Kerry Wood put together a solid year in his first full season as a closer in 2008. Wood, the oldest tenured Cub, avoided the DL for the majority of the year and now the pitcher formerly known as Kid K figures to file for free agency and test the open market.
The Cubs have said they want the 1998 NL Rookie of the Year to return to the only organization he has ever pitched for, but according to Ken Rosenthal, the length of the contract the Cubs are willing to offer, compared to what he may be offered from another club, might spell the end of the Kerry Wood Era in Chicago. Rosenthal mentioned before Game 5 1/2 on Wednesday evening that, “keeping Wood could become problematic if teams offer him three of more years in free agency.” Rosenthal stated the Mets “like Wood” but his injury history “likely will deter most teams from making long-term offers.” According to Rosenthal, the Mets are already on the hook to Billy Wagner for $10.5 million next year and likely would not risk having two closers on the shelf.
Seeing Wood in another uniform would be comparable to Michael Jordan finishing his career in a Wizards’ jersey, but Jim Hendry must do what is right for the team and not out of loyalty to one of the organization’s all-time fan favorites.
A long-term deal might keep Wood in blue pinstripes but it also may handcuff the organization with another big contract down the road….as well as keeping them from making improvements in other areas that must be addressed this off-season.
If Kerry Wood can remain healthy, he can help the Chicago Cubs win games….