Earlier Tuesday, Carrie Muskat posted this article at cubs.com hinting that the Cubs might re-sign Travis Wood. His versatility at being able to switch from the bullpen to the rotation, or throw multiple innings in a relief assignment, are possible reasons for this.
But the article didn’t go into any detail as to why the Cubs, who appeared ready to amicably part ways with Wood, would now be looking to re-sign him.
Ken Rosenthal’s article at FoxSports.com elaborates:
Right-hander Tyson Ross is taking a methodical approach to his free-agent decision, weighing rehabilitation possibilities as well as contractual structures as he recovers from thoracic-outlet surgery, sources say.
The Cubs and Rangers are considered the front-runners for Ross, who likely will command a relatively low base salary after pitching just 5 1/3 innings in 2016.
The Cubs, if they fail to sign Ross, might consider a reunion with left-hander Travis Wood, sources say. Ross offers more upside, but Cubs officials continue to hold Wood in high regard.
Well, that makes more sense. Ross seems to be taking quite a bit of time to decide where he’s going to sign, and I can understand that; Rosenthal’s explanation makes a lot of sense.
But we are getting fairly close to pitcher and catcher report dates. Cubs batterymates are due in camp February 14, with their first workout the next day. That’s just five weeks from today, so I can see why the Cubs might turn back to Wood as depth.
Besides, there’s this:
As a Cub, Wood has pitched in 220 games (94 starts) over five seasons with a 3.94 ERA, 1.267 WHIP and has posted 5.1 bWAR. He’s hit .197/.230/.324 as a Cub; in 213 at-bats he has six doubles and seven home runs (not including the above NLDS homer against the Giants). Offensively he’s been worth 2.2 bWAR, which is pretty impressive for a pitcher.
Wood made $6.175 million last year. On a one-year deal he might not cost more than $8 million, probably worth doing.
Rosenthal’s article also includes this note:
The defending World Series champions still might add another bench player as well, someone they could option to the minors and use as depth.
The Cubs did already sign Munenori Kawasaki to a minor-league deal for depth. Among other position players who might qualify under that description are Daniel Descalso, Luis Valbuena, Adam Rosales and Stephen Drew. (Note, I’m not necessarily advocating for any of those guys to be signed, only that they fit the description.)