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Cubs free-agent target: Alex Wood

The former Reds, Braves and Dodgers lefty would look pretty good in the Cubs rotation, at the right price.

Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Alex Wood was the Braves’ second-round pick in the 2012 Draft. (Comparison point: The Cubs chose Duane Underwood Jr. in that round.)

He put together a couple of good years in Atlanta and then was part of a massive three-team deal with the Marlins and Dodgers (that was largely a bunch of salary dumps) where he wound up in Los Angeles. After 2½ good years there, L.A. sent him in yet another salary dump deal (Matt Kemp’s) to the Reds.

Wood suffered a back injury in spring training in 2019 and missed almost the entire season, finally returning at the end of July. He made seven starts in July and August, most of which weren’t all that good, and then was shut down for the rest of the year. His best start was probably the last one he made this past season: August 29 vs. the Marlins, where he allowed three runs in six innings and struck out eight [VIDEO].

So to suggest the Cubs sign him is a risk. The back injury obviously affected him greatly. On the other hand, it’s a back injury, not an arm injury, and perhaps by spring training 2020 it would have healed up and he could resume playing at his previous level.

In order to sign a player with an injury like this, you’d probably have to start with a low base and put incentives in the deal. Wood made $2.8 million, $6 million and $9.65 million in his three arbitration years, winning an arb case against the Reds in 2019.

Here’s what I would offer him: A one-year deal with a $3 million base salary and $1.5 million each for every 10 starts he makes. Thus if he has a 30 (or more) start season, he’d make $7.5 million. That sounds about right for someone coming off the injury he has. In addition, I’d include an $11 million team option for 2021 with a $1 million buyout, and the option would vest if he makes 30 starts in 2020.

For the player, that would be a two-year, $18.5 million contract if he’s healthy enough to get back to his previous level of performance. For the team, it commits only $4 million over the two years if he can’t make the incentives.

Would you do something like this for Alex Wood? At his peak he was about a 3-WAR starter. The Cubs could use one of those. Wood turns 29 in January, so he’s not old, and this is only a two-year commitment.

Worth considering, anyway. Hey, the Cubs have had pretty good luck over the years with pitchers named “Wood.” Why not try another one?


The contract proposal for Alex Wood in this article is...

This poll is closed

  • 71%
    ... a good one for both player and team
    (368 votes)
  • 26%
    ... not worth it for a guy with that injury history
    (136 votes)
  • 1%
    ... something else (leave in comments)
    (10 votes)
514 votes total Vote Now