Kerry Wood Goes Home

December 17, 2010 – 1:07 pm

Kerry WoodKerry Wood has now become the first significant loss from the 2010 team, signing an incredibly “cheap” one-year $1.5M contract with the Chicago Cubbies. I’m a bit surprised that the reaction in Yankee land has been pretty much ho-hum — maybe that’s because it was expected? Or maybe everyone is still somewhat in shock over losing Cliff Lee? I dunno, but I for one was hoping to see Wood back in pinstripes, if at all possible. As far as the setup guys for Mariano Rivera go, statistically he was somewhere between Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson — Wood’s FIP was 3.39 compared to Joba’s 2.98 and Robertson’s 3.58. But what I liked about Wood is that he always seemed to get the job done. In 24 appearances, he held the other team scoreless in 22 of them — that’s a 92% “success” rate. I know there are a lot of better stats for evaluating pitchers, but for relievers it always seemed to me that their primary job was to simply keep the other team from scoring for the inning or two they were in there. And clearly Wood did an excellent job of that. Chamberlain, on the other hand, only held the other team scoreless 71% of the time and for Robertson it was 78%.

I also was thinking that with the failure to land Lee and with no other good starters available, the Yankees might take yet another shot at making Chamberlain a starter. Yeah, I know, most folks think that’s no longer in the realm of possibility — but I still see Joba as one big question mark, sometimes showing just as much potential to be a starter as he does a setup man. And maybe that’s the big problem with him — not enough consistency at any role. By re-signing Wood, that would at least have given the Yankees the luxury of re-thinking Joba as a starter should they want to. But with Wood gone, seems like now Joba’s role as a setup man is more inevitable.

But in the end, it would seem that Wood wasn’t coming back to the Yankees regardless. Given how little he got from Chicago, you have to believe Cashman was offering significantly more dollars. But like Cliff Lee and the Phillies, looks like Wood had his mind made up where he wanted to end up, and the money was very much a secondary consideration. So good for him — nice to see pro athletes putting higher priorities on other things other than cash. Good luck with the Cubbies, Kerry!

Photo: Yahoo! Sports

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