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Is there a chemistry problem on the North Side? Former Cubs Kerry Wood and Mark DeRosa were both curious about their former teammates when they came back to Chicago as Cleveland Indians players this weekend. I asked Wood about team chemistry in general.
"Baseball is full of good-chemistry guys," Wood said. "It's the chicken-and-the-egg. Does chemistry create winning? Or does winning create chemistry? When teams are winning, all that [talk] gets washed away."
I then asked Wood if the Cubs lacked leadership as far as he could see from afar.
"I think there's definitely leaders over there," he said. "D-Lee [first baseman Derrek Lee], and [pitcher Ryan] Dempster and [Ted Lilly] are guys who are proven leaders. In fact, they have a room full of veteran leaders. Honestly, I think they will be in the playoffs. And will be where they want to be at the end of the season."
DeRosa asked me how things were over on the North Side. He obviously misses the attention of the big city and the Cubs' aura. He did tell me that he's been working hard to be a good teammate with the Indians.
"Every time the Cubs are on TV, there's a lot of banter back and forth [with his teammates]," DeRosa said. "I'm a part of this team now, that's all that matters to me. I want to fit in with these guys."
Both Wood and DeRosa are disappointed in the Indians' slow start, as are the rest of the 23 Cleveland players. After playing on division champions the past two seasons, the harsh reality for Wood and DeRosa, that they are playing on a team in the basement of the AL Central, is a bit shocking to both players. DeRosa has heard the rumors about him possibly being traded to St. Louis, Cincinnati, Milwaukee or New York. But my perception is the only trade he really covets would be one that sends him back to Clark and Addison.