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Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Kerry Wood is bullish on the franchise's future with Theo Epstein making the baseball decisions. His role in the future of the organization is a little less clear.
Wood has played 10 of his 12 big league seasons with the Cubs, playing for three GMs during that span. Wood appeared in the playoffs four times with the franchise. Still, he believes that the Epstein hire gets the organization past its fixation on near-misses.
"... I think more than anything else I want to have somebody there that knows about winning," Wood said Thursday's edition of "Chicago Tribune Live on Comcast SportsNet Chicago." "We have a great tradition in Chicago, a great tradition with the Cubs, but unfortunately it's a losing tradition. We have great history, but I would much rather have a history of winning than history of a stadium or a history of teams in the past that have gotten close. So I think you're bringing in a guy who knows how to win, has proven he can do it."He did it at a young age with a team that was in the same situation we were in, hasn't won in a long time. And he turned the organization around. ... I think it's about winning more than anything else."
Wood, a free agent, echoed previous statements about his desire to return to the Cubs for a 13th season Thursday. Of course, that will be determined by Epstein and new general manager Jed Hoyer.
"I met [Epstein], I was down rehabbing my knee in the clubhouse the day before he came in and did his big press conference," Wood said. "So he came in and talked to me for about 10 minutes. We plan on getting together sometime soon. ... We plan on getting together and talking a little bit and we just go from there. I'm sure he wants to pick my brain a little bit on the history of the organization. I'm honored that he wants to do that. I'm sure we'll talk about my status at some point is as well. I expect to be back and be a part of the organization and help us go in the right direction."
Woods' role with the club may extend beyond the playing field, however. A major league source told ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine in January that Wood was told in a meeting with Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts that he could be a part of the organization for as long as he likes after his playing days are over.
Wood posted a 3.35 ERA in 55 appearances out of the bullpen for the Cubs in 2011. His 1,464 strikeouts as a Cub rank him third in franchise history.