Randy Wolf: LA Dodger Management's Secret Strategy or Coming Catastrophe?

Kate SpenceContributor IDecember 7, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 19:  Starting pitcher Randy Wolf #43 of the Los Angeles Dodgers is taken out of the game by manager Joe Torre #6 in the bottom of the sixth inning against of the Philadelphia Phillies in Game Four of the NLCS during the 2009 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park on October 19, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Are the Los Angeles Dodgers in trouble?

Does general manager Ned Colletti have a plan?

Dodgers fans found no solace amid the rumors of the ballclub's financial trouble when starting pitcher Randy Wolf, arguably the team's most consistent starter, was not offered arbitration earlier this week.

It begs the question: If financial woes were not the determining factor in this decision, what was?

Let's look at the facts: The Dodgers were staring down the barrel at nine arbitration-eligible players and 13 free agents. Included in the arbitration-eligible category are Andre Ethier, James Loney, Matt Kemp, Jonathan Broxton, Chad Billingsley, and Russell Martin—aka the crux of the Dodger crew.

Keeping the family together is going to be expensive.

Perhaps Colletti is simply waiting for the dust to settle on those deals so that insufficient funds will not hinder the ballclub's ability to keep their core players for the long-term.

Two thoughts:

First, the implications for not offering Wolf arbitration does not necessarily entail Wolf wearing another team's uniform in the spring. Wolf makes no secret of the fact that he enjoys playing for Los Angeles and is open to returning, and Colletti maintains the Dodgers' interest in re-signing him.

Secondly, the Dodgers may be looking for more than arbitration can offer.

Yes, arbitration has the upside of being a short-term commitment, which generally benefits the ballclub, especially when dealing with a pitcher over the age of 30.

It's also expensive. Potentially more expensive than what a one-year contract is worth, given the pay raises due for arbitration-eligible players.

One thing seems to be certain, is if you believe Colletti's assertions that the Dodgers want Wolf back: They are banking on the assumption that this Canoga Park-native wants to return, and will stick around for an offer from his Boys in Blue.