I've been playing the latest episodic game series The Wolf Among Us from Telltale Games over the past several weeks. Much like their take on The Walking Dead, it's dark and brutal, full of outstanding voice acting and art design. It isn't for gamers who like adventure, but if you're into being along for part of some awesome storytelling, it's worth checking out. And if you missed the first season of The Walking Dead, that's a must play too, even if you're burned out on the zombie genre like I am.
This terrible introduction is because the Mariners just signed Randy Wolf to a minor league deal. Wolf has been in the majors for approximately six decades, yet he's somehow managed to trick science into remaining 37 years old for the last two of them. He missed all of 2013 because his elbow made of sand and dust finally disintegrated, and now he's back and ready to make a comeback attempt with the Mariners. The Mariners see Wolf as a bullpen option according to Jon Heyman, but it's clearly a long shot.
The Mariners were recently seen sniffing around James Russell and Jeff Samardzija, though there's barely any legs to it. Their pursuit of a LOOGY (Russell) is at least somewhat on record. Maybe they envision Wolf moving into a situational lefty/mop-up role like the one Lucas Luetge has been poorly miscast into for the past year. While Luetge has been adequate at putting away lefties, he's seen his ERA skyrocket when he's forced to face a bunch of righties. It's possible Wolf could provide an upgrade in that role if healthy.
Even when Wolf has had his health, he's been Captain Mediocre, though he semi-recently managed to put together two solid campaigns in 2009 and 2011 with LA and Milwaukee. For a long time, Wolf was the quintessential back-end rotation guy in the majors, and he was paid handsomely for it. He has a career ERA+ of exactly 100, and he's managed to make over $68 million through his career by being unremarkably average.
The Mariners have numerous internal options that are more appealing than Wolf to crack the 25-man roster (most notably Erasmo Ramirez) but it never hurts to throw bodies onto the spring training pile to see what sticks. Randy Wolf has never been great, but he used to be average and occasionally better than that. A career renaissance isn't likely to happen at age 37, but it's worth it for the cost of a plane ticket.
The team also inked Zach Miner to a free deal, but he's a whole lot less interesting. You may remember Miner from his days as a swingman/mop-up reliever with the Tigers World Series campaign in 2006. After being out of the league from 2009, he returned in 2013 to post a 1.74 WHIP with Philadelphia, striking out 20 batters to go along with 17 walks in 28.2 innings. He wasn't much better in the minors, so there's nothing to expect here but organizational depth for the time being.
While we all wait for the Mariners to make their big moves, there will be more of this kind of stuff. Noodles, wall. Bodies, pile. Back to hand-wringing over Nelson Cruz.