Kerry Wood Signing with Chicago Cubs: An Offer That Theo Epstein Couldn't Refuse

Bob WarjaSenior Writer IJanuary 15, 2012

HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 15: Pitcher Kerry Wood #34 of the Chicago Cubs delivers a pitch to the Houston Astros in the ninth inning of their 4-3 victory on August 15, 2011 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Eric Christian Smith/Getty Images)
Eric Christian Smith/Getty Images

In the NFL, they hand out yellow flags for interference. In Chicago, it is hailed as a great move. Such is the love affair known as the Kid K phenomenon with the Cubs.

Cubs owner Tom Ricketts admittedly got involved to make sure that Wood re-signed with the team, essentially telling Theo Epstein to offer more money and make it happen.

Cubs fans, you may love Woody, but this is not a good thing if it becomes a trend. One of the reasons that Epstein wanted out of Boston was the meddling president Larry Lucchino.

When Epstein was hired, Ricketts promised to leave the baseball decisions to the baseball people. But clearly he let his emotions get involved in this one.

Just as Wood was about to take a physical with another team—and yes this is the same Kerry Wood who said he wanted to play with the Cubs or retire—Ricketts forced Jed Hoyer's hand and increased the Cubs offer.

Now, this is not a bad decision, as I like Wood and think he still can be useful when healthy. But let's face it, Wood isn't the same guy who once struck out 20 batters vs. the Astros.

This Wood is a set-up man who gets hurt. If there's one certainty in life other than death and taxes, it is that Wood will land on the disabled list every season.

Get out of Theo's way, please.
Get out of Theo's way, please.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

But the thing that really bothers me is not that they re-signed Wood—as I said, I feel it's a good move—it's that Ricketts not only interfered, he seemed to criticize Epstein and Hoyer in the process.

"I'm not sure why the timing ended up the way it did," Ricketts said at the team's annual convention. "We probably could have had that conversation a month ago. My gut would just say that (Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer) were focused on everything else that was going on. We probably could have done it a little sooner."


I mean, you just hired the guy and you already are getting in his business and offering criticism? Look, Ricketts was fortunate to get these guys, here's hoping he doesn't screw this up.

I know Cubs fans love Wood and that Ricketts wants to fill the seats, but let your baseball people make business decisions that are in the best interests of the organization and not out of sentiment.

 "Just because we are friendly and he's more than just a regular player. He really means a lot to the organization. But like I always say, this is a baseball decision made by the baseball people. Going into the future, I hope Kerry will always be a part of the Cub organization."

If that isn't emotions talking, I don't know what is. In my world, if Wood wanted to leave, he should have been allowed to do so. He owes them nothing and the Cubs owe him nothing.

However, if anyone does owe anyone something, it's Wood, who was paid millions and millions of dollars to spend a lot of time on the disabled list. And yet he was holding out for more?

Well, baseball is a business as we are reminded again. Except when emotions get involved.