A new concept: Wolf chooses Orioles because he wants to win

I'm not sure when was the last time the words were uttered by a free agent baseball player about Baltimore -- probably 15 years or so ago.

Veteran left-hander Randy Wolf, who agreed to terms with the Orioles on Thursday and will be activated and available to pitch for the club Friday in New York, seemed sincere when he said it Thursday just inside the home clubhouse.

"With the teams that I talked to, I was excited with the Orioles' possibilities of winning," Wolf said Thursday afternoon in the Orioles' clubhouse.

Yes, a free agent who is owed only the prorated league minimum -- so money was not a consideration -- chose the Orioles because he wants to win now.

Imagine that.

Wolf, 36, was cut by the Milwaukee Brewers last week after going 3-10 with a 5.69 ERA in 25 games this season. He said several teams were interested in him. He said he could have started for a couple -- and that was a consideration because he has started all but five times in 371 career games over 14 seasons.

But, ultimately, Wolf wanted to get back to the playoffs. And that's why he decided to sign with the Orioles.

"There was some places to start, and guaranteed to start, but you get to be 36 years old and in the past two of three years you go to the playoffs," said Wolf who pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the postseason in 2009 and for the Brewers in the 2011 playoffs. "I know what it is like to be in September when you are in it. It's a lot of fun. It makes coming to the park every day fun. It makes every game important. And I felt with Baltimore and their interest, I thought it would be a good fit."

Wolf said the Orioles were frank with him. He's being viewed as a reliever. If a spot in the rotation opens up, then he could be an option. But no promises; likely no starts. He's a reliever here, and he's OK with that.

"They were upfront with me from the beginning; they were honest with me about my role," Wolf said. "And, for me, at this point of the year, I am willing to do anything."

He said getting released -- on his 36th birthday, in fact -- was "kind of a tough pill to swallow." But now he is in a pennant race again. And this time with a club that hasn't seen a postseason push since 1997.

"This is an exciting young team. A lot of talent," he said. "And to be right there in the thick of things, in the AL East and right there in the wild card, it's exciting."