F-500 Camera Angle on Randy Wolf's Walkout
One of those ad "mistakes" is, um, Uncalled For


The Mariners could have guaranteed Wolf $1 million, rather than half a million.* After Wolf "did everything right," the Mariners informed Wolf that they decided to give him the half million.  Mr. Wolf was displeased.

As you review the situation, keep in mind that vis-a-vis Jack Zduriencik, Randy Wolf is (somewhat ... say, 40%) in the Jamie Moyer category.  "Classy org soldier who wants to go out with dignity."  


From Randy Wolf's Point of View


  • He and Zduriencik are old MLB(TM) warriors who have chewed a lotta the same dirt
  • He's age 37 and has "paid his dues," is entitled to lots of MLB(TM) loyalty
  • Wolf was coming off a year missed due to injury, and was a longshot; like Rocky, he beat the odds heroically
  • Jack Zduriencik widdled on his Veteran Entitlement and Dignity
  • About 50% of "league sources" would agree that this half-a-million chisel was unnecessary, and uncalled-for, on the M's part


From the Mariner Cash Register's Point of View


  • The M's are hardly breaking precedent here.  "It's a business" and all 30 MLB teams do have to save $$ where they can
  • About 50% of "league sources" feel like Wolf shoulda just skipped the guarantee, pitched well, and then if he got cut, he'd have gotten on with another club (he'd be better off than he is now!)
  • The M's reached a LOOSE understanding with Randy Wolf that if he pitched well, he was a good match for the club (figure 25-30 starts)
  • Baseball is fluid.  The situation changed and the M's adapted


From Dr. D's F-500 Point of View


  • When a 4th-level manager "heartlessly" widdles on a great employee, it does affect morale
  • It could easily make it tougher to sign the next Scott Baker, next year
  • Dr. D was himself a "consultant" like Wolf -- not a salaried employee like Kyle Seager -- and appreciates that "temp" life can be nasty, brutish, and short
  • The M's wound up with great news on several fronts:  K-Pax.  Iwakuma.  Erasmo.  Taijuan.  aannnndddd .... Roenis.
  • Dr. D remembers when Johnny Bench became "the first $100,000 catcher in baseball."  Was it Ozzie Smith or Mike Schmidt who became the first $1M player?  When guys like Jared Allen retire, rather than take $5M to play a year of their favorite sport, somebody's moral compass has gone haywire.

The bottom line is, it was a little cold for the M's to do what they did.  It wasn't out of line, but it was kinda cold.  Then again, Zduriencik is a cold guy.  

Most great execs that I've known have been cold guys.  In baseball, it's a little less common.  In Nintendo, it's a little more common.  Morale is more important in baseball than it is in computer programming.  

Wolf has a right to be annoyed (as Dr. D has been frequently annoyed by cold execs).  But he's a big boy.  It was up to him to pick the right org.  He guessed wrong.  No use blaming the Company for being soulless.  That's how Companies are.

He pitched well, and will have a 2014 season someplace.  In the meantime, you as a Mariner fan do have a few extra bucks that might come into consideration at the trade deadline. 

My $0.02,

Dr D







It's the constant...chiseling that has persisted in the M's front office for decades now is what kind of galls me. They've missed out on a lot bigger fish than Wolf because of it, of course. If it was just Wolf, then hey - I have no problem with him getting the most lukewamrm endorsement possible. Baker just signed the same exact deal with the Rangers and Wolf will almost certainly have to ink the same terms IF he is able to land a job.
But man, I've negotiated with guys that will fight for every last crumb on the table and while they might 'win' a few minor points on that one deal, they will more than pay for it in the long term. I know that when I go to the table for a negotiation with the known crumb fighter, I come hard and heavy early and I'm not playing the win-win game that I will with a more collaborative negotiator. He can have the crumbs in the end - I'm going to make him pay on the big deal points early.


This deal in a vacuum ... not such a problemo.  But exactly as you say, it is the overall arc of their attitude that galls.  Relative to , the Mariners care less about pennants and more about pretty annual cashflow statements.
They're catching a lot of industry flak NOW for signing Robinson Cano and not following up.  Their rep for chiseling is not behind them, not by a long shot.
You wonder, in fact, whether they failed to sign guys like Cruz and Jimenez not because of baseball analysis as such, but simply because they preferred to pocket the cash.  You wonder if they're passing on a Kendrys-for-LoMo swapout, also in the interest of pocketing a coupla extra million.
This in the context of their shiny new TV deal.


Committing a quarter of a billion dollars this offseason seems to conflict with the goal of 'pretty annual cashflow statements', no?
Next, Jack is the cold dude who nickel-and-dimes even old friends. So are we also saying that we didn't pay enough for 'old friend' Bloomquist?
I think it's entirely possible that Jack thought he could bully Wolf into a deal, and then neither side was willing to back down once Wolf said 'no'. In that case, you can easily criticize Jack for his interpersonal style...but I don't see how that necessarily translates into cheapness.


putting a face on a shiny new TV situation.  :- )
If the M's had to lay out a quarter-billion this offseason, I'm guessing they woulda passed... however, the 2014 Cano money that raised their payroll to its current $74 million, that meshes well with the fiscal conservatism we've seen to date ... 


Thanks for the F500 perspective, but... what if Jack was doing his old buddy a favor to begin with by even offering him a spot on the team... I mean 6 homers in 19 innings, 9 strike outs, 7 walks almost 5.0 ERA does not inspire me to recommend you as a someone I want to block my young guns who are anxious to prove themselves - even if those young guns are Beavan and Noesi whom I traded for and possibly have made strides that the scouts are seeing.
This story could easily have been Jack saying the ONLY way we will think about offering you a job is that we'll give you a month+ to prove yourself before Walker & Kuma get healthy.... but the scouts / Rick Waits are saying this guy is toast... we do not want his 85 mph fastball anywhere near my rotation.
These negotiations did go on for a day... heck MAYBE the agent asked for the opportunity to present Wolf the 45 day option to prove himself... We do not know.


Humberto Quintero and Endy Chavez were both released the day before each was due a $100,000 bonus, and nobody bats an eye. Prospects are routinely delayed to avoid Super Two and they are lauded for their fiscal responsibility. The M's try to save $500,000 on Wolf and Deadspin skewers them because it fits the Mariners are so damn bad narrative.

muddyfrogwater's picture

This is the first season in a long while, where the M's have had some money to burn. Fortunately...or from what I hear, there's financial flexibilty left. So I'm going to hold out for a little bit and see what they do over the next couple of years. Starting with the trade deadline this season. Hopefully they maintain a buyers mentality. I'm looking for bigger signings over the next couple of years. Of course I say this with gavel in hand like most. If you have the M's on the clock, time is running out.
If you can't fill out your bench with your own farm. What does that say about your whole minor league system in general? Wolf was insurance I guess. I cant really see him [Wolf] changing the outcome of the M's season, here or else where. Goodbye. Just as simple as that. Would you rather have Joe Saunders?

OBF's picture

He pitched WORSE in ST than his results show at least in the games I saw it was line drive after line drive right at a fielder... so his 5 era was actually lucky... IMHO the 45 day contract WAS jackyz being nice... if it was me I would have cut wolf two weeks ago.... the last two weeks noes I Elias and Maurer have ALL been ahead of wolf and baker in my scouting book...

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