When Astros lefty Randy Wolf reached free agency after the 2006 season, he made his desire to play closer to home, on the West Coast, well known. He signed with the Dodgers, and managed a little over 100 innings amid shoulder issues. His ERA, 4.73, wasn’t too impressive. Yet the Padres, considered before the season to be contenders, decided to take a flier. They signed him to a one-year, $4.75MM deal with a number of incentives.
Back in July, the Astros acquired Wolf in a trade. GM Ed Wade had been fond of the lefty since his days as general manager in Philly. He had even courted Wolf last winter, but the pitcher chose to stay out west. As Wolf once again reaches free agency after this season, he says that geography won’t quite play the role it did over the past two off-seasons.
"It doesn’t matter anymore," Wolf said. "I played on the East Coast for so long, and you’re like, ‘I wonder what it would be like [to play closer to home].’ I’ve done it. It didn’t change my world."
Wolf says he’ll consider the Astros, but his foremost concern is signing with a contender. He has been pitching in the majors since 1999, and hasn’t yet made the postseason. Will the Astros sate that desire? Personally, I’m not so sure. Any ‘Stros fans out there think that next year could be the one?
Over at ESPN, Rob Neyer writes about how well Wolf has pitched for the Astros, and how he was wrong in his initial judgment of the trade.