Cubs nation was buzzing a bit last week—not because of a potential Adam Dunn signing or because they managed to trade Kosuke Fukudome for a bucket of balls, but because Jim Hendry hinted at the Cubs potentially taking a look at former closer, and fan favorite, Kerry Wood.
Wood was let go following the 2008 season, when he was replaced as the setup man following the trade for Kevin Gregg.
It was considered a mistake at the time, with Hendry giving away a pair of key role players, and class acts, in Wood and Mark DeRosa before replacing them in the clubhouse with Milton Bradley.
Wood signed with the Indians that winter on a two-year deal. His numbers were unimpressive, including an ERA over six in 2010, playing for a very poor squad in Cleveland.
However, Wood's career may have been revived after a trade to the Yankees. Many were unsure as to how Wood would perform in a crucial situation after playing with only the Cubs and Indians in his career. The fireballer rose to the occasion for New York, posting an unbelievable 0.69 ERA over 26 innings in the regular season, including 31 strikeouts.
Jim Hendry can fix an old mistake by bringing back Wood.
The Cubs bullpen was a disaster last season, letting several close games get away. Outside of Carlos Marmol and Sean Marshall, the Cubs lack reliable arms in the 'pen. Wood could be a great mentor to a young pitcher like Andrew Cashner and could present Mike Quade with a right-hander to team with the lefty Marshall in the setup role.
Of course, all of this could be much ado about nothing. While we don't expect any Blackhawks-type money issues, the Cubs have said on multiple occasions that their payroll will be lower, meaning a guy like Wood could be out of the equation when free agency is in full swing.
A fan favorite and reliable bullpen arm, if brought in at the right price, Wood presents Hendry with an option that he almost can't afford to pass up.