Update: According to ESPN, Wells has signed with LA and will start Sunday.
Well, according to the Newark Star-Ledger and backed up by Tony Jackson’s LA Times blog, David Wells might sign with the Dodgers in time to start Sunday night’s ESPN game in New York vs. the Mets. And don’t you know, now that we live in the future, a rumor confirmed by two separate blogs is concrete evidence.
The obvious question, of course, is: is this a good thing or a bad thing? Let’s find out.
Right off the bat, Wells was pretty terrible this year. A 5.54 ERA, a 74 ERA+, a 1.59 WHIP, all in the spacious confines of DogFood Park. Not pretty. Much like David Wells himself. This was bad enough to get him flat-out cut by the Padres a few weeks ago, because in their opinion, not having David Wells pitch for them was better for their division chances than having David Wells pitch for them.
Plus, he might not be cheap. According to Jackson, this would cost about $80,000 in salary, which is not a big deal. But his Padres deal called for $176,471 for each start, based on his performance incentives. While that contract is no longer in effect, it’s rumored that he might insist upon having those incentives restored in order to play. On top of that, he’s still got a 7-game suspension coming his way at some point in September.
So let’s recap: 1) ineffective this year. 2) always in the shape of a Miller Lite World Champion. 3) May cost a lot of money. 4) Will be lost to a suspension.
Why, then, is the official position of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness that this is a good idea?
Quite simple. David Wells might be old, broken-down, and expensive, but there is one stat he’s off the charts on – his NBT ranking is 112,073%! The NBT, of course, is “Not Brett Tomko”. If Wells is pitching for the Blue on Sunday night, that means Brett Tomko is not pitching for the Blue on Sunday night. Considering that at this point, I’d take Dave Dravecky over Tomko (what, too soon?), this is a huge bonus.
As for the rest of it? Well, the money – I don’t care. As far as I’m concerned, contracts only matter in terms of what it does to your flexibility. Juan Pierre’s contract stinks because having $45 million earmarked for a mediocre centerfielder both prevents us from upgrading in center and might prevent us from spending to upgrade other areas. $1 million or less for David Wells, with no responsibility following this season, is not a big deal to me. Perhaps even more importantly – it’s just money. The Dodgers won’t have to trade any players to get him.
And the mediocre performance? Sure, I can’t argue that. He’s been bad. But here’s the thing: what was bad enough to get David Wells booted out of San Diego is still better than Brett Tomko this year. Wells’ ERA isn’t good at 5.54, but it’s still better than Tomko’s 5.80. So I’m more inclined that a crappy pitcher with a history of success (17 seasons with an ERA+ of 99 or above, including 10 in a row up until this year) can turn it around with a change of scenery than can a crappy pitcher with very little success (2 career seasons out of 11 with an ERA+ of 99 or above, with 2007 being his worst by far) that has had the hometown fans completely turn on him.
David Wells isn’t good. Brett Tomko is worse. Let’s do it. Besides, how can you not like a man who stole Babe Ruth’s actual hat and wore it during a game?
- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness