The “Business” of Re-Signing Kerry Wood and Other Bullets

LSU played like crap last night, no doubt, but they’ve got to be feeling a bit screwed this morning. Look over the collective bodies of work for LSU and Alabama in the 2011 season, and it’s not even a close argument as to which had the better season. Good think I don’t care a whit about the SEC.

  • Bruce Miles says Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have no loyalty to Kerry Wood, nor should they, and if Wood leaves, it’s “just business.” Unfortunately, I’m not as able to be as professional and dispassionate as Bruce. If the Cubs fail to re-sign Kerry Wood because of a couple million or so bucks (Wood is reportedly asking for $4 million), I’ll be mighty sad, “future performance” be damned. If, on the other hand, the Cubs and Kerry would genuinely like to see the pitcher get a better shot at a ring in 2012, then I’ll gladly cheer for Kerry wherever he signs. (That all said, I still think Kerry gloriously strolls on stage at the Convention to announce that he’s re-signed.)
  • One more Wood bullet: I keep reading that a guy like Kerry Wood serves no purpose on a rebuilding team (Barry Rozner says it the most oafishly: “[F]or a team rebuilding, Wood serves very little purpose. This is something Cubs fans might not like to hear, but it also happens to be true. Of course, Cubs fans were none too happy a year ago when it said right here that Wood with the Cubs made little sense, since the Cubs weren’t going anywhere in 2011 and those innings should have been taken by someone growing into the role. But it was such a cute story and hardly anyone likes reality to get in the way of cute.”). Excuse me, but do you really think that a team full of young players and young pitchers has no use for a guy like Kerry Wood? The 2012 Cubs, whatever their plan for “competitiveness,” could use a presence like Kerry Wood as much as any team in baseball. It’s not about “chemistry,” mind you, it’s about learning. You want those young players to develop in the best possible way? One piece of that process is having a couple guys like Wood around.
  • Bruce Levine speculates that, if the Cubs’ pitchers were to stay the same for the 2012 season, Randy Wells would be the odd man out of the rotation. If all six of Garza, Dempster, Wells, Maholm, Wood, and Volstad are all here in April, I suppose I’d have to agree. I think Wells still has a great deal of value as a starter – look no further than how he excellently he pitched last year after he was finally over his forearm strain – but it’s hard to bounce any of the other five. Optioning one of the younger guys to AAA is a theoretical possibility, but I would be shocked if all six are still here come Opening Day.
  • Jed Hoyer will be on CSN’s Hot Stove this evening at 5pm CT.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer says the Cubs anticipate bringing back pitcher Rodrigo Lopez, presumably on a minor league deal. Lopez will duke it out in Spring Training for the long-coveted 9th starter spot.
  • Notable in Carrie Muskat’s Q/A yesterday: Cubs single game tickets go on sale online on March 9.
  • Yesterday, Barry Larkin, the long-time face of the Cincinnati Reds, deservedly got the call to the Hall of Fame. Good for him.
  • Completely random stat I’m having trouble explaining in my head: last year, the team with the best road attendance was the New York Yankees (no surprise). Number two? The Cincinnati Reds. The best explanation I can come up with: the Reds benefited from playing a disproportionate number of games in ballparks that had very high attendance last year (Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis). I doubt it was a case of everyone just having to see Drew Stubbs.
  • Folks are meme-ing a photo set of Greg Maddux looking like a hipster. The photo, and my offering:

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

35 responses to “The “Business” of Re-Signing Kerry Wood and Other Bullets”

  1. Butch Cub

    If we can shell out 15 million to get rid of Big Z, then certainly we can find 4 million to give to a professional like Kerry Wood. Epstein has made all the right moves so far, it would be a shame if he dropped the ball on this “no-brainer” of a decision.

  2. Katie

    WTF is up with those pics of Mad Dog? He looks like someone’s creepy uncle to be avoided at all costs at the family reunion. I’ve never been on a dating site before (except this one, of course) but those pictures have a foul stench about them that screams bad match.com profile pics, no?

    1. CubFan Paul

      yeah, those pics bother me too ..i totally forgot everything i read

  3. Pat

    Agree about the learning aspect. It’s hard to picture Cashner and Wells figuring out how to land themselves on the DL after only one start without that veteran experience to show them the way. (joking)

    1. aCubsfan

      I agree with Barry Rosner. The Cubs have no business signing Kerry Wood just to appease the fans.

      Furthermore, if Wood is asking for $4MM he is absolutely out of mind. With 16 DL appearances in his 14 years in the league he is not worth $4MM especially when the Cubs have wasted tens of millions on a player who can’t stay off the DL. Quite frankly he owes the Cubs for having to put of with that nonsense. Especially, when we are talking about blisters. Why hasn’t Wood done something to at least attempt to resolve his blister issues?

      Coal is right on track with the $100K penalty for each day Wood …or any player with a huge contract… is on the DL.

      Lastly, how can a player, especially a pitcher be of any value to their team when they are on the DL. Brett mentions teaching? How do we know that Kerry Wood is helping anyone out in ‘learning’?

      1. sam

        funny post 100k penalty -yeah that would open the door on so many problems on so many fronts “. wow ” coal if the cubs lose by 5 runs or more can i get a refund …… if The cubs lose by 10 runs do i get a refund and a free ticket to next game of my choosing (LOL) What happens if they win by 10 runs do I pay Double.

        1. aCubsfan

          Sam…Does it really open the door to much of anything? Players receive highly incentivized contracts all the time based on making the team, playing in so many games, pitching X number of innings, voted to All-Star games, etc. So why shouldn’t there also be an incentive to staying off the DL, especially for blisters.

          If a contract was written as such, wouldn’t then become an incentive for the player/pitcher to educate themselves on how best to perform while not getting injured.

          When Wood and Prior were having their shoulder issues, Dr. Mike Marshall, a pitching coach and an ex-MLB pitcher, analyzed their throwing motion and found both Wood’s and Prior’s motion would lead them to reoccurring injuries. A quick search of Google shows numerous resources that a pitcher can find to change his motion to reduce injury and gain velocities. So, why hasn’t Wood sought out expertise to correct his throwing motion issues so that he wouldn’t be so likely to be on the DL?

          1. sam

            A contract is a contract – you either sign one or not. case closed

  4. bluekoolaidaholic

    Maybe they are just waiting for the dust to settle and there is room on the 40 man roster.
    I can’t believe that all this is about the 1 year salary he wants. It is still a bargain if you consider that he only got 1.5 million last year and if he now gets 4 million for one year that would work out to 2.75 a year, which is less than the hated Yankees were going to pay. I hate to throw around Tom’s millions so lightly, but come on Jed, “git ‘er done”.

  5. jandersonjr81 father of Caden

    That’s was the point I was making. If Wood serves no point, then neither does Reed Johnson. Wood at 4 million = bargain, IMO.

    Also, why would anybody start Volstad over Wells. Wells is a very consistent pitcher when healthy. Not to mention, he is one of those true Cubs I speak about. Also, the main thing, he is just plain and simply better then Volstad in every aspect of the game except age. Seems to me they want to start Volstad just to prove they got something for Z. Wells is our third best pitcher at worse. That’s not a good thing, but you don’t bench your third best pitcher because the other guy is younger.

    1. Garza 2. Maholm 3. Wells 4. Dempster 5. Wood, with Smarj/Sonnastine/Volstad/McNutt and other competing for Wood’s spot.

    1. Kyle

      Wells doesn’t get a huge pass for last year just because he was briefly hurt. He was bad, and he’s probably going to continue to be bad.

      He’s almost 30, his velocity (which was never good) has been dropping, and he’s always struck out so few batters that he had absolutely no margin for error for MLB success. If he can get his velocity back up to the low 90s, he might be able to keep up as Volstad enters his prime, but I doubt it.

      I look at Wells as (and this is a weird comp as they are very different kinds of pitchers) another Rich Hill: A very marginal pitcher who used a combination of luck and novelty to scrape out a couple of useful seasons. Now that the league has figured him out, it’s all over for him.

      Right now, he’s no better than seventh in line for a rotation spot on my depth chart. Garza/Wood/Dempster/Maholm/Volstad with Samardzija getting a shot to be stretched out. Wells can work out of the pen or in AAA to try to rebuild his trade value. If we make some trades or some guys get hurt, fine, he can have a spot, but I’m not all that worried if he gets left out.

  6. RoughRiider

    As I’ve said before, there is something to be said for quality veteran presence. Guys Like Byrd, Dempster and Wood mentor the younger players on how to play and act as a major league player should.

  7. rcleven

    Don’t think the 4mm is the sticking point. I have to believe Wood might want a 2 yr contract Theo only offering 1.

  8. Kyle

    “Look no further than how he excellently he pitched last year after he was finally over his forearm strain”

    My long-running vendetta against Randy Wells continues (matched only by my bearishness on Ian Stewart), but I just don’t see it. He had one good month, August, where he didn’t really pitch much better but got a .181 BABIP:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?id=wellsra01&year=2011&t=p#month::none

    The rest of the time, he was bad. In whole, he was bad. For a 29-year-old with a suspect pitching background and marginal stuff, I think that’s more than enough to condemn him to the scrapheap.

  9. sam

    Prediction – At the Cub Convention the Cubs will give its fan base the news of Kerry Woods signing – this will be a kodac moment and bring a sentimental touch to its fans base.

    1. Sam

      Hey…. Hey get outta here… stealin my user name…  (I certainly hope your prediction is true, but I’m starting to think thats probably not happenin)

  10. Jay Hefel

    I heard last night that Roy Oswalt might settle for a one year deal. what are your thoughts on Roy in a Cub uniform.

  11. rocky8263

    On Kaplan’s show last night Kerry sounded like The Cubs were a long shot. He was promoting friday at Harry Carry’s and assured Garza’s ability to pound shots. He gave the impression that he would be pitching elsewhere this year. Didn’t Theo always keep a veteran or two around in Boston to help with “chemistry”?

  12. Ivy Walls

    Kerry is about three things of value versus the money spent and statement going forward. The statement (and now it is unstated but loud and clear) is any and all decisions made by Hendry’s regime are considered suspect or dubious. Wood is one player who could transcend that since he comes from before the Hendry era. He also has a relationship with the Ricketts so that is also a consideration. The value is both performance on the field and a player/coach in the pen and locker room, but that is usually undervalued when it comes to spending million$. Finally the money, though I think it is as much the money as the terms (or years), my guess is Wood is being offered $3-$3.5M and Wood would like a team option for next year. I also think Wood is developing a value to be a broadcaster/analyst with the Cubs broadcast network.

  13. Sandman

    Roy Oswalt could be that veteran depending on any trades that would or will take place.

  14. Len Marszalek

    Its incredible that new Cub ownership would let it come down to this after what Wood did for them the previous winter. Then again this fits the pre-Tribune ownership pattern of cutting back payroll while having MLB ticket prices that are among the top five in all of baseball. Watch attendance start to tank, especially in this economy…

  15. Joker

    Anyone else think that (aside from the obvious “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” nature of the Garza rumors) maybe Jed/Theo have another trade brewing involving one of the starters (like Volstad or Wells). Either a move to jettison for a couple of low level fringe prospects to a club in need of warm bodies or as part of a bigger package (like with Byrd to Texas)?

  16. Bob

    Deal dempster, wells, Byrd, soriano. No future with any those players. Hold onto garza unless we get a couple pure studs in return. Otherwise build around him. He can be our number one. Then we got multiple 4,5 guys that could step up and maybe even get dealt by trade deadline for additional prospects. Go after the two Cubans hard. Brett Jackson and cespedes, lahair? make a high quality young outfield. Rizzo, starlin nice start to infield. Still obviously got holes but not a bad start for position players. 2 years to grab 2nd, 3rd base and a legit #2 starter. 2014 we should be able to make a run. I’m surprised at how roster looks now. I kinda figured it would be much more of a mess. So far so good.

  17. MichCubFan

    Could this be part of the “culture change”, saying we won’t make moves for the sake of nostalgia and that we won’t make signings or hires based solely on loyalty ?

  18. aCubsfan

    Might be time to update the blog post. Kaplan has an article stating “Wood’s time with Cubs appears all but over.”

  19. Katie

    Brett, I hope you have an occasion to use those pics of Mad Dog again. Although the other one you use with the Staten Island hair, jacket and Hey Ladies expression is also smarmtastic!