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Anything could still happen, and a Cubs Convention surprise has a nice public relations ring to it.

But the presently-available signs point to Kerry Wood not returning to the Chicago Cubs in 2012.

From CSN Chicago:

Sources with knowledge of the negotiations told me late Monday night that Wood’s days as a Cub appear all but over.

“Woody wanted to be here despite the rebuilding process but while the Cubs were saying they wanted him back they were unwilling to pay him the market value for a solid set up man,” he said. “He has heard from a number of teams that are World Series contenders and they are all willing to pay him a very fair salary to strengthen their bullpen. The Cubs expected him to pitch for another hometown discount. He has already done that for them a couple of times before. There is no reason that he should have to do that again.”

This could still be part of a last-minute jockeying strategy (after all, the source is clearly from Kerry’s side), but, if you’re hoping Wood is back next year, it doesn’t look good.

Last night, Wood joined Dave Kaplan on the radio, and he didn’t express much confidence in a return. In fact, he sounded like a guy who knows he’s leaving.

“Regardless of what happens, we’re still in Chicago,” Wood said. “We’re dedicated to the city, and things will work out for me in the city of Chicago because we’re dedicated to the city, we’re dedicated to the community, we’re dedicated to helping children and again we’re staying here we’re raising the family here. I’m a Texas boy, but I feel like I’ve become a Chicagoan, so we’re happy to be here whether I finish here or whether I don’t, we plan on being here a long time.”

“Obviously it’s great to hear [Theo Epstein’s kind words about me],” Wood added. “I mean, that’s great. I don’t envy the job he has and what he’s doing right now. I think he’s got a tough job ahead of him. Moves have to be made, some that he’s already done. So, he’s not in an easy position. But again, hopefully 2, 3, 4 years down the road we’re saying that he made all the right moves, and that’s why this team is consistently in the playoffs. So we hope that happens.”

I remain of the opinion that, whatever Wood brings to the Cubs as an aging setup pitcher (he’s still good at what he does, assuming his knee returns to form) isn’t the primary reason to bring him back. He is a invaluable leader on a team expected to be full of young kids who need leading. And he’s a fan favorite. I know that doesn’t put wins on the board, and that is the most important thing. But we aren’t just cheering for laundry. I like cheering for Kerry Wood. It makes my fandom that much more enjoyable. I don’t care if that makes me sound naive or uninterested in seeing a winner.

I can be both a fan of winning and of a guy like Kerry Wood. He is, in that regard, the exception.

  • 2much2say

    Time to look forward. If you’re not with us you’re against us. Z thanks for the memories, Woody, Good Luck, Sean good job, Next

    • cubmig

      Whoaaa!…….what’s happened to Theo’s verbal embraces towards Wood? Where did all “love-talk about how valuable Wood is go? Too, lets not forget that wood put his money where his mouth is when it came to letting the front office know he WANTED back on the Cubs and signed-on cheap”. Now Wood wants reciprocity. Sooooo…..is he worth the value Theo has expressed or not? I say he is. I think he can be an undercurrent of strength in what’s ahead for the Cubs. Bottom line: Theo, do the right thing! Sign Wood, period!!

  • Skinner

    Obviously I’m in the minority here, but I couldn’t care less if Kerry Wood is a Cub next year, and he’s been one of my faves ever since he came up.

    Bring him back when he’s done playing, for now though, let him go see if he can latch on with a contender and win something before he’s finished. As far as the Cubs are concerned there’s zero reason to overpay for a middle reliever when you’re at the beginning of a massive rebuild, even a hero like Kerry. And while I share some of the sentimentality towards him here, I’m not getting the same goosebumps others are at the thought of him maybe giving a 95 loss team 50 IP and at best a half win. It actually depresses me given what he once was, and what he could have been. He’s not even an elite reliever anymore, and I’m never one to support overpaying a guy because he’s allegedly such a great clubhouse presence. There are plenty of other players that can pick up the slack in this regard.

  • TeddyBallGame

    Great news Matt, assuming it’s true. Also, I agree “father of Caden”. Kerry Wood is worth every cent we spend on him. You can’t really put an exact price on what he brings as a veteran presence in the clubhouse, but I’d be more than okay to bring him back at $4mil. We need to keep the positive influences on the roster and get rid of the rest of the bad one’s. A-Ram and Z are already gone, now if Soriano goes that’d be a front office HR. Eating money aside, Soriano is known as a well-liked guy amongst players and coaches, but every damn time the guy is in the on-deck circle, he’s standing there waving and smiling into the front rows of the seats. I’m talking like every bat he does this crap. Towards the end of the year, I noticed Castro did it a few times. That’s the type of crap that needs to stop. Get your head in the damn game and be a good mentor to the younger players…there is no argument that can say this doesn’t affect his own mindset and the teammates around him…peace out Sori!!

  • Curt

    I’m trying to buy into this culture change theo and company r trying to install but how do u rationalize not resigning Kerry wood he’s just the kind of culture they are preaching about not to mention a positive veteran influence and I also could see not resigning him if he wasn’t able to get hitters out anymore but this is not the case so why not resign him he gave yu a discount once pay him fairly and if we’re going to stink which is fine by me if were better in the long run, but give us wood at least he’s something to look forward to come on theo.

  • 2much2say

    Theo says “Complete rebuild!” Cubs fans “You were serious?” Castro and Soto are the only keepers from last year. New 1st 2nd 3rd LF CF Still have Dempster. Soto is a young vet with a young staff. Byrd Soriano Marmol Garza are all expendable,

  • leo

    I agree with Curt. I think there has to be a certain sense that if you are dedicated to the cubs that the cubs will be dedcated to you. I don’t agree with crippling long term contracts but if players get offers from other teams and they cant trust the regime to be fair to them in a few years then players wont want to stick with the cubs. I know it is a bussiness. Sometimes guys just dont fit in your plans and there are only 40 roster spots afterall. and ofcourse if you can get the same production from a cheaper player then ofcourse why would pay more? But on the other hand when a guys has taken a discount already and is putting team in front of I, Isnt this what you are trying to install as a culture? why not give a fair offer? i dont think you have to beat the market. I love the recent article about player value but there are intangibles that need to be considered. The zambrano trade was great not because of the lack of wins that he would provide but because of his attitude. Well, I would say the reverse would be true about Kerry Wood. The attitude and veteran prescence and sense of being a Cub is also valuable. I will never forget his tribune ad when he left the cubs. First class all the way.

  • DCF

    Honestly, I don’t buy this stuff about Kerr’y’s “leadership” and all the “culture” talk at all.
    Yeah he’s a great and classy guy, a probably a model teammate. If this has any real effect on the team as a whole seems doubtful. Players are gtting paid millions of dollars to do what they do, they shouldn’t need a cheerleader to do it properly. Purely as a relief pitcher, he’s worth nowhere near $4 million. If that’s a realistic market price for service, than it just shows how overrated the position of a setup man is.

    Either way, Kerry left a lot of money on the table coming to the Cubs last year so they have a moral obligation to reciprocate this year. I still think he will end up being a Cub this year for something around $3 million.

  • scorecardpaul

    I remember watching the record breaking strike out game.  It gave me goose bumps.  My brother called me from his work 1,000 miles away.  That day was VERY VERY special.  The thought of an actual world series championship was allowed to creap into an old guys head.  That is how I am starting to feel again.

    I have watched all of these fan favorites come and go (and I do mean lots of them), but we still have no championship !!!

    I trust in the front office to do what ever it takes to get us there…..  if it means loosing our Wood, well I guess I have to be ok with it.   It sure hasn’t worked the old way, so lets try something new??

  • BleedBlueinWNeb

    first off i love kerry wood as a cub! i can remember living in KC in ’98, picking up the phone to call my mom saying “are you watching?” And i love cheering for him as a cub. heck i cheered for him every time he pitched for the Yankees in big games and i was watching.

    That said whatever Theo n Jed decide to do i’m board with! it’s fun to have something to believe in, and these guys are what we have to believe in.

    my mom, dad, brother, girlfriend, and my 9 yr old son and i are planning on making a trip to chicago this summer for the Cards series in late July and while we probably won’t be contending it would have been fun to at least see Kerry take the ball a couple times. But in the long run if he can pitch for a contender and be comfortable while the Cubs do their thing and build under the current regime, that doesn’t bother me.

    my family is not the types that wanna attend games just to go to wrigley but we do live out of state and we didn’t go last year so we’re looking forward to getting back to the city and wrigley again this year…REGARDLESS of where the cubs are in the standings. Plus it’ll be my son’s first trip to wrigley field.

    Sure hope Kerry re-signs but if not, i’ll cheer for him anyway and hope he succeeds with another shot at reaching the playoffs and more importantly i’ll be cheering on our young cubs team dreaming of 2013 and beyond when we’ll be big time contenders.

  • Sayueri

    They should resign him.

  • Tommy

    They sign him at the Cubs Convention for the drama of it.  ohh yeah, baby!

  • Teri shannon

    Sign Kerry. Cubs owe him a deal. What,s 4 million when Sori gets 19. That makes me sick along with a lot of other Cub fans.

  • Jeff L

    Essentially we are down from 140 M to 105 M that’s roughly 35 M dollars. Mr. Ricketts can’t afford 4 mil dollars to Kerry Wood on a one year deal??? One word comes to my mind CHEAP.

    • Pat

      I don’t really think it’s a money issue. At least, I can’t see how it could be. I think this more likely falls under the category of paying for past performance. From most accounts, Kerry wants multiple years this time. I can see why Hoyer might not want to commit to that. I would also imagine Kerry wants a no trade clause. When he was dealing with Hendry, he knew he could trust him not to send him anywhere against his wishes. Not sure he would make that assumption with the new front office. If I had to guess (and we should find out soon enough), years and NTC are the sticking points, and not dollars as much.

    • sam

      I think with baseball operations Ricketts did give Lil Theo full control. It would be wise for him to do so. I think this decision will fall squarely on Lil theo and Jed. I am sure once all the dust settle either the Cubs and Kerry Wood will find a happy meduim or Kerry will be force to leave or retire. The thing about Kerry he is a professional once he leaves i doubt he will talk about goriillas in the cubs closet – I meant skeletons if he should retire or sign with a different Club. It might be over a matter of principle on both sides . i really do not think its about money —– or (WAR) (lol).

      • scorecardpaul

        To lil assmansam…  just so you know, yes you are annoying most of the people on this site, please go away, or stop insulting all of us with every post.  you must be a joy to hang out with.  oh, never mind that’s why you sit by yourself all day playing with your keyboard

        • sam

          What I see on this site is a selected small group of sheep, that hang by the dung hair of any Movement made by Cubs management, I never proclaim that I am an expert . I read other people post sometimes I agree sometime I do not, but I do hear the same group of sheep constantly bully and intimidate other people. You can throw your rhetoric and insults they fall by the wastebin. , When I get bored I will move on.
          With the same discord you have with me I have with the failure of the Cubs . Owners and baseball players come and go throughout our life time yet after 103 years still no championship. I have heard many excuses. Just because we have a team president that was lucky enough to put the finishing touches on a Championship team for the redsox- doesn’t mean he can built a team from scratch. . Cubs President Theo Epstein has never fielded a team that he has built to deserve the recognition that he has received. Larry luccino , Jed Hoyer and MR theo all deserve that honor. for the redsox . I poke fun at Theo because as a leader among men he broke the cardinal rule and quit over a contract dispute. a general manager quitting prior to the winter meetings, a person who is responsible for other players contracts .in a sarcastic analogy its like a doctor walking out during pre-op . Mr ricketts made a decision and brought Theo to the Cubs. I do not know if he can do the job. nor am i lost on the fact that maybe Mr ricketts has handcuffed theo in budget. I am not mad or angry that the cubs did not go after tier level 1 free agents . I am disappointed that the cubs took the rebuilding method- and rebuilding that will take a long time – if its purely a rebuilding route and only time will tell if that will succeed. I find ironic that same people that degrade certain players and people are the same people that get annoyed when i poke fun at lil theo and his bandaid selection of players

          • MichiganGoat

            That’s quite a manifesto. Except it’s nearly unreadable with all the misspelled words and punctuation errors. Please review before you post.

            Oh and we’re more goats than sheep, bah.

            • sam

              well you understood it – so its passable

              • MichiganGoat

                I didn’t say it was a good manifesto, I really think you need to get back to your doctor. No more unsupervised visits for you.

                • Sweetjamesjones

                  Thank you so much Sam for setting so many people straight. When I read your posts, I see nothing but some bitter, old cynical man with nothing better to do than get on the Internet and show his ass. It’s the same tired-ass rhetoric.

                  If you want to be cynical and such a Buzz Killington then by all means, do it somewhere else.

              • sam

                thank you !

            • sam

              whats kewl every time someone wants hurl insults, correct a few miss spelled words and repost

  • jim

    PERSONALLY, I would like to see KERRY WOOD back for 1 more year.
    HE is a veteran & “always” gives 100%! Not to mention, what he has
    done for charity. HE loves CHICAGO,even though he’s a TEXAS boy,
    & considers himself to be a “CHICAGOAN” WE ALL know that the
    CUBS are in the midst of many changes anyways & I really DON’T think
    that he will hurt us. ‘LETS GO CUBS”!

  • sam

    I can see Kerry Woods point, why sign a contract in Chicago ( which may or may not be below market price) and give Lil theo the power to trade him ,espically since he would rather retire a Cub. If Kerry Wood cant compromise on dollars and cents in return for a no trade contract then he should leave and he would be missed. If Lil theo feels that wont compromise dollars and cents for a no trade contract – then just call Lord sith theo.

    but the Cubs dont really need him only because the team will not be able to compete.
    nothing less nothing more. let kerry wood dictate his future- not lil theo

  • die hard

    From Cincy sports blog website:

    [If the Reds fail to sign Cordero, they are likely to make a move for Kerry Wood. Wood reportedly is no longer part of the Cubs’ plans. “He’s someone we would look at,” Jocketty said. “Dusty (Baker) has had him before and likes him.”]

    Hmmmmm…what do they know that nobody else knows?

    • Jim

      Not so likely…

      Jon Heyman @JonHeymanCBS
      #reds, madson in agreement.

      • die hard

        maybe, maybe not…..depends on Cordero

  • sam

    goat if you stop wasting time typing to me – i might get bored faster

  • Cubbiecop

    I will miss Kerry Wood if he leaves us to go to another team. I hope that he goes to a contender and gets his WS ring if he does, just like Grace did with Arizona. I just had to go to youtube and check this out one last time. Man, Wood was so dominating when he came up. Will miss him, but I will still wear my Wood jerseys!!! I have included the link for a bit of a blast from the past! The 20 strike out game…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDgnfm3NOVY

  • KidCubbie

    The Cubs are close to a one-year deal with reliever Kerry Wood, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. The contract will include a club option for 2013. Earlier today, Cubs president Theo Epstein told reporters, “If we can’t figure this out, something’s wrong.”
    -MLBTR

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