Chicago Cubs: Are We Witnessing the End of Kerry Wood?

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Chicago Cubs: Are We Witnessing the End of Kerry Wood?
David Banks/Getty Images
This will be the last time he uses that glove!

As Kerry Wood completed coughing up a win to the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night, he proceeded to do his best Carlos Zambrano imitation, throwing his glove and hat into the stands and becoming very surly with reporters when asked about the glove incident, courtesy of Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com..

"Irrelevant, dude, and why the (bleep) would you even bring that up?” Wood said. “You guys have a good night.” And then Wood left his locker and was done for the night.

Well, actually he was done much earlier, which brings us to a more logical question: is Kerry Wood done for his career?

Now, to be fair, it is just a bit premature to declare the end to a player's career based on one meltdown and some lousy performances. In fact, compared to Big Z, Wood's performance was practically that of a choir boy.

Heck, he didn't even punch a teammate!

But you have to keep in mind that this is Kerry Wood we're talking about.

Yes, the same pitcher who has served 15 stints on the disabled list and missed the entire 1999 season. 

The same pitcher who has a chronically sore back.

The same pitcher who has had a shoulder problem which was never operated on.

The same pitcher with an 0-2 record and a 14.54 ERA in limited service this season.

The same pitcher who may just be sick and tired of the whole thing and just wants out.

I don't know, perhaps he was just frustrated at losing the game. We all recognize that Woody is a fierce competitor. 

But I feel something else may be going on. Yes, he is still throwing hard, but his fastball is straight and he throws with maximum effort. He has seemingly lost all control.

As for the team, the starters have been, for the most part, excellent this season. Tuesday night's starter, Ryan Dempster, has a 1.02 ERA but zero wins to show for his effort. But Wood and Carlos Marmol have been awful, and the run production is lacking.

Meanwhile, Wood turns 35 next month and has earned a lot of money over his career. Maybe he's in pain (now there's a surprise) and just doesn't want to go through all that unless the results are worth it. And, in a small sample size, they certainly have not been.

Again, we must remember that this is a small sample size, so statistics mean nothing at this point of the season. But with the team going nowhere and a millionaire Wood flailing, why does he keep doing this to himself?

Prior to the season, there were unsubstantiated reports that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer may have been talked into giving in to Wood's contract demands by a certain Cubs owner who knows that his right-handed pitcher is a fan favorite.

Perhaps that left a bad taste in Wood's mouth, to go along with that shoulder pain, and it's time for Woody to call it a career.

Personally, I've always liked the guy and admired his toughness. But his career will always be one of extreme frustration. In a way, this meltdown was a long time coming for Wood, who went from young, flame-throwing, starting phenom to a bit setup man on a losing team.

It has been a long, torturous fall from the top for Wood, so maybe it was long overdue that Wood tossed his glove. But will he also throw in the towel?

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