Thursday, December 16, 2010
Source: Kerry Wood set to rejoin Cubs
By Bruce Levine
CHICAGO -- Right-handed pitcher Kerry Wood will return to his roots with the Chicago Cubs pending a favorable physical report by Cubs team doctors, according to a source familiar with the situation.
The base salary for Wood's one-year contract will be $1.5 million, according to a major league source. The deal is still not complete and there are some minor details to work out on the contract, including performance and award bonuses, according to the source.
Wood and his family were determined to make the Cubs the final stop on a career that began when the Cubs made him the No. 4 overall pick in 1995.
It appears the team will be able to add even more pitching because Wood's deal will be manageable in terms of the Cubs' budget, according to a source.
Wood, who pitched for the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees last season, had offers from the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, according to the source, and reportedly from the Chicago White Sox.
Wood and his wife Sarah decided last year that the family would move back to Chicago full time when their children started school. The Woods have their home in Arizona up for sale.
The family has maintained a residence in Chicago, even after the pitcher signed a two-year, $20 million deal with the Indians in the fall of 2008. Over his career, Wood has made over $50 million from the Cubs. This time around money doesn't appear to be an issue.
An announcement of Wood's signing could come as early as Friday after the pitcher takes his physical, and after the Players Association and Major League Baseball sign off on the agreement, the source said.
The return of Wood creates a solid bullpen for the Cubs and provides new manager Mike Quade the flexibility to move right-hander Andrew Cashner into the rotation if necessary.
If Cubs general manager Jim Hendry can trade for or sign a starting pitcher, then Cashner can stay in a bullpen that includes closer Carlos Marmol, left-handed setup men Sean Marshall and John Grabow, and right-handed setup men Wood and Cashner.
Wood's leadership ability and experience should be a nice addition to the 2011 Cubs. Cashner, James Russell, Scott Maine and the growth of other young bullpen hopefuls will be aided by Wood's presence on the field and in the clubhouse.
Bruce Levine covers baseball for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.