Source: Cubs, Kerry Wood not close yet

Updated: January 9, 2012, 3:58 PM ET
By Bruce Levine | ESPNChicago.com

Kerry Wood may not be back with the Chicago Cubs in 2012, as the two sides can't agree on money or length of contract at this point, a major league source told ESPNChicago on Sunday night.

Wood, a free agent, also told NBC-5 Chicago television on Sunday night that he'll make a decision on where he will pitch next season by Friday, which, ironically, is the day that the Cubs' 26th annual Cubs Convention begins.

Wood told the television station that a week ago he was confident he would sign with the Cubs, but now he's not sure where he'll pitch.

The Philadelphia Phillies are one team that is interested in the 34-year-old reliever, according to a report from ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick on Sunday. Wood told reporters last September that he wasn't planning on leaving the Cubs, and that if he didn't pitch for the Cubs in 2012 he would most likely retire.

Wood signed a $1.5 million deal with the Cubs last season, leaving a two-year, $10 million contract offer from the Chicago White Sox and a one-year, $5 million offer from the Boston Red Sox on the table.

Wood and then-Cubs general manager Jim Hendry agreed to the under-market deal in order to help out the team, which was cutting payroll, and to re-establish Wood's relationship with the Cubs.

Before re-signing with the Cubs last season, Wood sat down with team chairman Tom Ricketts for their first ever face-to-face meeting, during which Ricketts told Wood that after his career ends he'll have a job with the Cubs for as long as he wants to be associated with the team. According to MLB sources, Ricketts didn't go into detail as to what the pitcher would be doing, however, Wood left the meeting feeling that he'd be an ambassador for the team in some capacity when he retired.

The Cubs will not receive compensation for Wood if he signs elsewhere because the team did not offer him arbitration.

Wood, the Cubs No. 1 pick in the 1995 June draft, spent the first 11 years of his career in the organization before signing a two-year, $20 million contract with the Cleveland Indians before the 2009 season. Wood was traded on July 31, 2010 to the New York Yankees before becoming a free agent in 2011.

Wood was 3-5 with a 3.35 ERA in 55 games for the Cubs last season. He suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee mid-September and had successful arthroscopic surgery on Sept. 30.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.

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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