Yesterday the Yankees declined their $11 million option on Kerry Wood for next season and today Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com reports that he “would be welcomed back to the Cubs organization if general manager Jim Hendry has enough money in the offseason.”
Wood was the Cubs’ first-round pick in 1998 and spent the first decade of his career in Chicago, leaving as a free agent after saving 34 games with a 3.26 ERA in his first full season as a reliever in 2008.
He signed a two-year, $20.5 million deal with the Indians, who used him as a closer when Wood was healthy enough to pitch and then shipped him to the Yankees for salary relief on July 31.
Between the regular season and playoffs Wood posted a 1.06 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 34 innings for the Yankees and at the very least multiple teams figure to pursue him as a late-inning setup man. He may even get another opportunity to close, in which case the Cubs are probably out of luck. On the other hand, Levine notes that Wood is married to a Chicago native and still owns a home there.