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.
The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.
Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.
While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.