He’s back, Chicago: Cubs close to deal with Kerry Wood

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Here’s an interesting one.

According to David Kaplan of Chicago Now, the Cubs are moving toward the finalization of a deal with free agent reliever Kerry Wood.

Wood spent the first 10 years of his professional career with the Cubbies and was a force in their starting rotation from 2001-2004.  But injuries hit him toward the end of the decade and he was forced to move to the bullpen.

Now 33 years old, the right-hander posted a 1.23 ERA and 0.69 WHIP over 26 innings this year for the Yankees.  He should do a fine job as a setup man for Carlos Marmol on the north side of Chicago in 2011.

It might have the feel of a bad PR move, but Wood has built himself into a reliable eighth-inning reliever and the Cubs have spent in worse ways and on worse players.

He was believed to be seeking a two-year contract worth $12 million.  As long as Jim Hendry and Co. didn’t go to three years, they can feel good about adding to a bullpen that was in need of an upgrade.

UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com is now confirming the report.  This baby is real.

Angels acquire Jabari Blash from the Yankees

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The Yankees announced on Wednesday that the club traded outfielder Jabari Blash to the Angels in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Blash, 28, was acquired by the Yankees from the Padres back in December in the Chase Headley trade. In trading Blash to the Angels, the Yankees were able to free up a spot on the 40-man roster for Brandon Drury, the infielder they acquired as part of a three-team trade with the Diamondbacks and Rays on Tuesday.

Over parts of two seasons in the majors, Blash has hit an underwhelming .200/.323/.336 in 279 plate appearances. He will try to play his way into a bench role for the Angels this spring.