Todd Wellemeyer: The Forgotten Free Agent

Josh LevittSenior Analyst IDecember 28, 2009

NEW YORK - JUNE 22:  Todd Wellemeyer #37 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the New York Mets on June 22, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Over the next couple of days, Jorge Says No! will be highlighting some of the forgotten free agents. You know, the guys that aren't getting much publicity or action on the open market even though they could have a lot to bring to the table.

First up, Todd Wellemeyer.

For most of his career, Todd Wellemeyer was a average relief pitcher with great stuff and limited success in the major leagues. But in 2007, the Cardinals experimented with Wellemeyer in the starting rotation and by 2008, Wellemeyer was a full-time member of the Cardinals starting rotation.

Over the course of the 2008 regular season, Wellemeyer was one of the Cardinals' best starting pitchers, as he produced 13 wins, a 3.71 ERA, a 1.25 WHIP, and an impressive (considering his past history) 2.9 BB/9. All in all, it was a career season for Wellemeyer, and it really put him on the map.

However, Wellemeyer's 2009 season was a disaster.

Wellemeyer was much more hittable in 2009, and even though he only pitched 122 innings, he gave up nearly as many hits in 2009 as he did in 2008 when he threw 191 innings.

His walk rate shot up, his strike out rate declined, and his WHIP skyrocketed to a destitute 1.77. By the end of the season, Wellemeyer had pitched himself out of the rotation, and all the progress that he made in 2008 seemed to be lost.

So where does that leave Wellemeyer now?

Well, he is just 31 years old, but aside from his 2008 season, Wellemeyer has never put together a consistently productive season. Nevertheless, I would anticipate that interest in Wellemeyer will heat up after the New Year and that there will be teams going after him hoping that he recaptures his 2008 magic on a low cost one-year deal.

Teams such as the Pirates, Mariners, Tigers, Nationals, and Padres all would seem to be logical fits. If Wellemeyer can put together another 2008-esque season, then he will be in position to land a more lucrative contract next winter.