Kerry Wood is coming home. According to multiple reports, the Chicago Cubs have signed setup man Wood to a one-year, $1.5 million deal. There aren’t words to describe how excellent this news is, even for a relatively minor move.
First, the contract is jaw-droppingly small. Wood was reported to be seeking a multi-year deal worth at least $6 million per year. He wasn’t going to get that much, but in a Winter that’s seen the Jesse Crain’s and Scott Downs’s of the world get more than $10 million and more than one year, the signing is an absolute coup. In fact, it’s so small that I can’t help but feel like the Cubs may have taken advantage of Wood’s desire to return to Chicago (he reportedly turned down millions more from other teams, including the White Sox). But then I remember that he’s a millionaire many times over, and I’m happy again.
Second, the move adds a much-needed solid, veteran setup man to the bullpen. Wood was absolutely dominant with the Yankees last year, after a year and a half of mediocrity in Cleveland. A return to the National League bodes well for Wood, so long as he remains healthy. Additionally, the signing frees up a potential move for Andrew Cashner to the rotation, if he’s ready.
Third, it’s just nice to have Woody back. Is he getting older? Yes. Is a reliever going to make or break the Cubs’ 2011 season? No. But you know what? Sometimes it’s all right to be sentimental. Why are we fans in the first place? Because we enjoy the Chicago Cubs. And I don’t know about you, but I have always really liked and respected Kerry Wood. Thus, even if the Cubs suck in 2011, I’ll enjoy the season just a tiny bit more now that he’s returned.
Welcome back, Kerry.