Kerry Wood and the Chicago Cubs: It's Time to Part Ways

Darrell HorwitzSenior Writer IIApril 14, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 06: Pitcher Kerry Wood #34 of the Chicago Cubs looks on from the dugout against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 6, 2011 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Kerry Wood was a great story in his day, and is among the most beloved Chicago Cubs, but his expiration date has past. The only reason he was brought back was to appease the fans and the owner.

Wood garnered the loudest ovation at the Cub Convention with the "surprise" announcement that he had just signed a contract.

It was a public relations coup, but not so much for the parent club. On a team not expected to go anywhere, why bring back a soon-to-be 35-year-old setup-man?

Wouldn't it be better to spend that $3 million on someone who could help you in the future? Maybe develop a young pitcher into that role who will be there when you can hopefully contend in a few years.

It was good to see Wood have a good outing on Friday. After his disastrous earlier outings that blew two winnable games, if Wood is going to be an asset to the Cubs, it's as a trade chip.

I couldn't find anything on his contract about if there is a no-trade clause or not, but the only way his signing made sense from a team standpoint is if there wasn't.

Wood is an iconic Cub, along with the likes of Ernie Banks and Ryne Sandberg. Ever since he struck out 20 Houston Astros in just his fifth major-league start, he's been a darling at Wrigley Field.

He looked like he was on the way to a Hall-of-Fame career after winning the Rookie of the Year award in 1998, but injuries derailed him. He became the poster boy for unfulfilled expectations.

Along with Mark Prior, he almost led the Cubs to the World Series in 2003, but he lost Game 7 against the Florida Marlins that year in the NLCS. That started the downfall of the team and seemingly his career.

He's no longer a starter because of the stress it put on his arm. Going to the bullpen saved his career, but he's been beset by injuries on a regular basis.

Wood is a reminder of everything that went wrong for the organization, and in a way, everything that has been wrong with the Cubs for over a hundred years.

Cubs fans don't need a mascot. That's all Wood is for them now.

If he pitches better, he might help them win a few games, but they're better off losing.

Since baseball changed what you can and can't do this year when it comes to signing players and offering bonuses, they might as well be real bad so they can get a top draft pick next year.

That's the future—not Kerry Wood.

It's time to stop the pandering and playing to the crowd and time to start getting on with the business of building a team.

Cubs fans aren't buying losing 8-1 anymore as being a good day as long as Sammy Sosa hit a homer. The culture has changed, as have the prices. The Cubs have the third-highest-priced ticket in baseball.

That's too much money to pay to watch the past. If you want Kerry Wood in the organization, hire him as a coach or for the broadcast team. I'm all for that.

But for the future of the Cubs, please say goodbye to him as a baseball player.