2012 in Review: Dan Wheeler

2012 WAR: -.4

2012 Salary: $900,000

$/WAR:- $2,250,000

2013 Contract Status: Minor-League Free Agent (~9.100 MLB Service Time)

You all may be throwing up your hands right now: why the heck am I writing about a guy the Indians outrighted back in the middle of May and who has pitched in Columbus since?

Why write about the most marginal player in the most marginal of places? How does Dan Wheeler have anything to do with how the Indians did in 2012, and why am I bringing him up now? That's a three-part question, and so it deserves a four-part answer.

Why write about the most marginal player in the most marginal of places?

Partly because I think the most marginal players are often the most interesting. The great players always get the stories, whether it's Derek Jeter, his hits and his gift baskets, or Josh Hamilton or Miguel Cabrera or Mike Trout and those obscure players in the National League. Heck, we have here at Let's Go Tribe a whole series dedicated to the Top 100 Indians, the cream of the crop of Cleveland players...and Casey Blake.

But in order for even the best teams to function, you need marginal players, guys that you see for a couple weeks, then are banished to AAA or even to minor-league free agency. Even on great teams there those role players or less-than-role players who soak up the odd innings here and there, and sometimes are placed in positions to win or lose a game. If not for one of those marginal players, the Indians don't get out of Boston with a split in the 2007 ALCS.

How does Dan Wheeler have anything to do with how the Indians did in 2012....?

Plenty. He was on the club for just six weeks, and he had um, no decisions, and um, one hold. I suppose if you squint he may have a hand in this loss, and possibly this loss. And of course, baseball being a team game, his 8.76 ERA will go a long way towards helping the Indians fend off the Twins for the league's worst pitching staff, with his last outing his biggest contribution.

...and why am I bringing him up now?

The smart-aleck answer would be, "because this is a 2012 in Review series, duh," but I'll try to explain this in a more formal and respectful way. Dan Wheeler is here because he pitched for the Indians in 2012, and given the team history, if we concentrated on just the good things that happened, we'd run out things to talk about very quickly. And if Dan Wheeler's stint with the Indians isn't written down, people might forget he pitched for them at all.

And besides, Wheeler isn't just some 28-year-old career minor-leaguer the Indians plucked out of obscurity. He's had a very long (and mostly successful) career as a reliever, especially with the Astros during their playoff runs in the mid-aughts. In 2005 and 2006, you could make a case that he was the best reliever in baseball.

But most good relievers eventually fade away, first into sixth and seventh inning roles, then into long relief, and finally into the minors and then retirement. But that's one possible career arc. There's also been arcs where relievers stink for a year, then sign a minor-league deal and work their way back into success with another. It's far too early to write off Dan Wheeler just yet, especially since he's done a good job in Columbus and will undoubtedly get an invite to spring training from somebody. And if he is successful somewhere, someone will wonder why the heck he only got into a small number of game with the Indians in 2012.

But for our purposes, the Dan Wheeler era came and went without much notice.

Dan Wheeler Career Stats

Year Age Tm Lg ERA G GS GF SV IP H R ER HR BB SO BF ERA+ H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
1997 19 HDV A- 3.00 15 15 0 0 84.0 75 38 28 2 17 81 351 8.0 0.2 1.8 8.7 4.76
1998 20 TBD-min A 4.43 29 29 0 0 181.0 206 96 89 16 29 136 763 10.2 0.8 1.4 6.8 4.69
1999 21 TBD-min AAA,AA 4.23 23 23 0 0 140.1 159 86 66 23 33 111 605 10.2 1.5 2.1 7.1 3.36
1999 21 TBD AL 5.87 6 6 0 0 30.2 35 20 20 7 13 32 136 85 10.3 2.1 3.8 9.4 2.46
2000 22 TBD-min AAA 5.63 26 26 0 0 150.1 183 109 94 35 42 91 668 11.0 2.1 2.5 5.4 2.17
2000 22 TBD AL 5.48 11 2 6 0 23.0 29 14 14 2 11 17 111 91 11.3 0.8 4.3 6.7 1.55
2001 23 TBD-min AAA,AA 4.76 21 13 2 0 81.1 87 56 43 13 17 51 352 9.6 1.4 1.9 5.6 3.00
2001 23 TBD AL 8.66 13 0 3 0 17.2 30 17 17 3 5 12 87 52 15.3 1.5 2.5 6.1 2.40
2002 24 ATL-min AAA 4.65 27 25 0 0 155.0 163 87 80 23 42 110 669 9.5 1.3 2.4 6.4 2.62
2003 25 NYM-min AAA 3.94 22 5 10 4 45.2 48 20 20 4 16 44 199 9.5 0.8 3.2 8.7 2.75
2003 25 NYM NL 3.71 35 0 10 2 51.0 49 23 21 6 17 35 215 114 8.6 1.1 3.0 6.2 2.06
2004 26 NYM-min AAA 2.45 5 0 1 0 7.1 8 2 2 0 2 10 32 9.8 0.0 2.5 12.3 5.00
2004 26 TOT NL 4.29 46 1 11 0 65.0 76 33 31 10 20 55 287 101 10.5 1.4 2.8 7.6 2.75
2004 26 NYM NL 4.80 32 1 7 0 50.2 65 29 27 9 17 46 232 90 11.5 1.6 3.0 8.2 2.71
2004 26 HOU NL 2.51 14 0 4 0 14.1 11 4 4 1 3 9 55 176 6.9 0.6 1.9 5.7 3.00
2005 27 HOU NL 2.21 71 0 20 3 73.1 53 18 18 7 19 69 288 192 6.5 0.9 2.3 8.5 3.63
2006 28 HOU NL 2.52 75 0 25 9 71.1 58 22 20 5 24 68 295 177 7.3 0.6 3.0 8.6 2.83
2007 29 TOT MLB 5.30 70 0 29 11 74.2 74 48 44 11 23 82 321 85 8.9 1.3 2.8 9.9 3.57
2007 29 HOU NL 5.07 45 0 25 11 49.2 46 28 28 8 13 56 205 88 8.3 1.4 2.4 10.1 4.31
2007 29 TBD AL 5.76 25 0 4 0 25.0 28 20 16 3 10 26 116 79 10.1 1.1 3.6 9.4 2.60
2008 30 TBR AL 3.12 70 0 26 13 66.1 44 25 23 10 22 53 264 142 6.0 1.4 3.0 7.2 2.41
2009 31 TBR AL 3.28 69 0 20 2 57.2 41 22 21 11 9 45 219 133 6.4 1.7 1.4 7.0 5.00
2010 32 TBR AL 3.35 64 0 13 3 48.1 36 20 18 7 16 46 195 117 6.7 1.3 3.0 8.6 2.88
2011 33 BOS-min AAA 1.93 3 0 2 0 4.2 3 1 1 1 2 7 19 5.8 1.9 3.9 13.5 3.50
2011 33 BOS AL 4.38 47 0 22 0 49.1 47 24 24 7 8 39 201 100 8.6 1.3 1.5 7.1 4.88
2012 34 CLE-min AAA 2.32 36 0 14 5 42.2 38 14 11 4 13 30 180 8.0 0.8 2.7 6.3 2.31
2012 34 CLE AL 8.76 12 0 2 0 12.1 17 12 12 3 7 2 61 46 12.4 2.2 5.1 1.5 0.29
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/20/2012.

Dan Wheeler 2012 Game Log

Rk Date Tm Opp Rslt Inngs Dec DR IP H ER BB SO HR ERA BF Pit Str WPA Entered Exited
1 Apr 7 CLE TOR L,4-7 12-GF(12) 99 0.2 1 0 1 0 0 0.00 4 19 9 -0.014 12t 1-- 1 out d3 12t end d 4
2 Apr 9 CLE CHW L,2-4 8-8 1 1.0 1 0 1 0 0 0.00 5 24 11 0.013 8t --- 0 out d3 8t 3 out d3
3 Apr 11 CLE CHW L,6-10 6-6 1 0.1 2 3 1 0 1 13.50 4 22 10 -0.206 6t --- 0 out d1 6t 1-- 1 out d3
4 Apr 15 CLE KCR W,13-7 6-7 3 1.1 0 0 0 0 0 8.10 4 12 9 0.030 6b 1-- 2 out a5 7b 3 out a5
5 Apr 18 CLE SEA L,1-4 8-GF(8) 2 1.0 0 0 0 1 0 6.23 3 17 11 0.005 8b --- 0 out d3 8b end d 3
6 Apr 21 CLE OAK W,5-1 6-6 H(1) 2 0.2 1 0 0 0 0 5.40 3 19 11 0.007 6b --3 1 out a2 6b 3 out a1
7 Apr 25 CLE KCR L,2-8 7-7 3 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 4.50 4 13 9 0.018 7t --- 0 out d3 7t 3 out d3
8 Apr 26 CLE KCR L,2-4 5-6 0 1.1 1 0 1 1 0 3.68 6 24 16 -0.044 5t 12- 2 out d2 6t 3 out d3
May Tm Opp Rslt Inngs Dec DR IP H ER BB SO HR ERA BF Pit Str WPA Entered Exited
9 May 3 CLE CHW W,7-5 9-9 6 0.1 2 2 0 0 1 5.87 3 11 6 -0.028 9b --- 0 out a4 9b --- 1 out a2
10 May 8 CLE CHW L,3-5 7-8 4 2.0 2 1 1 0 0 5.59 9 23 12 -0.045 7t --- 0 out d2 8t 3 out d3
11 May 11 CLE BOS L,5-7 5-6 2 1.2 1 0 1 0 0 4.76 7 37 19 0.001 5b 1-3 1 out d5 6b 3 out d6
12 May 13 CLE BOS L,1-12 7-7 1 1.0 5 6 1 0 1 8.76 9 32 20 -0.015 7b --- 0 out d5 7b 3 out d11
CLE 12.1 17 12 7 2 3 8.76 61
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/20/2012.
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