A Wolf on the West Coast

Randy Wolf, a lefty pitcher of some repute, albeit coming back from an injury, seemingly wants to return to his southern California roots so much, he is more than willing to take an incentive loaded one year contract with the Dodgers. Signing Wolf, who has multi year offers elsewhere (including his Phillies and the Yankees) would be a major coup for the lefty-less Dodgers and GM Ned Colletti.

The deal is said to be for less than Nomar Garciaparra got last year, a refreshing breath of fresh air when one year wonders and one tool players are getting a good piece of the national mint to bring their limited tools to cities that will, nonetheless, continue to keep losing.

If Wolf does in fact sign, he will be among the very top projects for new health and fitness guru Stan Conte. The first Conte job will not be to mishandle Wolf like his predecessors just mangled and perhaps destroyed Eric Gagne.

Lest you think we included the highly popular trainer Matt Wilson among the manglers, we would like to state he should be held blameless in l'affaire Gagne. Put the blame where it lies, with the staff doctors and the pitching coaches.

Even (and if) Wolf signs, there is more progress to be made in the off season. A hitter and a pitcher would do nicely.

There are hitters in Florida, as we have oft mentioned. We believe the prime young hitter in all of baseball in Miguel Cabrera down in Miami and Carl Crawford over in Tampa isn't far behind. With free agent asking prices like something out of Alice in Wonderland or The Marx Brothers at the Opera, the trading route seems more sane, if there is anything sane in baseball.

The Dodgers division opponents stole lefty Dick Davis from Milwaukee for catcher Johnny Estrada, a swap that helped both clubs and drove neither to the brink of bankruptcy. Who's to say Davis in that much less a top notch lefty than say Barry Zito.

The Dodgers are making what looks like progress. They got Garciaparra back with his promise to play wherever they want him. Does anyone doubt the Dodgers would be significantly better off with Nomar back at 3rd and James Loney at first? Are they smart enough to do this? Now there is the question.

The Dodgers got a leadoff hitter who can steal 50 bases and get 200 hits a season. They ain't pretty hits, squibbers, choppers and such, but they are hits. The risk is whether Juan Pierre will subtract more from defence with his no arm arm than he adds with his squibbers.

And now apparently Wolf. There's always a risk with a pitcher coming back from surgery, as Wolf is, but he willing to share the risk, a nice touch these days.

Greg Maddux is a Hall of Famer. Randy Wolf is not. But who would you rather have right now at this given moment in time. You'd be surprised how many baseballer would say Wolf in a heartbeat, not even considering length of contract and amount of contract, both decidedly in Wolf''s favor.

Back to the aforementioned long time organization trainer Matt Wilson, says here he got a bum deal. He was back with the Class A Vero Beach Dodgers in the late 1980s and had someplace between 15 and 20 years in the organization.

GM Colletti want his man Conte in full charge, with no considerations of long term loyalty, and the blameless Wilson was suddenly out in the cold.

It would not have happened under the Peter O'Malley regime, another indication that the Dodgers ain't like the old time Dodgers anymore. One of the things the trainers birddog is strange pills in the clubhouse.

There have been few if any in the Dodgers clubhouse. The same can not be said of the Giants clubhouse, from which the new man Conte has arrived.

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