Wade defends pursuit of Wolf, Looper

Wade defends pursuit of Wolf, Looper

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Hoping to sign one of the last remaining veteran starting pitchers on the free-agent market this offseason, Astros general manager Ed Wade recently made what he categorized as "11th-hour" offers to right-hander Braden Looper and lefty Randy Wolf.

The Astros lost out on both, as the Dodgers signed Wolf for $5 million plus performance bonuses and Looper signed with the Brewers on a one-year deal worth $4.75 million with an option for 2010 worth $6 million. According to Wade, the Astros were in the running for both until the very end.

Wade said he offered Wolf a one-year deal with a mutual option that would allow Wolf to return to the free-agent market next offseason if he so desired.

"What he ended up getting from the Dodgers was a cleaner deal for him," Wade said of Wolf, adding that the geographical element probably helped the Dodgers as well, as Wolf lives year-round in Los Angeles.

"We didn't end up at the levels on either Wolf or Looper that they agreed to, but they were offers that were substantial enough that they would have entailed us having to free up payroll in some way," Wade said.

The Astros' payroll is expected to be $107 million on Opening Day, so had Wade been successful with either Looper or Wade, someone else would've had to go, likely via a trade. With Looper and Wolf off the table, it's unlikely the Astros will pursue any of the free agents still available.

Elsewhere on the free-agent front, reports have recently surfaced that the Astros made a bid for catcher Ivan Rodriguez. Not so, Wade said.

"We haven't had a conversation involving Pudge in several weeks and have never made a formal proposal," Wade said.

Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.