in the season, but Randy’s ERA has been consistently on the rise in the past couple years.  Last season, Randy posted a 4.73 ERA with a 1.451 WHIP, both worse than the league average.  Not exactly the ideal numbers to be placing in the rotation to give it a kick start.

Add in the fact that Wolf has been an injury waiting to happen the past few years, it seems that Milwaukee would be foolish to court Wolf.  Starting in the 2005 season, Randy has only had 13 games started, 12 GS, and 18 GS, respectively.  The Brewers have an injury liability in Ben Sheets heading the rotation.  Melvin would be foolish to attempt to bolster the rotation with an injury risk.  The team cannot trade its future for an unknown entity that is only a rental.

If Randy Wolf is not the answer, who is?

I don’t believe there is anyone worthwhile on the trading block that will be semi-affordable for Milwaukee.  The answer has to be in-house.  Carlos’ 6.43 ERA and 12 home runs allowed are not working in the rotation. Ned Yost and Doug Melvin want to put Villy in the ‘pen to get his control issues and confidence worked out.  Who are the internal options?

RHP Seth McClung

Seth is getting the ball this Saturday, so he is obviously the #1 choice to round out the rotation.  Brewers coaches have been raving about the mechanical changes Seth has made in the past week or so, and they believe he is ready to produce in the rotation.

Those mechanical changes better be big changes, as his numbers as a starter have been atrocious.  The big guy started for two seasons in Tampa Bay, posting a 6.59 and a 6.29 ERA, respectively.  Those numbers would scare anyone away.  Even more concerning, his BB:K ratios in those seasons were 62:92 and 68:59.  I’m not a stat-head, but you do not need to be a rocket scientist or a mathematician to understand those numbers are less than ideal.

With that said, Seth has a great arm.  He has a blistering fastball and a curve that he has been throwing for strikes lately.  Two pitches will not be enough to get through a major league lineup two or three times, however.  The team says that Seth has developed a pretty good change-up this season, but I have not seen it much in game action.

Seth McClung is an interesting option, but his past numbers do not look promising.  His control issues will most likely not translate well to the starting rotation, as he still has a 13:20 BB:K ratio.  Those mechanical changes must be pretty darn good ones.  Still, I do not believe Seth is the answer.  He has been effective from the bullpen, however.  I’d keep him there after Saturday unless he really impresses.

RHP Jeff Weaver

The Milwaukee Brewers signed Jeff Weaver to a minor league deal to deepen the starting rotation.  He is more of an innings-eater type of pitcher.  In 2004 and 2005, Jeff logged over 220.0 innings pitched, but his innings total has gone down in the past couple years.  In 2006, he had 31 games started, but he only had 172.0 innings pitched.  That is a significant decrease in only three fewer starts.  Jeff is clearly not as effective as he once was.

The past two seasons, Jeff has posted a 5.76 ERA and a 6.20 ERA, respectively.  I’m not sure if the Brewers want to be relying on someone with those numbers.  Especially since he appears to not have improved too much this season.  Through four starts, Jeff has an unimpressive 6.35 ERA.  I have to believe that Milwaukee will be looking elsewhere to fill the void in the starting rotation.

LHP Zach Jackson

Once one of the top pitching prospects in the system after being acquired from Toronto in the Lyle Overbay trade, Zach has struggled to consistently succeed in either the big leagues or Triple-A.  Last season, Zach limped in with a 4.46 ERA in Nashville, which suggests that the lefty is not ready for another shot in the bigs as a starter.

With that said, Zach Jackson looks to have found a niche in the bullpen.  In his last two relief appearances, the southpaw has not allowed a run in 4.2 innings of work.  His walk rate has dropped dramatically, and his strikeout rate has remained solid.  He’s been impressive enough out of the ‘pen for Milwaukee to call him up to serve as the second lefty and compliment to Brian Shouse.  The Brewers are no longer looking at Zach as a potential starter.  I believe he may settle in the pen as a long reliever, left-handed specialist type of pitcher….not a starter.

LHP Chris Narveson

Chris broke on the scene during Spring Training and almost pitched his way onto the team as a non-roster invite.  The former St. Louis Cardinal unveiled his new cut-fastball, and he commanded it beautifully on his way to a high strikeout rate.  Ned Yost came home from Arizona impressed with Chris.  Perhaps he’s the one to fill the rotation.

Chris’ 3.94 ERA suggests that he does deserve a shot in the big leagues.  He is consistently striking out about six batters per nine innings, which is impressive for a left-hander.  The problem is the WHIP.  It is at an uncharacteristically high 1.42.  His career average WHIP is 1.28, and he had a 1.18 with St. Louis in 2006.  He is walking almost four and a half batters per nine innings and giving up bunches of hits.  I suspect that his WHIP will come down a bit, and the Brewers will be tempted to give him a chance in the bigs.  He may have the best chance in the long run, but his control is not where it needs to be to help immediately.  Doug Melvin needs to look elsewhere.

RHP Mark DiFelice

The Brewers recently called up 31-year old journeyman, Mark DiFelice to fill the spot vacated by Mitch Stetter in the bullpen.  DiFelice has been toiling in the minor leagues the past 11 seasons, never getting a big league call-up.  His blood pressure must have been incredibly high when he made his debut in a Brewers uniform at Fenway Park.  He had a very uninspired outing, giving up three runs in an inning of work.  I’m not going to condemn Mark for this outing, however.  Most other Brewers pitchers struggled in that series, and it was his first outing.  I’ll cut him a little slack.

Looking at his career numbers in the minors, I believe that Mark is the pitcher that best fits the back-end of the rotation for MIlwaukee.  In Nashville this season, his control has been impeccable…to the tune of a 1:28 BB:K ratio.  Not too shabby.  In his 11 seasons as a minor league pitcher, Mark has averaged a 3.54 ERA.  That is far and away better than anyone else in this discussion.  The Brewers need someone that can log some innings and control the baseball.  Last season in Nashville, Mark averaged six innings per outing.  I think Brewers fans would gladly take that after watching Villanueva, Parra, and Bush struggle to get past the fifth.

It is quite the long-shot, I must admit, but Mark DiFelice appears to have the best chance to succeed at the back-end of the rotation.  His debut in Boston was atrocious, but I believe the Brewers have him working from the bullpen so he can get acclimated to the big leagues before giving him a shot in the rotation.  If Seth McClung falters Saturday, look for DiFelice to get the call the following time through the rotation.

After analyzing Milwaukee’s internal options, I realize that there is not much to hang your hat on.  DiFelice, Narveson, or McClung could work out and be a surprise, but they easily could flounder in the starting rotation.  Unless the Brewers can hit a hot streak, however, it would be unwise for Melvin to go outside the organization to find a replacement.  Milwaukee does not need a rental player to get them above .500.  If the Brewers are going to trade future pieces away, they must be in the race.  It is only a quarter of the way through the season, but the Brewers are not in the position to be “buyers.”  Let’s hope Seth McClung can pitch successfully on Saturday and give the team and starting rotation a boost.  If not, however, the team does have internal options better and cheaper than the likes of Randy Wolf and his 5.05 ERA.

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8 responses

21 05 2008
orville reddenbrewer

i think heath bell would be a better trade from the padres if we’re going to dangle tony gwynn jr. he’s got closer written all over him, as long as we don’t have to give up much more than gwynn, he’d solve our closing problems. giving up anyone to get wolf doesn’t really excite me — doesn’t seem to be much better than what we have.

but bell could be a solid move.

21 05 2008
BJ

Nice write up! I always think twice when the Padres are a “match” with the Brewers and their love for the Gwynn family… I always want to believe they may give a little extra in a deal to bring Tony to San Diego. I guess I hadn’t really done any research on Randy Wolf prior to speculating about the trade… Thanks for your opinion!

21 05 2008
orville reddenbrewer

that said, i’m worried about giving up prospects this year. without gallardo, our chances of competing went down considerably and giving up too many prospects to try to get back into this thing could be a disaster long-term.

21 05 2008
Jim Breen

I completely agree with you orville. Dealing prospects at this point is very dangerous.

Heath Bell would be fantastic. It would take more than Gwynn to get that deal done though. Bell will be there closer after this year, so it would take a package of two or three prospects to get him. I’m not sure the Brewers want to be dealing the farm at this point in the season.

21 05 2008
Kyle

No desire to trade prospects yet… if we are suddenly in first place, and nearing the month of August, maybe, but Wolf is not the right player… I just don’t want another Linebrink trade, although it is nice we are getting some draft picks this year, I don’t think a rental player that is below average is worth it… anyone that is above average will have too high of a price tag in terms of who we need to give up.

22 05 2008
bernie carbo

In my humble opinion, Randy Wolfe is NOT the answer. He has shown over a large sample of seasons a tendency to either get injured or completely run out of gas…..As another writer mentioned, I would prefer to suffer through a few more Villanueva bumps than suffer through a Randy Wolfe or even a Jeff Weaver run in Milwaukee.

Heath Bell is an excellent arm, but way too costly….I would rather see Seth McLung be given a shot at closer than trade prospects again for a Padres reliever…

Former Brewer Dana Eveland is dealing big time in Oakland this year..

22 05 2008
Aaron

Here’s a look at the moves we made last year and where everything ended up.

http://brewcrewpub.blogspot.com/2008/05/doug-melvin-not-as-good-as-you-might.html

13 08 2008
Right Field Bleachers » Blog Archive » In the News (5/21)

[…] BrewersNation says no to the Randy Wolf to the Brewers trade suggestion in the LA Times. I […]

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