ASK THE ZONER: KERRY WOOD
Valued reader Schmidty asks in the comments section:
“Why did the Cubs not offer arbitration to Woodsie? Is the specter of him coming back for one year if he took it THAT bad? He’s a Type A free agent and when signed elsewhere would have at least gotten the Cubs a high draft pick to help rebuild their TERRIBLE system!”
Schmidty, I think there is only one answer for all of this Wood business: Lou Piniella does not want him on the team. Is there any other logical explanation for this? If so, someone let me hear it.
I’m guessing Unca Lou was none too pleased with the whole blister deal from last season. And let’s face it, Piniella has been around a long time and knows Wood’s history. Even though Wood saved 30+ games last year, he will always be an unknown quantity from year to year. And that goes for both performance and health.
After Hendry came on local radio and said that Woody and he were BFF, and Woody deserved to go get a huge, multi-year deal for his family, Wood came back and said he would have signed for one year. He added he would have done close to anything to remain on the Cubs.
Hendry had the chance to offer him arbitration and did not. My guess is he will spout something about the economy and the pending sale of the team. But not many will buy that.
It’s true that the market is flooded with closers, and giving up the draft picks might be a deterrent for some other club signing Wood. But as Schmidty points out, would Wood coming back for one more season be so horrible?
There is still an outside chance Wood could sign with the Cubs. If that were the case I could understand why Hendry doesn’t offer him arbitration, because he will sign him for much cheaper. The only other thing I can think of–and it certainly is wishful thinkng–is that the Cubs still think they have a shot at Jake Peavy and he has a big contract for the next several seasons. Perhaps they would not be ableto take on Peavy and Wood’s salaries.
But I really think it’s Lou Piniella. I’m not saying he doesn’t like Wood, but I don’t think he wants him here.
Thoughts, Cubs fans?