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.

Marco Estrada signs a one-year, $13 million deal for 2018

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Marco Estrada and the Blue Jays have agreed to a one-year, $13 million extension with the Blue Jays, reports Jon Morosi of MLB.com. Last night Morosi reported that the sides were near a deal.

This extension is, functionally, like adding a year on to his old deal, which paid him $26 million for the 2016-17 seasons. As Bill noted last night. while the 34-year-old right-hander has a subpar 4.84 ERA on the season, he has a solid 170/67 K/BB ratio in 176.2 innings this year and has improved in the second half.

The Red Sox will air anti-racism PSA before games beginning next week

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Adrian Walker of the Boston Globe reports that the Boston Red Sox will air an anti-racism public service announcement at Fenway Park before their game on September 28. This is part of a large campaign backed by the Sox, the Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics, New England Patriots and New England Revolution “featuring athletes calling on fans to take a stand against racism and hate speech at sports venues.”

This comes in the wake of a group of protesters hanging an anti-racism banner in Fenway Park last week which, in turn came a few months after Adam Jones, like many visiting players of color before him, claimed that racial epithets were hurled at him by fans in the Fenway bleachers.

Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy tells the globe that the Jones incident is what inspired the PSA campaign:

“When the incidents in May occurred, one of the first things we recognized was sports teams are high-profile, and we have the opportunity to help lead a high-level discussion around this,” he said. “We wanted to take the lead in taking a stand against racism.”