Chicago Cubs beat writer Carrie Muskat took to her mailbox recently, and offered up, among other things, a couple interesting pieces of information regarding the 2011 Cubs’ bullpen. Specifically, she addressed the possible return of Kerry Wood, and the role of Andrew Cashner.

Of seeing Wood as a Cub in 2011, Muskat was dismissive.

Wood’s contract includes a club option of $11 million. That’s not cheap. As much as the Cubs would like another veteran pitcher in the bullpen, he’s not on their radar. cubs.com.

It’s surprising to hear, a season after the Cubs struggled mightily to bridge the gap in the late innings to Carlos Marmol, that the Cubs aren’t interested in Wood. Despite a rocky start to the season in Cleveland, Wood was brilliant after a mid-season trade to the Yankees – his ERA+? A hilarious 625.

Of course, when taken together with his seasons in Cleveland, it’s hard to imagine Wood getting a huge contract. You’d have to believe he’d see something like two years, and $10 million as his ceiling. Then again, the Cubs extended John Grabow for two years, and $7.5 million, so I guess you never know.

As for Andrew Cashner – who will almost certainly be the subject of a great deal of debate this Winter – Muskat sees him remaining in the bullpen, rather than returning to a starting role.

Cashner was used as a starter in the Minor Leagues, but I think he’s staying in the bullpen for now, using his 99 mph fastball and improving offspeed stuff to set up Carlos Marmol.

While the move would be understandable – in a late inning role in September, his ERA was 1.80, and his K/9 was over 10 (though the WHIP was 1.40, we’ll try to keep it positive) – it is natural to question whether Cashner would be of more value to the Cubs as a starter.

In general, a good starter is worth quite a bit more than a good reliever. But perhaps Cashner simply pitches better out of the pen, when he can let it all fly. We may never know.

  • art

    Hank has a problem with ex Cubs. that’s why Tuesday he really did say bye, bye to Sandberg, and that’s why he should be fired.

    I’d bring back Wood and make Cashner a starter.

    you need a stopper and he’ll be a good one someday if not 2011.

    I’d trade for a top flight SS prospect or bring up your best defensive SS and move Castro to 2B.

    Castro will be a star and could be good at SS or 2B if he can pick up the easy/routine grounders. in a WS you want sure hands at SS/2B.

    he could also be a gold glove in CF, he has speed, range, arm, plays hard, wouldn’t have to worry about ground balls.

    • BT

      Who is Hank?

      • Bric

        I had to think about it for a minute, too, but it’s a nickname for Jim Hendry (apparently the D is silent).

  • BT

    Ah. Then I guess I’m wondering

    a: what evidence we have that “Hank” doesn’t like ex-Cubs (someone should really tell Maddux that, by the way)

    b: With the myriad reasons why a rational person might argue that Hendry should be fired, why one would argue that “He doesn’t like ex-Cubs” is THE reason the Cubs should get rid of him.

    • KB

      “b: With the myriad reasons why a rational person might argue that Hendry should be fired, why one would argue that “He doesn’t like ex-Cubs” is THE reason the Cubs should get rid of him.”

      It’s just one more drop in the ocean.