Since the Cubs won the World Series last November, it has been pretty much assumed by most observers that Travis Wood, eligible for free agency, would likely leave the Cubs. Wood wasn’t assured a starting-rotation role, and it appeared other teams might offer him that.
A month went by, then two, now three, and Wood is still not employed by any team. Then, Sunday night, came this:
Rosenthal’s generally one of the more reliable national reporters, so I trust this information. It says “offers.” Whether that’s a typo or the Cubs have actually made multiple offers to Wood isn’t clear. And not just one, but two, mystery teams are apparently involved!
Travis Wood is a useful pitcher. He put up decent numbers in 77 relief appearances (2.95 ERA, 1.131 WHIP) even though his peripherals weren’t great (4.54 FIP). He was worth 0.5 bWAR, meaning by that measure he was just above replacement value. He can throw multiple innings (like this outstanding four-inning outing last May 30) and could start in an emergency.
However, Wood provides value beyond pitching. He was 1-for-2 as a pinch-hitter, served as a pinch-runner three times and, memorably, played left field:
This provides not just amusement value, but real flexibility for Joe Maddon, who as we know prizes such flexibility.
It isn’t clear what kind of offer has been made to Wood. The 40-man roster is currently full, although it’s certainly possible that some pitchers (Jack Leathersich, Brett Anderson) could start the year on the 60-day DL, or Caleb Smith could be offered back to the Yankees. Theo & Co. are very good with roster Jenga, so if they can make a deal with Wood, they’ll figure out a way to get him on the roster.
If Wood does re-sign with the Cubs, will he make a triumphant appearance at Sloan Park’s back fields like Dexter Fowler did last year?
If so, maybe he’ll do it shirtless.