ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported Saturday that free agent right-hander Kerry Wood is no longer a lock to re-sign with the Cubs and has begun speaking to other teams. Now we have even more details.
Crasnick reported moments ago that the Phillies are among the clubs with interest in Wood, and may get aggressive if veteran setup man Jose Contreras fails to make significant progress within the next few weeks from his September elbow surgery.
Wood posted a solid 3.35 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 57/21 K/BB ratio in 51 innings last season for the Cubs. He accepted a team-friendly one-year, $1.5 million contract last offseason to return to Chicago, but may have been turned off this winter by the Theo Epstein-led rebuilding movement. The 34-year-old would probably like to join the bullpen of a contending team, and the Phillies certainly fit that bill.
The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.
Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”
Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.
Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.