Kerry Wood talking with multiple clubs as deal with Cubs “far from done”

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Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported Friday afternoon that the Cubs and Kerry Wood were getting closer on a one-year deal, but Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com is hearing that the veteran right-hander is still talking to multiple clubs and that a deal with Chicago is “far from done.”

Wood left a lot of money on table last offseason to sign a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Cubs, but the 34-year-old reportedly wants a market value contract this winter after posting a 3.35 ERA and 57/21 K/BB ratio over 51 innings in 2011 while setting up for closer Carlos Marmol.

His opinion may have changed now that the club is headed for a full-scale rebuild, but Wood said after undergoing knee surgery last September that he would retire if the Cubs didn’t bring him back.

Mariners sign Ichiro to a minor league deal

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USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the Mariners will sign Ichiro Suzuki to a minor-league deal. If he makes the roster he’ll make $750,000. At least until he retires.

I say that because it seems quite clear that the idea here, telegraphed since last season, is to activate Ichiro for the Mariners’ series against the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo on March 20-21 and for hoopla surrounding it all. The Mariners and A’s will have a 28-man roster for that series, which is officially part of the regular season schedule, but it will be pared back down to 25 once games begin in the United States.

Suzuki, 45, hit .205/.255/.205 in 47 plate appearances through May 2 last season, at which point he agreed to be deactivated to join the Mariners’ front office. Many assumed Ichiro would announce his retirement later that season or during the offseason, but the Japan Series soon crystalized as an obvious way for him to offer his final farewell to both his American and his Japanese fans.

Unless of course he goes 6-10 with three doubles in that series, at which point everyone will be tempted to keep him on the roster past Japan. Which, given the Mariners’ rebuild and likely poor performance this coming season, wouldn’t exactly be hurting anyone, would it?