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Sunday, September 25th, 2016

ASK THE ZONER: KERRY WOOD

8

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?

  • http://sharapovasthigh.blogspot.com Sharapova’s Thigh

    Honestly, I fully believe Wood would’ve accepted. He and Sarah absolutely loved Chicago, and wanted to raise their kids there. As she said a few months ago on CSN, Kerry’s been there over half his life, it’s where they fell in love, it’ s where they wanted to raise their kids as she said how they loved the schools for the kids, and it’s where they wanted Kerry to end his career. She was the most upset over all this news. He would’ve taken the 1 year deal, and hoped to sign long term when the new ownership is settled and there’s hopefully more money to work with long term.

    Unfortunately, it’s a business, and the bottom line is the Cubs bigger need is a bat. If the 3-6 million or whatever it is that we saved was needed for the bat, then I think this was the right move. I’ll take Ibanez and Gregg over Wood and Teahen, just to use an example of what the difference could be. Of course, we’ll never really know.

    You could be right about Lou, but I think this was more a of a business decision that Hendry had to make given our stupid budget. Hendry loves Kerry like a son and there’s no way he’d rather have Gregg than Kerry. This ownership crap is driving me nuts.

    Good blog Zoner as always.

  • Schmidty

    I read the same thing on Lou…maybe Mitchell’s column? Still though…even if he’s got four months in him, Lou doesn’t balance the books and shouldn’t care if they pay someone $30M or $400K for a season. If Woody gets hurt, he goes on the shelf. You’ve got a decent arm as long as he’s there and if he signs elsewhere, hopefully you’ve got a future ML player in the minors. I don’t buy the Lou thing (though I understand his frustration, if that’s the case). It’s gotta be Hendry’s doing and I agree with both of you in that they probably thought Wood would take the arbitration and then that’d be money they think they can spend elsewhere. Just a gamble, but plays into the “window is closing” running of this team right now. I think the Bo-Sox have shown how to actually run a team for the short and long-terms…Cubbies just want that one elusive WS winner, which is still such a long-shot.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    I didn’t read the Mitchell item. But you have to think a manager of Lou’s stature has some say so on the roster. Furthermore, if a GM knows a manager does not want a player on his team, do you think he’ll pay him 6-10 million if he thinks the manager won’t want to use him?

    Plus Hendry already said the payroll would be higher next season, and they some money coming off the books. So I don’t think it prevents them from doing something in right field.

    Of course, I still say Fukudome should be the everyday player there.

    Thanks for the comments.

  • dhaab

    I just want to know why Pineilla doesn’t want to use Wood? What did he do wrong? It’s not as if Marmol didn’t have bad stretches last season when he was having trouble getting guys out. If it really is true that he just won’t use him, it simply doesn’t make any sense at all to me.

    I’m fairly sure that more than a few Cubs fans will be a bit ticked off next year when the team doesn’t have two stud flamethrowers to close out the 8th and 9th. I know as a Cards fan, I’m sure happy they didn’t offer arbitration. Now, the Cubs don’t even get an extra first round draft pick as compensation.

    As for the financial aspect, since when does the Cubs organization give a damn about saving money? And why would they choose this particular player to go cheap with? Yes, he’s been injured in the past, but none of his arm problems have come up for a long time now. Bottom line, he’s a great guy who loves playing in Chicago and gives his all every single game. Overall, he’s a very good closer. Not sure what more an organization would want.

  • http://zonersports.com The Zoner

    That’s why it’s hard to figure it. If it was Hendry that didn’t want him, wouldn’t he have done that last year? Then Wood makes the All-Star team and says he’d come back for one year and they won’t have him?

    To not get the picks–as you guys have stated–really hurts. Especially for the Cubs. Their system is cashed.

  • http://brewcrewnews.com/ Brew Crew News

    It might be because the Cubs year after year pay a ton of money for their team and cannot manage to get past the first round of the playoffs. You are seeing teams like the Yankees do a similar action. Get rid of the old, stale players that are getting paid a ton and look at new faces for the future. The Cubs have to respond to getting swept by the NL West, arguably the worst division in the past two season, two seasons in a row. Lou does not want it to be 2108 before the next win.

    Smart move, IMHO.

  • dhaab
  • Schmidty

    HA, Brew Crew! Don’t disagree but I don’t think it was Wood’s fault they couldn’t get out of the first round the last two years…the ball never made it far enough down the line to him to earn a save, LOL!

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