Wood showing why Cubs traded for him

June, 25, 2012
6/25/12
11:20
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- After Travis Wood's most effective outing as a Cub, maybe it is time to take another look at the trade that brought the left-hander to Chicago last winter.

Wood threw seven shutout innings against the New York Mets in Monday night’s 6-1 win and now has posted a 2.27 ERA in June, winning his last two starts.

[+] EnlargeTravis Wood
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesTravis Wood pitched seven strong innings for the Cubs on Monday.
President of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer have taken a beating in baseball circles for trading Sean Marshall, one of the top setup men in the game, for Wood, who spent most of the first two months of the season in the minors. In fact, up until recently the pair of Cubs executives still had to defend the logic in moving Marshall a year before his free agent status kicked in.

“One thing we fight over the years is judging anything on spring training,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “There is just time that has to happen in development and hitters are usually ahead of pitchers so you don’t jump the gun too quick.”

Wood became too predictable with his cut fastball in 2011, a pitch that was his ticket to the big leagues in 2010. The adjustments have taken time and, to the staff’s credit, they let the left-hander stay at Triple A until he had mastered some of his command problems.

“The time down there was actually very useful,” Wood said. “I worked on things I needed to and was able to iron some things out.”

Marshall signed a three-year, $16.5 million deal with the Reds for a job well done over the previous three seasons, but Epstein and company may prove to be on top of their game in taking a shot on a 25-year-old lefthander who may be in the Cubs rotation for a long time.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Anthony Rizzo
BA HR RBI R
.285 25 59 71
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Rizzo 25
RBIA. Rizzo 59
RA. Rizzo 71
OPSA. Rizzo .907
WJ. Hammel 8
ERAJ. Samardzija 2.83
SOT. Wood 108