As expected, Chicago Cubs closer filed for free agency. He joins several other Chicago Cubs players to file for free agency, most notably Ryan Dempster the Cubs most reliable starter during the 2008 season.
Kerry Wood closed 34 games for the Cubs in 2008. He pitched in 65 games for the Cubs and racked up an impressive 66 1/3 innings. Wood struck out 84 batters, walked only 18 and held opponents to a .219 batting average against. Although Wood is an injury risk, his ability to last the entire season in 2008 (save for a nagging blister injury on his throwing hand that cost him a few weeks in August) shows that he has what it takes to remain a solid reliever for the foreseeable future. Wood shed a lot of weight during the off-season preceding the 2008 campaign, and has developed a great work regimen to strengthen his right shoulder to counter-act any damage the area has sustained over the years as a MLB starter. GM Jim Hendry needs to keep Wood in the Cubs bullpen – one of the best bullpens in the National League in 2008. Wood loves playing here in Chicago and is likely willing to listen to all deals in order to stay in Chicago. The one sticking point could be the length of the contract. Other MLB clubs looking to lock up a closer long-term could throw an additional year or 2 on the back-end of a contract to lure Wood away from the Cubs. Look for Hendry and Wood’s agents to start talking very soon to work out a deal before the November 14th deadline. We expect the same to happen with Cubs starter Dempster. We believe Dempster and Wood will be large keys to any success the Cubs have in 2009.
Two other Cubs players made it official and filed for free agency on Friday, October 31st – Catcher Henry Blanco and Pitcher Jon Lieber.