It’s going to be weird to see Kerry Wood with a “K. Wood” on the back of his jersey.

With Travis Wood now in the fold, Woody may have to differentiate himself a bit – which sounds a lot like what he might have to do on the mound if he wants to keep his setup job.

Wood, who turns 35 in June, is expected to serve as the Cubs’ primary setup man this year, coming off a 3.35, 51 inning season in 2011, in which he struck out 57, and sported a 1.294 WHIP. Not elite numbers, but certainly adequate. He did have six blown saves against just 21 holds, which could obviously stand to be improved.

So, how will Wood look in 2012? Assuming he stays healthy – always a fair question with Woody – it’s fair to expect another solid, if unspectacular, season. His FIP and xFIP last year were 3.59 and 3.85, respectively, so it’s not as though his 3.35 ERA was entirely a product of luck or exceptional fielding.

Various projections have him with an ERA in the mid-to-upper 3s, which would make him just about worth his $3 million salary, but far from a lockdown 8th inning guy. It’s possible that, by the end of the year, Wood will have yielded 8th inning duties to one of the younger righties coming up through the system (someone like Rafael Dolis or even Trey McNutt), or someone with a big arm who can’t crack the rotation (someone like Jeff Samardzija or Chris Carpenter).

Projections, of course, don’t take into account the value Wood brings to the Cubs by virtue of his mere presence. He’s as good a mentor as you’d want on a young team, and, although hard to quantify, that has value. Whether it’s teaching kids how to conduct themselves on and off the field, or teaching a young pitcher how to approach a particular hitter, Wood is going to help the Cubs this year.

For his part, Wood feels like he’s in good shape and good health, and is prepared to help the Cubs when he’s actually got the ball in his hand.

“The knee is great,” Wood told reporters, referring to a minor knee surgery that ended his 2011 season in September. “I am 100 percent, no problems and it has been that way for a month or so. I’ve been throwing off the mound for a while now and feel great.”

Wood added that he’s open to whatever role he’s given, though manager Dale Sveum has indicated Wood will be his 8th inning guy.

“Whatever they want me to do,” Wood said Wednesday. “I just come in and get guys out, whether it’s the seventh inning or eighth inning or fifth inning, whatever they need. I’ll go in there and get my guys out and give the ball to the next person.”

  • SirCub

    “What can we expect from Kerry Wood this year?”

    Awesome bunting skillz.

  • Luke

    You’ve got a reference to Carpenter as still in the Cubs’ system up there. Feel free to delete this when you patch it.

    • Edwin

      This site has really gone down in quality since Ace left and Brett took over.

      • TWC

        I miss that guy.

    • Brett

      It was supposed to be struck-through as a joke, does it not show up? Sometimes different browsers don’t “see” the strike-through or maybe I screwed it up. I should probably stop using it. Trying again.

      • BD

        I see it now (using IE9)

      • Luke

        Now the strike through is showing.

        • Brett

          Yeah, I think I screwed it up initially. Crisis averted.

  • LWeb23

    Never even thought about the jersey situation. That is going to be really weird to see…,value%5BK+WOOD%5D&set=key%5Bnumber%5D,value%5B34%5D&set=key%5Bdisplaysize%5D,value%5B500%5D&load=url%5B

    Also, with all the talk of Samardzija trying for the rotation, anyone else think Woody would be a great mentor, specifically for him?

    • Luke

      Dempster should also be good for him.

      • CubFan Paul

        Does samardzija have any options left? if he makes real progress this spring as a starter Iowa would be very beneficial to him & the club. He could fine tune his stuff til Garza & Dempster (maybe maholm too) are traded in July to contenders.

        As a rebuilding club I’d like to see samardzija, Rusin, and maybe mcNutt join wood and volstad in the rotation in august/september -all upside guys (no randy wells or casey coleman aka hendry’s cheap arms)

  • Stan

    “or someone with a big arm who can’t crack the rotation (someone like Jeff Samardzija or Chris Carpenter).”

    Really, Brett? Really?

  • jim

    Wood no longer throws curves. Fastball n cutter guy now.

  • florida Al

    too sensitive…..leave the strike thru!!

  • Reality Check

    After reading last nights comments I felt compelled to add my two cents regarding the better news drama.. This is the good ol’ US of A boys, and in this country we are all entitled to free speech. Nobody forces any of you to read his comments, or respond to them, “choose” to. If I have to listen to the mindless ramblings of a bunch of nerds who’s opinions aren’t worth a crap, then better news should be able to talk about pot pies all he wants. I don’t agree with what the guy says a lot of the time, but man what a bunch of sensitive little girls you guys are, getting all personally offended. What a bunch of wimps. Apparently Brett wants a site full of guys like ferret, doc, and goat, who all agree with one another and nobody contradicts anyone. Honestly I’m more offended by doc and ferrets lack of common sense than anything better news has ever said. I guess now the mob will brand me a troll and gang up on me but you know what…I’m not a kittle wimp and I don’t cry about it so bring it on!! Free speech baby, gotta love it!!

    • Brett

      Your understanding of what the right to free speech includes is as mistaken as your impression of what I “want.” I believe I’ve made the latter very clear, and it doesn’t require agreeing with me or anyone else. It requires only simple respect for the community and each other.

      • bluekoolaidaholic

        Nicely said Brett, I’m with ya.

    • Deer

      Nicely said Reality, I’m with ya

    • TWC

      He has the right to say anything and everything he wants.  But he doesn’t have the right to do it here.  Can you walk into a daycare and describe pornographic acts to 4-year-olds?  Sure, you can.  But you’ll also get your ass kicked out, “First Amendment rights” and all.

      • Frank

        Not to be a nitpicker, but what you’ve described is the ability to say “anything and everything” one might want–not the right, which in fact, doesn’t exist. The two are not the same. That he will get kicked off–point well taken.

        • TWC

          You’re entirely correct.  I concede that in the interest of brevity I spoke too generally.

  • Reality Check

    And I’m not picking a fight with you Brett, I enjoy ur site, and compliment you on doing a great job, but really we can police ourselves and people shouldn’t be removed just because you don’t like someone’s opinion. Funny how everyone blasts better news for being rude, but then they turn around and call the guy every terrible thing you can think of, all of which is allowed, by you.. Unless you just want to turn this into a site for you and your “friends”.. I hope not, I enjoy the banter, and the more whacky it gets the more fun it gets! Keep up the good work dude, but don’t take away free speech!!

    • Brett

      No one ever has been – or ever will be – removed from the community for offering an opinion with which I don’t agree. That’s not my style, and never will be. If I didn’t want to hear dissenting voices, I wouldn’t be discussing this with you. Only a very small handful of folks have been removed, and all were removed only after a long-standing track record of repeated offenses. Let’s just move on.

  • Reality Check

    I’ve been called a troll, an idiot, a moron, and lots of other colorful things, just for giving my baseball opinion, and nobody was reprimanded for how they spoke to me, it just seems like a lot of guys on here who share similar opinions tend to form a “mob” mentality, and jump all over the “new” guy when he gives his two cents.. Obviously I’m not saying it’s ok to be totally vulgar, but I’ve never seen better news post anything comparable to discussing sex acts to kindergarteners.. I’m pretty sure we’re all adults here..

    • TWC

      “… but I’ve never seen better news post anything comparable to discussing sex acts to kindergarteners..”

      Who said he did?  I was using the analogy to illustrate your lack of understanding of what “free speech” means.

    • Brian

      As a new reader and responder, I have not seen anything from a BetterNews post that was worth the time to post. Never has it had any benefit statistically or other wise. Garza is NOT getting traded was over done a thousand times. An opinion yes, once is enough, though and he kept rehashing what was blatently wrong until it makes you want to pull your hair out, this just to generate a rise out of others.

    • Ol’CharlieBrown

      “it just seems like a lot of guys on here who share similar opinions tend to form a “mob” mentality, and jump all over the “new” guy when he gives his two cents”

      This is something I’ve definitely noticed around here… Which is why I rarely comment anymore (not that anyone misses my comments). I used to like coming here to read the articles Brett writes and to read the thoughts and opinions of my fellows Cub fans, but I rarely read through the comments anymore. I typically come now only to read the articles and sometimes look at the “Recent Comments” that show up on the right. It used to be fun getting involved in debates about the Cubs without it turning personal. I liked reading everyone’s thoughts on THE CUBS, but it feels like there is more argument and conflict than there is productive conversation. Maybe it’s just been an aggravating off-season and once the season starts we can get back to talking baseball like adults. Can’t the “BN trolls” and the “BN police” just stop feeding each other? Go Cubs!

    • polocubs

      i have to say, i agree. i have posted here just a few times, and the very first time i did (while giving a simple opinion), i was jumped on by a long time, and respected member here. i think some of you would be surprised who that member was. i will be very careful from now on as to whether i post again or not. for the life of me, i can not understand why, if you dont like comments that some people make, that you just dont ignore it. instead many feed the situation and drag it on to the extent that im sure some no longer even want to read any further. i find this site very informative. i have learned so much from the many knowledgeable people here. but from everything i have seen, there is no reason to banish anyone. ignore the distastefull comments and move on

  • RWakild

    Have seen some comments about how this site has gone downhill. In my opinion, it is a fantastic site. Go Cubs!!!

    • TWC


    • DannyBallgame

      I dig the site too. So long as we all refrain from name calling and blatantly insensitive comments, there is no reason not to enjoy a good debate about our beloved Cubs.

      • Brett

        This is spot on. Debate is good. Personal stuff and intolerance is not – that goes for everyone.

  • Matt

    I normally just read here, but feel compelled to speak here. One of the most annoying things to me is when people talk up free speech without really understanding what the first amendment guarantees. The first amendment guarantees protection from the government as far as free speech goes. From what I understand, nobody got arrested or anything of that sort for anything they said. Organizations are allowed to create their own rules governing what is deemed apropriate as far as speech goes, and they can legally remove people for saying that.

    Also, freedom of speech goes for multiple people. Outside of Brett having the right to remove people who he feels are being disrespectful to other members, that person also isn’t guaranteed immunity from being told they’re wrong, or on other sites, ridiculed for what they say. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone on an internet forum say something stupid or wrong, have people tell them how wrong they are, and then throw out the free speech card.

    This has just become a pet peeve of mine, the horrible way people throw the term “freedom of speech” out like it’s a trump card. Honestly, if you’re trying to have an honest debate with someone and cannot keep it civil, then it only makes you look like the fool. If you have to resort to name calling (like Reality Check does multiple times above in what started all of this), then you’re not going to look intelligent and will not be taken seriously until you clean it up (like he did with his most recent post). That’s life, that’s adulthood. On top of that, if someone is going to act like a fool in debate and not remain civil, they will likely look the part of the troll and be treated as such. People want to come here for an intelligent discussion on the team, and people who are going to ruin that experience for those people should be removed. I’ve seen dissenting opinions be greeted openly here on numerous occasions, but when they’re not kept in a civil manner they’re going to be treated as they should.

    • Beer Baron

      Agree 100%. Nicely said.

    • MichiganGoat

      Matt you should really comment more, this was wonderfully stated. My students love to scream freedom of speech as the excuse for 99% of what they say but ignore the consequences that go along with saying those things in a place they don’t own. “Ignorance is not an excuse for behavior” is something I love to tell students when they don’t understand what they are doing.

    • Dave H

      I could not agree more.

    • patrick

      Kudos Matt. I’m as competitive as the next guy, however, i have learned to sharpen my point of view not my tongue. Civility calls for us to concede a valid point and refrain from attacks to proclaim a “victory” when our position isn’t touted as better, correct or the gospel. Someitmes, opposing views can be presented and even understood by the other side and still disagreed with. (gasp)

    • DannyBallgame

      Agreed. It is merely the difference between sharing differentiating opinions and going after someone on a personal level to start a fight.

  • Edgar

    I agree that one what he says is wrong and he may offend some of you. But I dont agree that the once he posts something most of you gang up on him and the keeps going. Honestly some of you guys are older and should know how to deal with stuff like that. You know that if you contradict him he is going to keep going till he cant go no more, you guys should just state you point and go on with your lifes. Theres no need to keep bashing him over and over. Doing this tells me that you guys arent mature either. Everyone has different opinions and he is entitled to his. I am in no way defending him, I do agree he is a total moron and that he should be banned from this site because he is taking away quality from this awesome site. I know we all come here to read Bretts articles and then discuss things with other people. But some of you completely go down to his level and do the same trolling he is doing to you, to him.

    • Spencer

      I feel compelled to agree with you, Edgar. A perfect example was this week when BetterNews was clearly wrong about some of Ryne Sandberg’s statistics. Immediately, TWC and MG (who are awesome people, fun to talk to/follow on Twitter, and have discussions with about nonsensical topics) went ON and ON and ON about how wrong he was to the point where I was actually starting to feel sorry for him. MG, I don’t know how many times you have posted on this site or Twitter saying something to the effect of “I will no longer respond to BetterNews”, only to succumb to responding to him the very next day. Why do that? As Edgar says, many of the people on this site are likely older than him and should have more experience in dealing with him. Furthermore, it is unbelievable how much a “troll” got under the skin of some of the regular posters on this site. If you’ve been anywhere on the Internet, you should know that trolls exist, but that hardly means you should continuously respond and bitch and moan about how awful they are. Was BetterNews bad? Yes, of course he was. Was he bringing down the quality of the site? Yes, of course. But as Edgar indicates, posters here continually responded to him, belittled him at every possible turn, and stooped to his level. People that did that are not innocent in this matter either.

      • TWC

        Two things that I regret about that episode: #1 I neglected my work duties to engage, and #2 I called him a nitwit.  I shouldn’t have done either.

        But you can bet that if Ace posted some BS about Ryno’s early career numbers that were completely incorrect, I — and many others, I would hope — would be all over him to correct it.

        • polocubs

          why would you have to be all over him in order to correct him? simply make your response, with your facts, in a respectful manner, and move on

          • Brian

            BetterNews- wouldn’t leave it alone. Their were two+ tangoing in this mess.

          • TWC

            I just went back and re-read the exchange(s).  To be honest, considering all the doubling (and tripling-) down he was doing, I feel think my responses were quite restrained and related to the facts (the exception being my aforementioned ‘nitwit’ crack).  You may disagree.  That’s fine.  I’d like to move on.

        • Dave H

          I too have neglected work on too many occasions also. I was completely astounded that the “discussion” continued that late last night. I really believe if things are kept from getting to name calling then you can still have a good discussion. MG’s comments towards Betternews were merely about his math on Sandberg’s stats. Maybe “nitwit” wasn’t called for but it was certainly how he was acting.

          I love this site. I never would want to say anything derogatory to anyone personally here. I may not like their stances but I can understand them. However if you can’t do simple math, or at least understand it, then watch what you say.

        • Edgar

          TWC i like you dude. but you and MG went completely over it. Now I didnt see the whole thing but I was able to see how bad you guys were bashing him. Like I said now you guys were trolling on him! Now I know his math skills arent great and that he is a stubborn person but to go that far, I dont think it was necessary.

          • Brian

            I believe you can recap the entire deal on here yet. Don’t single(pair) out TWC & MG, you need to include BetterNews in this going overboard discussion also.

            • Sweetjamesjones

              True that Brian. A lot of people have just started coming to this site and have not witnessed the continuous trolling from Betternews. Its been going on for months and when you continue to act like an ass then you should expect to be treated like one too.

              If anything just drop it already and bring on the bunt tournament.

    • Matt

      I largely agree with you here. Nobody should be ganging up on them any time they say anything. It is a subpar display of behavior for them to do this. However, at the same time it’s what he has brought upon himself with his behavior thus far. There’s a certain expectation as to how he is going to act as soon as they see that name and they go right into the mode it’s felt worked best against them. I don’t totally condone it, but it’s very understandable for any person to act in that way. Again though, at the same time I’ve always felt that things said on boards like this should be kept to a case by case basis. If what they say becomes too much of a problem then they should eventually just be ignored.

  • BetterNewsV2.0

    I agreed Goat.

    • jerry

      lol… love the new improved name.

  • Spencer

    The First Amendment is easily one of the most complex and intricate legal concepts around, and, as Matt said, is overused in everyday vernacular. The majority of people that talk about First Amendment protections have likely never studied what the First Amendment actually means, only that it’s a cool and trendy thing to shout during an argument.

  • Bobo Justis

    I live near Lincoln Park Zoo, and an animal handler there said to me that when they want an animal to stop a behavior they simply look away. Engagement encourages bad behavior.

    She said it works on her husband too.

    • oehly37

      ha, that explains what my wife is doing! thanks man

    • Dave H

      Do you think that that would work for daughters?

      • necusfan

        This is the course of action my wife and I take when our normally angelic 5 year old daughter is having a tantrum. My wife has her masters degree in early childhood education and her mantra is “just don’t engage her”. It works! I’m glad we first chose her Idea over mine, which was to defenestrate her.

  • DannyBallgame

    Soooooooooo, any ideas on who will be our other utility infielder? Is there a chance that DeWitt makes the club after being DFA? Is Cardenes penciled in there or does he still have options left?

    • Mick

      Can I put in a plug for Matt Tolbert? I’m excited to see him in some Spring Training action. Hopefully he sticks and the Cubs ship DeWitt elsewhere.

      • DannyBallgame

        Whats his story? I’m not all that familiar with him.

        • Mick

          He grew up in the Twins’ organization and served as their utility for 4 years. Never had that break out season or showed immense promise and his last 3 years’ stats showed regression. BUT, he’s solid defensively, can play all positions, has a high baseball IQ, switch hits, works pitchers deep into the count, and can steal a few bases. I think Sveum will love the kid for his work ethic and baseball IQ and if he doesn’t make the squad out of Spring Training he’ll probably be the first man up from AAA if any IF gets injured. If you get a chance to watch any Spring Training games, keep your eye out for him.

          • DannyBallgame

            Thanks for the info

          • DannyBallgame

            Thanks man

  • Bobo Justis

    Given time and good judgment this works with all mammals. By good judgment I mean that we have to realize it wouldn’t work to deter tigers from behaving in accord with thousands of years of predatory conditioning.

    At the zoo they use bars, moats, and cages to remind of us of the limitations of behavioral conditioning.

    At home and on blog sites you are on your own.

  • ferrets_bueller

    I’m sorry, but anyone defending betternews in this scenario has no credibility IMO.

    He was arguing that 1+1=5.  Either you’re defending an intentional troll, or someone so ignorant that its absurd.

    Im 99% sure it was the first case. Obvious troll is obvious.

    • Spencer

      If obvious troll is obvious, then I guess that means you never responded to such an obvious troll. Right?

  • OHBearCub

    I think its time to find another site. This site is turning into the same thing that happens at Pro Sports Daily. Anybody who voices an opinion other than the people who are on there 24/7 get ridiculed for just about anything. I might stop by and read the articles but have no desire to comment any longer. It took 40 posts of people bantering back and forth over freedom of speech. It’s Junior High BS that never stops. Over and Out!!!

  • Reality Check

    Hey Matt, clearly you have missed the point.. The point being i put up with elitist’s like you so why shouldn’t better news be allowed to contribute his two cents.. Obviously you are right, and listen I’m not an attorney, I rehabilitate aggressive dogs for a living so I’m probably not as book smart as you, but I don’t need to be to know that people on this site are wrong for getting offended and being overly sensitive.. Nobody has ever posted anything on here that “offended” me.. Lots of stuff I disagree with but nothing that offended me, because I’m not a thin skinned little wimp. Your post was a complete waste of time, you failed to address my point in any way, and instead criticized the manner in which I went about making my point. I hate guys like you, whi instead of using your brain and thinking about what my point was, you point out how your smarter than me because maybe I used a bad analogy.. But again, you are entitled to be an elitist jerk if you want to be, that doesn’t make you superior, just a douche.. Maybe try reading what I posted and try to find the meaning and the point and stop critiquing the “way” I make my point.. Not all of us are English majors or attorneys guy..Whoops, probably just got myself banned, er.. I mean, you are smart, I am troll, all hail your superior intellect and let’s be friends, an all that..

    • TWC

      “I rehabilitate aggressive dogs for a living so I’m probably not as book smart as you”

      That’s an incredibly honorable pursuit, and one that would terrify the pants off of me.

      “let’s be friends, an all that..”

      Maybe, maybe not.  But I’ll certainly respect the job that you do.

    • Matt

      I’m not going to bother any further than to point out why I’m not taking you seriously.

      1. You call me an elitist (name calling), and you have never met me or known anything about me other than 2 posts on one internet message board.

      2. You then go on to argue against me with something that I was never arguing in the first place. Better News should be able to say whatever they would like, just within the rules of the board. I said it several times, differing opinions are fine as long as they are presented in a civil manner, the same goes with opinions that go along with the rest of the group, but it’s harder to not be civil when agreeing with someone.

      3. I’m really not that book smart. I actually was a terrible student as far as dedication went until about high school. Also, I greatly respect what you do for a living as an animal lover myself.

      4. You obviously were offended when you saw the others getting offended. Why else would you have resorted to calling people names like that? You don’t call people “wimps”, “nerds”, or say that their opinions aren’t worth anything without them upsetting you first.

      5. Actually I did address the point you made. It may not have been as directly as you would have liked, and the post wasn’t just intended to be towards you, but look at my reply to Edgar above, I go more into it there. Either way, there’s a number of people who liked what I had to say and just you who calls it a waste of time. Majority isn’t always right, but this seems like a smart group of people here and I have no problem taking their word over 1 other person’s.

      6. Now you’re also saying you hate people like me when you have never once met me in your entire life. Again, I addressed your point, but it just wasn’t in the way you wanted me to. I never intended to try to make myself look smarter than anyone, just point out the flaws in your argument. Arguing the right way is very important when it comes to making your point, and when everything that supports your point in full of logical fallacies and things that are false, the main point does not have any ground to stand on. That’s nothing new or anything that only supergeniuses know.

      7. Again with the childish name calling and such. I’m not an English major or an attorney. I have a couple of business degrees and a minor in philosophy. That’s nothing too far out of the ordinary. I’m sorry if an intelligently stated argument offends you, but that’s life. You just need to pay attention to what you say and do, it’s as simple as that. Understand why you do what you do and how it impacts others. I’m no psychologist, but given the names you are calling me, I’m wondering if this isn’t some sort of feeling of inferiority on your part, which would be a shame, because I don’t think any one person is better than any other person.

      Now, due to the immaturity that you showed up there, I’m not taking you seriously right now. Do I think I’m better than you? Not necessarily, but I am behaving myself at a much more mature level here. I have never once called you any names nor done anything other than dispute the points that you have made.

  • Cubsin

    I’ve posted on this site many times since I found it a few months ago, and haven’t been bashed for any of my opinions yet.

    My approach to trolls has always been to ignore them, so I wind up scrolling very rapidly through all of the hissy fits they seem to generate here. Brett’s approach to repeat offenders is far more liberal than mine, but it’s his website, and it remains one of my favorite sources of information about the Cubs.

  • necusfan

    I hate exposing my ignorance, but what is a “troll” in this context? I thought it was either a name a coked-out Charlie Sheen called someone or a creature that lived under a bridge and ate goats. Is the latter reason why MG didn’t get along with the “troll” in question? Could it be troll as in fishing? I’m serious though, any help would be appreciated.

    • Brett

      Someone who intentionally tries to stir up trouble on a site, basically.

      • necusfan


  • Reality Check

    TWC.. Wasn’t expecting that. Nobody has ever said anything nice to me on here before, not sure how to take that..but thanks! My work is very rewarding and allows me to make my own schedule so I can watch the cubs anytime they are on.. Most people think I’m crazy but I love what I do. I appreciate the compliment. So I’m gonna bite the bullet and admit your avatar is pretty sweet.. Now let’s get back to trash talking, you’re gonna ruin my rep as a troll king with all this nice talk! Haha..

    • TWC

      “I appreciate the compliment.”

      Good.  I meant it.  Cheers.

  • MightyBear

    I think Kerry Wood is going to have a good year.

    • DannyBallgame

      I hope he stays healthy enough to pitch his 50 innings (Hopefully relinquishing his set-up job to an up and comer) and can mentor the young guys. He still has the ability to get a big out and we will need his leadership in the ‘pen.