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For a couple weeks now, the drumbeat grew out of the Kerry Wood camp that a deal wasn’t going to get done to bring back the reliever to the Cubs, despite his earlier comment that’d either pitch for the Cubs in 2012 or retire. It reached a pitch earlier this week when Dave Kaplan reported that Wood was unlikely to return to the Cubs next year. Regardless of Wood’s direct impact on the competitiveness of the 2012 Cubs, he’s a valuable veteran presence, and, frankly, a guy who’s nice to cheer for. The drumbeat was a bit of a bummer.

Many of us were cynical. It felt awfully convenient that the Cubs couldn’t seem to come to an agreement with Wood when there wasn’t yet a roster spot for him – the week of the Cubs Convention, no less. It was fair to wonder if Wood was merely trying to get a little extra coin out of the Cubs, and if the Cubs were trying to get a little extra positive PR this weekend.

Maybe we were right. Jon Morosi reports that a source tells him the Cubs and Wood are “nearing a one-year deal with an option for 2013.” That sounds about right.

Earlier today, Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein told the media that if the two sides couldn’t work something out given their mutual interest, something is wrong. It sounds like Epstein already knew things were looking like they were going to happen.

Even if the two sides finalize a deal, I wouldn’t expect it to be announced officially until, oh, say, Friday evening at the Chicago Hilton.

  • FINNER

    Sweeeeeeet!

  • EQ76

    finally!  this pitching staff is starting to really look like they could be legit.. not saying they’ll contend, but the staff could be strong enough to keep us in a lot of games.. who knows?!?!

    • Wilbur

      Over the course of 162 I see where your assessment could be right on. What you lose in not having overwhelming front three or four you make up when the injuries invariably come and you’re still starting viable number 5’s who will keep you in the game versus total rejects or minor leaguers who are not ready.

      Not the recipe for a contender, but something that a fan can enjoy if there are good fielders behind them and a front office can build upon.

      • rcleven

        Still will have to score close to 6 runs a game to win. I don’t see where we can do that right now. Starting staff would have to bring era’s down to have to score less.

        • Wilbur

          Six runs a game seems high, wouldn’t the league average be between four and five?

          Don’t follow the stat’s that closely, but just assuming a league average of 4.5 runs per game, if a staff goes a little lower than 4.5 with their composite ERA, and then add back some unearned runs a team should hover around 82 wins if it can average 4.5 runs offensively per game.

          I may be all wrong, but I think this staff could perform at the league norm, my concern is the offense.

  • Spriggs

    This is really good news!

  • JulioZuleta

    Between Kerry Woods days all but over, and the Cubs and Tigers being “down the road on Garza: a few days ago, Kaplan has really been on fire. I don’t see him begging for credit now.

    • jfish1219

      I can not think of one thing so far that Kaplan has gotten right this year

  • ty

    this guy can still bring heat with good breaking pitches. Veteran presence in the bullpen with those young guys, long hours out there with just kids can turn into a playpen. Plus Kerry needs to be in Chicago with his family due to special circumstances. A good day coming!

  • Ethan Luke

    It’s incredible how quickly the new front office — along with BN — have helped redefine the “Baseball Strategy IQ” of the Cubs’ fan base. I guess that correlates pretty closely to changing our culture away from lovable losers.

    Theo, Jed, and yes Brett’s dynamite analysis and commentary have definitely helped change my baseball mentality from “Why the ‘F’ not sign Fielder” to “thank the gods we didn’t write a check with our mouth that our butt doesn’t want to cash 8 years from now”.

    Thanks Brett!

    • Eric

      I’ve wanted Rizzo ever since I started hearing the rumblings that Theo and Jed might be after him.  But glad to see you’ve started to come in our direction a little bit.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, Ethan.

  • die hard

    must be conditioned on passing physical or no deal is what hang up may have been

  • Ashley

    This makes me very happy!!

  • pfk

    Awesome! Yes, announce it at the Cubs Convention.

  • OHBearCub

    This Cub Fan Al Yellon wrote this today on Bleed Cubbie Blue. I think it sums up what everyone who is a Die Hard Cub Fan believes. I couldn’t have found a way to write this any better.

    Dear Theo and Jed,

    Hi! How are you doing? Enjoying Chicago so far? We haven’t had much of a winter here yet, so it’s probably been easy and comfortable for you to get to work at the corner of Clark & Addison. I hear you two have been pretty busy working late nights, examining the organization from top to bottom; so far I like all the deals and signings you have made in re-making the Cubs major league roster and acquiring additional depth for the minor league system.

    I’m excited about the future. You guys had success together in Boston and I know you know what you’re doing and believe me, I understand your method. You can’t just go for the quick fix as the Cubs have for the last decade; if the two of you and Jason McLeod and the others you have brought in can build a strong top-to-bottom organization, then the Cubs can become a team that can contend for the postseason every year, and win a couple of times in a decade like your old team in Boston did.

    I get it. And I like the way you’ve begun the process. It’s the right way to go.

    I have only one question this morning. Why haven’t you signed Kerry Wood yet?

    Source: http://www.bleedcubbieblue.com/2012/1/11/2699285/kerry-wood-theo-epstein-jed-hoyer-cubs-open-letter

    [Edit – Thanks for sharing that, but you can’t do wholesale copy and pastes like that. Copying a bit and then posting a link is the way to go. I’ve left the first part of the post, and snipped out the rest. Thanks.]

    • Pat

      “Why haven’t you signed Kerry Wood yet?”

      Would he ask Tom Petty that question?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        HAHAHA!

  • OHBearCub

    Wouldn’t be surprised if the Rule 5 pick we did make doesn’t get sent back to where he came from this week just because he was a roster filler like Bianchi. Then Woodie has a spot on the roster and nothing is lost. That kid we drafted would have had to be on the 25 man roster and he hadn’t pitched above A ball. That’s my guess on who falls next. Then Marcus Mateo probably get’s dfa’d back to Iowa to make room for anyone else that comes on board.

  • Curt

    I’ve been bamboozled lol

  • al

    I would be happy to see Kerry go as he is a symbol of the suckage that are the Cubs. If you are going to clean house, why leave a corner of disappoint unattended? Let him DL on another club with his endless blisters.

    • rcleven

      1) Mr Wood is a class act.
      2) Mr Wood is a better set up man than 60%-70% teams in MLB.
      3) Mr Wood will have good influence on younger staff.

  • 2much2say

    6 runs a game to win? At that clip you would win 140 games.
    Good pitching, defense, timely hitting, and aggressive base running is what wins games.

  • rcleven

    Wells = 4.99 ERA
    Volstad = 4.89
    T Wood = 4.84
    Dempster=4.80
    Garza = 3.32

    Average 4.568

    Looks like 5 runs to win.

    With wells out Mahohm in Average changes to 4.032 still need to avg 5 per game.

    • EQ76

      Maholm=3.66

    • kubphan82

      Bill James 2012 ERA
      Garza: 3.70
      Dempster: 3.95
      Wood: 3.75
      Volstad: 4.34
      Maholm: 4.22
      Wells: 4.24

      Not a doom and gloom projection…

      • kubphan82

        National League RPG scored last year was 4.12… With the current rotation we’re looking at a possible sub 4 era, or so BJ suggests… Marmol improves, Russell/Samardzija step into more significant roles in the pen, Wood comes back as a leader assisting development of staff, and the Cubs need 4RPG scored to be at or above .500.

        Last year the Cubs were 8th in NL in scoring. I’m not sure that losing ARam/Pena help in scoring, it’s just a matter of potential hurt. Not many teams increased their run production this offseason in the NL and other teams in the NL were hurt as well. The rotation/pen should be a strength this season. Rotation having considerable levels of differing expectations and improvements.

    • Hawkeye

      At least we have a lot of  “pop” in the lineup to overcome that run deficit we will most certainly find ourselves in every game.   Oh, wait, nevermind.   This year will seperate the men from the boys when it comes to true Cubs fans.

    • Noah

      First, every single one of those pitchers had ERAs worse than their peripherals, as shown by their FIP and xFIP, last season. Now, you’d expect that somewhat in Wrigley due to it being a hitter friendly park. But some of that is just bad luck, and some of it is playing in front of a bad defense. The Cubs have improved their defense heading into 2012. Ian Stewart will be significantly better at 3B than Aramis Ramirez was. FanGraphs and B-R were divided in their analysis of Kosuke’s defense (B-R thought he was great, FG thought he was pretty bad), but are united in believing David DeJesus has historically been a strong corner outfielder. The big question to how much better the Cub defense will be depends on Castro’s improvement, of course.

      But Dempster, Garza and Wells suffered through the Cubs’ poor defense in 2011. Wood is a bit less susceptible to defense because he’s a fly ball pitcher, but BABIPs well over .300 in both the majors and AAA show some likely bad luck, or that opposing teams just thought they should probably hit the ball to Johnny Gomes. Volstad is a ground ball pitcher who played in front of a terrible defense, with one of the worst defensive shortstops in Hanley, a first baseman in left field and a left fielder in center field. I would not be surprised if at least 3 of those guys see a significant bump (although I wouldn’t be surprised to also see Maholm slide back to around 4).

      Also, starters don’t pitch the full game. So you’d have to add in reliever ERAs. For most teams, their relief pitching ERA will be lower than their starting pitching ERA.

      • 2much2say

        ERA’s are calculated over 9 innings. Doesn’t change the metrics because they pitch 7 or 8 innings.

        • Noah

          Right, but you can’t say that, for example, because let’s say a starting pitcher has a 4.20 ERA, that the team needs to score 5 runs to win the game. Let’s say all pitchers involved in a game cumulatively pitch exactly to their ERAs. Your starter throws 6 innings, a reliever with a 3.60 ERA pitches the 7th, a reliever with a 3.10 ERA pitches the 8th, and a reliever with a 2.80 ERA pitches the 9th. The combined ERA of those 4 pitchers over the 9 inning game would be 3.93, not the starter’s ERA of 4.20.

    • ferrets_bueller

      discussions like this are totally pointless.  Take a pitcher like Edwin Jackson (the extreme, for the sake of the example), for instance.  His ERAs say very little how many runs he ever actually gives up- rarely is it a number near his ERA.  Its either way below, or way above.

  • 2much2say

    The Cubs have only 1 18+ HR hitter and we want to get rid of him.

    • rcleven

      I may be showing my age but small ball can still be a affective way for run production. Pretty much what you said in your earlier post, timely hitting.

    • Adam H

      Stewart has the potential, leHair has the potential, Byrd, Soriano, Castro could be close. If you’re basing that comment on past performances, I guess the cubs have a 40 steal guy with Soriano as well. It’s about potential, not past performance.

      • rcleven

        Not looking for base sealers. More giving yourself up to advance runners, hitting behind runners, runners moving from 1st to 3rd when ball hit behind them(watch LA Angles, they are very good at it).

    • kubphan82

      The Cubs also have potential…
      Bill James 2012:
      Hr/AB
      Soto 1/26 (500Ab’s =19)
      LaHair 1/24 (further up in the lineup 550AB’s =23)
      Stewart 1/26.5 (500Ab = 19)
      Soriano 1/21 (move up in the order 500AB’s =26

      Not void of offense… Based on HR/AB projections…

      • http://CubbiesCrib.com Luke

        He’s got Stewart at 1/26.5? That’s encouraging.

  • RY

    best news i have heard all day!

  • rcleven

    Will be interesting to see how Sveum see’s his offense. What his style will be. Not exactly Milwaukee with the prince & Braun.

  • 2much2say

    All of those projection make no sense. Past performance? How about last years stats. Only one player hit more than 18 HR’s

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      Last year would be the past.

      • ferrets_bueller

        LMFAO. Details, details.

    • kubphan82

      Where did Joey Bautista come from? How about C.Granderson going from 30 to 24… And last year to 41? Lance Berkman had no business hitting 30HR last year… Fact is that last year is not a predictor for next year, because of injury, protection in a lineup, opportunity, et al.

  • 2much2say

    With drop off in production which current players dropped off the most and which increased the most? Is it possible the Juicers get off the juice once they get the “Money”
    The juicers continue until they get paid. The ones who got paid still juice out of pride?
    Got paid: Adam Dunn, Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth to name a few
    Want to get paid: Bautista,

    • pakman23

      Bautista got paid last year, and still CRUSHED.

  • 2much2say

    Theo says he is not shopping Garza and looks forward to seeing him on the mound.
    Garza not going anywhere. Fielder back on the burner?

    • Matt

      Sounds like a diversion tactic to me.

      Not actively shopping him? Sure, ok. Fielding any and all calls regarding a trade for him? Yep.

      We’re sitting pretty either way this thing goes. Either sign him to an extension, or reap the mother load of prospects.

  • Cubsin

    No, he said he’s not shopping Garza every day, and that some of the press reports were overblown.

    Garza was available for the right package of prospects several weeks ago, and he’s just as available today. Jed and Theo have let the interested teams know what it would take to get him. If one of them caves, he’s gone. If none do, he stays put. I doubt that they have significantly changed the asking price, but they may have made adjustments to reflect the acquistion of Rizzo. We wouldn’t have much need for the Yankees PH/C/1B now, would we?

  • 2much2say

    If you keep Garza then you sign Fielder and Cespedes
    Dejesus
    Castro
    Soriano/Byrd/Cespedes
    Fielder
    Soto
    Byrd/Soriano
    Stewart
    Barney

  • Skinner

    Even if we keep Garza, there’s almost no chance of Fielder imo.

    Theo and Jed love Rizzo. They want him to be the guy so they can pay peanuts for top shelf first base production and shift resources to other areas where there is less talent. If the Cubs are shelling out the bucks for a first baseman, it will be in two years, when Rizzo has not developed like they hoped, and Joey Votto (a more complete player than Fielder) hits the market.

  • al

    Fielder will never play for the Cubs. Ron Paul will be president before Fielder is signed by the Cubs.

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