Yesterday, rumors started swirling that Kerry Wood, who has previously suggested that he’d either retire or pitch for the Chicago Cubs in 2012, was not only far from a deal with the Cubs, but was talking with multiple clubs.

Um. What?

Worse, Bruce Levine reported that the Cubs and Wood are having trouble agreeing on the salary Wood should be paid and the appropriate length of a contract. Jerry Crasnick added that the Phillies, who need a setup man, are pursuing Wood.

Wood, himself, tweeted that he’s not considering retirement, and “[I h]ope to know where I will be playing, by the end of this week,” which squares with a suggestion he made on a TV appearance last night that he’d be deciding on a team by Friday. Wood added on Twitter, ominously, that “[a]s of now, it’s looking like I’m not going to be at the Convention,” which starts on Friday.

Cause for concern? Negotiating tactic? Ploy to generate some excitement?

Taking it all in, it seems more likely that Wood is receiving feelers from other teams – like the Phillies – because he hasn’t yet re-signed with the Cubs. And, with Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer disinclined to “pay for past performance,” it’s possible that Wood is receiving better offers from other teams than he’s receiving from the Cubs. Armed with those offers, Wood could understandably be trying to get more money/years out of the Cubs. He may not like what he’s hearing.

But that doesn’t mean Wood is genuinely considering signing with another team. It’s just as plausible that the Cubs and Wood are close to a deal, but simply need to clear out a 40-man roster spot for him before the deal can be finalized. I have a hard time believing that Epstein and Hoyer don’t appreciate the risk associated with letting Wood sign with another team – he’s a good reliever, and that’s always useful, but let’s be clear: much of Kerry’s value is as a fan favorite. In an environment where more casual fans are going to need something to attach to in 2012, letting Kerry go could be a significant financial mistake. Paying for “future performance” does’t always just mean performance on the field.

And, given the impending Cubs Convention, it seems likely that both sides would like to finalize something this week so that Wood can be a “Cub” at the “Cubs Convention.”

Yes, the Cubs could sign Wood today and dump a superfluous pitcher off of the 40-man. But, because the Cubs have several irons in the trade fire (Garza, Byrd, Soriano), they might as well wait to see if a 40-man spot is opened up organically this week before dumping a player.

Whatever the case, I still expect Wood to be a Cub come Spring Training.

  • Martin

    As someone attending “Woody’s Winter Warm Up” this Friday, it might make it pretty awkward if he signs elsewhere this week, considering Epstein is supposed to be there.

  • Bren

    Anyone else kind of hope he doesnt come back? He’s played the game the right way wherever he’s been, Id like to see him win one, so for his sake, I hope he goes elsewhere.

  • BFiddy

    I hope we keep Kerry and that we contend again before he retires.  He deserves it…

  • Eric

    Theo, Jed, boys, I FEEL ya man.  I feel ya for paying for future performance.  I mean I can see not giving guys like Dempster 2 years 18 million.  But this is KERRY WOOD.  Kid K, today’s “Mr. Cub”.  And it’s only like a few million, it’s not even gonna approach the baseball budget or stop you from building from within.  SIGN OUR WOODIE!

  • http://bleachernation ferris

    is it realistc to think the cubs ship marlon byrd to the red sox along w/2mil for 2 prospects making the money we send and one of the ptbnl bostons chosing to see the end of this theo compensation deal over with?

    also id like to add the importance of kerry wood not just as a 7-8-9 ininng pitcher but in the community and w/the team getting such an overhaul hes a fan favorite and keeping him also says to fans were not throwing in the towel….does anyone think a 2 yr 6-7m dollar deal would be fair to both?….i do…jmo

    • Brett

      Certainly possible, yes.

    • cubsnivy56

      I like that idea.

  • Stephen

    I have to say, it is a no brainer to sign Kerry to a 2 year deal and be done with it. This team HAS NO IDENTITY. Yes, we are rebuliding, but not every butt that might be sitting in a Wrigley seat this year is that die hard. Even if his role would be out of the pen, who else do we have to cling too. Soriano? Nah. Dempster, maybe. Castro? Nah. Garza? TBA.
    Sign Woody and lets get this 2012 season over with.

  • Canadian Cubs Fan

    I’m torn on this one, and agree with both Bren & Eric. It’s not right that a weinie like Theriot leaves and wins a World Series, while a class guy with actual talent like Wood keeps taking bullets. On the other hand, he belongs here, and with the crapload of money that has already come off the books, and considering the incredible good faith and dedication he showed the organization last year, they need to pry open their wallets a bit. 2 years, 5 or 6 million should get it done.

  • sam

    Kerry Wood: a role model, a good pitcher a good mentor and a Chicago Icon wants to remain a CuB , even most worship rebuilders must admit that this man is a plus for the team .
    I dont think Kerry Wood is asking the Cubs for a ton of money . What possible arguments can the lil theo backer say about this Situation.

    I hope the Cubs sign wood he can still help this team forward with his arm his mind and his character.

    • Brian

      Kerry Wood has made a ton of money already from the Cubs, sitting on the sidelines with injuries. Rebuilding and cultural change means, moving on without the Kerry Wood’s, 7th inning stretch garbage, the Soriano’s, Zambrano’s, endless list. So, I for one hopes Epstein and Hoyer play this out to the Cubs benefit.

  • cls

    I agree with the posters above, that we should keep Kerry, regardless of paying for past performance. His salary certainly won’t kill any of our long term plans, and with all the young guys we are bringing in, having a long time Cub veteran like him in the locker room will be a GREAT influence, and I would love to have Kerry show the young guys what the real “Cub way” is. Baseball by and large isn’t as big a sport where “locker room guys” are as important, but in this case, I think it is the right move. Hope it happens.

  • Wilbur

    There is an argument on org development arena that when changing a corporate culture from a failed organization to a new and hopefully more successful one you purge the org of all vestiges of the old. It may be mostly salary with Kerry, but could part of the new “Cub way” be that is done totally by new Cubs?

    Thinking is you upset a lot of folks on the short term, but you also get their attention and deliver a message on how things will be in the future. Getting everyone focused on the new direction then contributes to org success. Could Theo and Jed be delivering a message to both fans and players on how they play hardball?

    • aCubsfan

      Wilbur makes a very valid point. If you are rebuilding and attempting to create a new culture it doesn’t make any sense to bring back a supposed ‘icon’ that represents nothing but futility. While Kerry Wood might be a nice guy and all, he is symptomatic of what’s wrong with the Cubs. During his 14 yr career Wood has been on the DL 16 times, so while he might have some good stats and character, he’s not worth the money he is requesting. Never has been.

  • auggie1955

    I have my doubts about Wood re-signing with the Cubs. In the short time that Theo has been here, we have learned that he is very good about putting up a front about what he truly intends to do. Wood does not fit the mold. If Theo truly wanted him, he would have re-signed him by now.

  • Wilbur

    There is an argument in org development arena that when changing a corporate culture from a failed organization to a new and hopefully more successful one you purge the org of all vestiges of the old. It may be mostly salary with Kerry, but could part of the new “Cub way” be that is done totally by new Cubs?

    Thinking is you upset a lot of folks on the short term, but you also get their attention and deliver a message on how things will be in the future. Getting everyone focused on the new direction then contributes to org success. Could Theo and Jed be delivering a message to both fans and players on how they play hardball?

    • Wilbur

      Sorry for double post, was trying to edit ….

    • JB88

      I suppose anything is possible, but if so, why retain Bush, Wilkens, and Fleita? The reality is that I think that Epstein is less interested in a full-scale purge but more of a change of the organizational structure and methodology toward building. IOW, it isn’t necessary to purge all former pieces of the unsuccessful structure if you believe that the problem was how it was constructed, not that every piece of the build was flawed.

      I work with products a lot, so if I encounter a defective product, I don’t counsel my client to scrap every single piece of the product, instead, they look at the design, and determine if perhaps a single part or two caused the problem or if it was an issue in the design, altogether. But even when a redesign occurs, they don’t start over, including sourcing new materials. Perhaps this is a tortured analogy, but I don’t think you are going to see useful, but previously acquired, pieces jettisoned. That doesn’t make any sense to me, particularly where Epstein clearly looks to maximize assets.

      • Wilbur

        Good points, and expand on what I have had in the back of my mind for awhile as to what they are doing.

  • die hard

    I see Wood joining White Sox or Brewers if for nothing else to tell the Cubs to shove it. Awhile back in regards to Fielder I pointed out what Dawson did to join Cubs by basically asking Cubs to pick a price. Wood did that last year and now wants respect back. Dallas Green gave that respect back to Dawson to sign him long term. Theo, not so fast and Wood doesnt feel the love he wants.

  • Deer

    So we could lose Marshall, Cashner, and Wood while adding Corpas? Suddenly our strong bullpen looks weak. Pay the man, can’t imagine his demands are unreasonable.

  • Lou

    Such are the pitfalls of rewarding solely based on future performance…..a concept which I, as of yet, still cannot fully comprehend.

  • Clark Addison

    I think the 40 man roster situation has e erything to do with the delay in signing Wood. Look for Byrd and/or Soriano to be traded for low level prospects to open slots. Wood will be signed before the convention.

  • jandersonjr81 father of Caden

    I have been both critical and praising of Theo. However, if Wood wants to be a Cub, he damn sure better be a Cub. This would be an unforgiveable(is that a word) decision. There is no reason to re-sign Johnson because he’s a “good guy and great club house presence,” then turn around and not sign Kerry. In fact, the roster spot wasted on Johnson could be used to sign Kerry. I know its not what he’ll get but if Theo is worth 4-5 mil a year to this org, then so is Kerry. If there is one player I can live with being over paid, or paid for past performance, it would definitely be Kerry. Get him signed, and I prefer it be yesterday.

    • Brian

      Wanting to be a Cub, also, means months later you rescind on your words, I’ll only be a Cub or retire, something to that effect.
      Besides one magical game and one decent season, 2003, what has Kerry Wood done for the Cubs? I remember more stints on IR than him pitching brilliantly!

    • http://bleachernation GES

      I had the priviledge to play and win a championship with Kerry in little league basketball in Texas.He’s a true winner that can improve his teams scenarios with his smile and especially his talent.Kerry has won in everything he wants to do from a young star to a Superstar ambassador of the best league in the worlds history.He is who deserves the respect of setting his own salary and accommadations.He is one of the reasons that GOD let his light shine in a way that people could understand how to make progress.The teams that he gives a chance to for his services should truly appreciate the opportunity.GO CUBS

  • RoughRiider

    I like the idea of signing Kerry. He IS today’s “MR. CUB”. Like Ernie, Ron, Billy, Fergie, Ryno & Gracie, He will always be a Cubbie. I would like to see him get a World Series ring too. That’s not likely to happen anytime soon for the Cubs. Since it’s very hard to pick a World Series winner at this juncture, here is what I’d like to see. The Cubs sign Kerry and then trade him at the deadline, to a truly contending team, for a PTBNL. The player to be named later? Kerry Wood.

  • DCF

    MLBTR reports that Kerry’s asking $4 million for a year. I like him a lot too, but realistically he’s worth half of that.
    However I’m sure Theo recognizes what the Cubs owe Kerry after he left al lot of money on the table to become a Cub again and Theo has repeated said he wants Kerry back.
    On the other hand it doesn’t seem very Epstein-ish to hand out charity contracts, so I guess he’s bargaining hard and I think that’s OK.
    I pretty sure Wood will remain a Cub and Theo will him more than the $2 million Kerry would (in theory) be worth.

  • Eric S

    Why not give Woody the Grabow? Ya know the 2 year 7.5 million that Grabow received under Hendry’s watch? Averages out to just under $4 million a year (a steal for Woody), locks him up for at least 2 years, and Woody is a better pitcher than Grabow. Makes sense, and I’m sure if Theo offered this to Woody he would sign it.

  • pfk

    I’d REALLY be upset if Wood signs with another team. I’ve been a big supporter of Theo & Co. despite reservations about some moves. I give them the benefit of the doubt. Letting Wood go elsewhere would seriously damage my opinon and regard for this group.

  • die hard

    Wood was leader of get rid of Zambrano movement. So, maybe he feels that he is owed something back? Well he wont be going to Marlins.

  • sam

    opps wrong room

  • Tommy

    My guess is they announce that Woody is coming back at the convention.  They’re doing it for the feel-good drama of it all!  No way he’s leaving.



  • jandersonjr81 father of Caden

    What is wrong with some Cubs fan. I’m a North Carolina Cubs fan, so I don’t run into fellow Cubs fans often. When I do meet one, I feel like that guy(or girl) is family. We have something as Cubs fans that most fans don’t have. I love my Cubs players. Z, as much as he has done, he is still a true Cub. Kerry is a true Cub. There are others such as Soto and Castro. Unfortunately, because of our horrible drafts and bad free agent signings, we don’t have as many career Cubs as the we did, Atleast when I was a young Cubs fan in the late 80’s early 90’s. There was Ryno, Dunston, Hawk, Maddux(though he left and came back), and my all time favorite for some reason was Kevin Foster. I know all these guys didn’t come through the system, but they were still Cubs greats. Kerry is one of those guys. Sometime its not all about stats. It about loyalty. If Hendry didn’t force him too, he would have never left Chicago to start with. He wanted to stay. I am a loyal supporter of the players. Kerry must be a Cubs. Theo, I know you are new, but you need to learn that.

    • ferrets_bueller

      …and thinking like this will never lead to a championship.

      • jandersonjr81 father of Caden

        Winning Championships are great. But would you rather do it with 25 freshly signed free agents, or with a home grown team with 1 or 2 added pieces. Im a huge Lebron James fan, but him winning a ring in Miami just won’t do it for me like him winning one in Cleveland would have. I don’t wanna be the Yankees. I don’t wanna be the Red Sox. I also don’t wanna be the Rays, where we have to trade all our players. I want to develop “our” players, keep “our” players and win with “our” players. I wanna be Dirk and Duncan, not Lebron and Carmelo, if you get my point.

        • Brian

          I for one, am for winning the championship by whatever means. Hanging on to has beens and what were’s is basically useless. Yes, it will be nice to see this first year transpire into that and it won’t include any of the past.

          • loyal100more

            farm players, mixed in with bounce back guys, and then the big free agents. just like the rangers.

  • Kevin

    i think most of us want to believe his signing is imminent. I do not think this is the case though. the direction the Cubs are heading, the business model, and the payroll point towards Wood leaving town. I realize for Wood it is also a family decision, but if you are a competitor why would you stay with the Cubs? This is the type of signing Hendry would make, he is no longer the GM.

  • Big Joe

    It will be difficult to see Wood leave, if it happens. But, it has happened before. Signing him for “feel good” reasons is not the way to go. A new attitude should lead to new actions. If you want to win consistently, you have to leave your emotions at the door. Wood is not Jeter. Yes, he is, most likely, the face of the franchise. Is that a good thing? Does a guy near the end of his career REALLY want to be the face of a losing team, in the early stages of a rebuild? A lot of people say that Wood should be a Cub, because he is a Cub “for all the right reasons”. Really? Comfort, convenience, and familiarity? Popularity?? He’s been an average pitcher, that’s made a TON of money off potential, and one fantastic game…when he was 19. Most, if not ANY OTHER organization, would have said goodbye to him in his mid-20s, after all of the injuries. A wonderful man, teammate, and human being, no doubt. But, if management is truly all about a new attitude, and organizational philosophy, letting Kerry Wood walk is an easy choice. One that shouldn’t even be on it’s list of tough off season moves…

  • oswego chris

    Maholm tweeting he is a Cub

    • http://bleachernation loyal100more

      for real oswego?

  • oswego chris

    on chance Garza does not get traded..Garza…Dempster…Maholm…Wood…Volstad….Wells, much better shape than we were in, with upside on at least 3 of the 6…..a rotation that can keep us in many games….with only one over thirty….call me a kool-aid drinker but at least we won’t see james russell in the rotation…or doug davis….

  • http://bleachernation loyal100more

    thats a better rotation than last year and with a few tweaks in the bullpen, good D and a few timely hits… its not hard to envision winning more games this year. we have quite a few possible X factors on this roster… youth heart and upside. the rebuild apears to be in good shape in a favorable direction. im excited, and upbeat.