Kerry Wood’s 2011 season ended – as the Chicago Cubs’ season did – unceremoniously. He tore the meniscus in his left knee late in the season, and underwent surgery in September.

But was that also the end of his career?

Wood, 34, who returned to the Cubs on a one-year deal before the season after a couple year sojourn in Cleveland and New York, has openly said that he’ll either pitch for the Chicago Cubs in 2012, or he’ll retire. Soon after the new President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein was introduced, Wood guessed that he would be having a conversation about that Cubs-or-bust decision soon.

According to a Chicago Tribune source, those conversations have already started. And, according to the same source, Wood is expected to return to the Cubs in 2012.

If Wood is willing to come back on a deal similar to the one-year, $1.5 million sweetheart contract he signed with the Cubs in 2011, and assuming his knee is recovering as expected, there’s little reason the Cubs would turn him down. Wood was effective for most of the year in 2011, throwing 55 innings with a 3.35 ERA and a 1.294 WHIP. He struck out 57.

Wood is also a mentor for a number of the younger pitchers on staff, and can teach them not only how to handle themselves amidst the pressure of Chicago, but can also teach them a thing or two about throwing the ball (for example, he can show them the secret to Mariano Rivera’s cutter, which Wood, himself, learned from Rivera in his short time in New York – very sneaky, Woody).

Whether Wood throws another pitch for the Cubs or not, he’s been assured of a future role with the organization for as long as he wants it.

  • Polar Bear

    I hope this happens. Much like your picture shows, I had the chance to meet Kerry Wood at Wrigley Field this year before a game and he was very gracious with his time. Especially, with the kids. I know this team is moving in the right direction as far as the whole attitude change but, if he’s willing to give them a deal, they should take it. Somethings are just a good fit and Wood with the Cubs (as long as he’s healthy) is one of them.

  • fearbobafett

    I am not sure he takes a 100% hometown deal like last year, but i could easily see a low base pay with a ton of incentives to make it a win win for both sides. If he hits those targets it is only a bonus for the Cubs becuase it meant he stayed healthy and was pitching well.

  • ForeverACub

    Healthy? He missed a month nearly B/C of a blister….

  • fearbobafett

    Which is eactly why you don’t pay him a higher base salary.

  • cubbiesfan18

    Why would you bring him back he didn’t pitch well…

    • Bails17

      A 3.35 ERA and 1.25 WHIP is not pitching well???  He pitched well enough to be brought back for around 2 mil for sure.

    • hansman1982

      please learn to use a stat gathering website

      Kerry had an ERA+ of 117 which means he was 17% better than average when factoring in the park.

      The only one of his peripheral stats that worsened last year were his hits per 9 innings which were .8 higher than his career average.  So PLEASE before you say he didn’t pitch well, consult the stats.  He is a great setup/middle reliever

  • Katie

    He’s a class act and I’d be happy to have him back in any capacity!

  • cubbiesfan18

    Ya he did great with the yankees but did nothing with the cubbies….

    • Keith

      Ummmm … cubbiesfan18, he didn’t pitch for the Yankees this past season

  • cubbiesfan18

    Ok cool ill keep that in mind hansman1982

  • Brian

    I really hope that the Cubs are smart enough to make this happen. Not only is Kerry a great guy, he is a great person to have teaching the young guys in the pen how to handle themselves. I had the opportunity to meet/talk to Kerry one night during a game against the Reds. I had seats 1 row behind the bullpen and was talking with him almost the whole game. He’s always been one of my favorite Cubs players.

  • jim

    The CUBS “should” give KERRY WOOD the chance
    to pitch for them this coming season. The only question
    I have is his health. Besides, it wouldn’t cost the CUBS
    a lot of money to keep him. He IS a great guy & a great
    mentor as well. GO CUBS!

  • BFM

    KW is a class act! Hope he comes back for a “farewell” tour.
    Love to see him end his great career in Cubbie Blue!
    Baseball needs more guys like Kerry Wood!
    Great pitcher and a great person!

  • Cubbies4Life

    Value should be placed on Kerry Wood’s class, grace, experience, and mentoring skills. Not to mention that he doesn’t suck! If he doesn’t cost the Cubs zillions of $$$ next season, and he continues to be a respectable middle reliever, I see no reason not to keep him on.

  • 1CubFanInPA

    Theo definitely needs to swing some kind of a deal to keep ‘Kid K’ in uniform in 2012. He means too much to this ballclub and the fanbase because I don’t think anyone can argue that he is certainly this generation’s “Mr. Cub”.

  • Ashley

    I hope Kerry comes back he was always one of my favorite players and a class act. Was very sad when he left the Cubs before, he just doesn’t look good in anything but Cubbie Blue!