The Diamondbacks struck out with Randy Wolf, but they apparently were a hit with Jon Garland
in their second effort to sign him. According to multiple media reports, Garland and the D-backs have agreed to a one-year deal with a
mutual option for 2010.
Arizona had made Garland another offer earlier this winter, and he had rejected it. The same happened recently with Wolf, who passed on a one-year contract offer. The D-backs also courted Wolf after the 2006 season, before he signed a one-year, $7.5 million contract with the Dodgers, a figure Arizona did not want to reach because of injury concerns following Wolf's 2006 season in Philadelphia.
Wolf's 2007 deal with Los Angeles included an $8 million option with a $500,000 buyout. The Dodgers failed to exercise the option, but the sides came together on a $4.75 million contract in 2008. Before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline last summer, the Dodgers traded Wolf to Houston, where he went 6-2 with a 3.57 ERA in 12 starts.
According to FoxSports.com, Wolf turned down a three-year, $28.5 million
offer to return to Houston earlier this winter.
Garland figures to slot behind Brandon Webb and Dan Haren in the rotation, taking the departed Randy Johnson's spot ahead of Doug Davis and Max Scherzer.
Garland declined salary arbitration from the Angels after making $12 million last season despite the fact that would have made at least $9.6 million in arbitration, since players can receive at worst a 20 percent pay cut from the previous year. His deal with Arizona, according to ESPN.com, is for $6.25 million in 2009 and the option for 2010 is for $10 million. Should the D-backs not elect to pick up the option, they would have to pay a $2.5 million buyout. If Garland declines the option, Arizona would owe him $1 million.
Garland's groundball percentage of 49.9% was 4th highest in the American
League last year among qualifying pitchers. That propensity to induce
ground balls should help him to succeed in the hitter-friendly Chase Field
so long as the Diamondbacks' infield defense, which is bad on paper, can
play better this season.
Even if Garland does not pitch like the ace he was in the White Sox' 2005 Championship season, he has not failed to throw 190 innings in any of his seven years as a full-time starter. His solid, reliable innings will allow the Diamondbacks to take it easy on young phenom Max Scherzer's workload.
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