Wood speaks of an "obligation" to the fans and the Cubs:
"I know I haven't given this organization or the fans or this team what they paid for two, three years ago,'' Wood said in an interview with WGN-AM (720). ''As a player, you feel -- you don't want to say 'guilty' -- but you [don't] feel like you've done your job and earned your money and gone out and done what you're supposed to do. There's an obligation there, absolutely.
''This organization has given me everything I've got and gave me a chance to play baseball, and they drafted me. There's definitely loyalty here. I love Chicago, I love the fans, I love the stadium, I love Wrigley Field. I love everything about the situation I'm in, but I understand the reality of the game. Hopefully, it'll be only one conversation [with general manager Jim Hendry]. We'll talk and decide what's best for the organization and best for me, and hopefully that's staying here.''
You have to hand it to Kerry he says all of the right things. Could you imagine a certain football player or another oft-injured RHP talking about loyalty and earning their paycheck? Here boys and girls is the difference between Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. With all of Kerry's faults, there still is that part of him that I really like. His personality and bluntness is something we rarely see in today's athlete's. Remember when Wood gave us this after Game 7 of the 2003 NLCS:
"You guys have to understand -- about 30 minutes ago, I choked," Wood said. "That's the bottom line, I choked. That's about all I've got right now."
He says all of the right things. All the frustration that we feel as fans he feels and expresses it as a player. To say the least, it's refreshing.
So in a perfect world, Wood will go to the bullpen on an incentive deal. He'll earn the closers role and replace the Cubs joker of a closer from this season. Yeah that would be just great. Unfortunately the Cubs and the perfect world only collide once a century.
This is where my emotion of fear comes in. Yeah, I don't mind if the Cubs wanna sign Wood to an incentive deal and throw him in the bullpen. I have no doubt that Wood could probably do a decent job coming out of the bullpen. The fear that I have is that our Cruller eating friend will once again go into a season expecting an injury plagued pitcher to be a major contributor. (Fool me four times, shame on 40,000 ass clowns.)
If Cruller Jim approaches next season with Kerry Wood in the bullpen do you think he will approach the season planning that Wood will not be healthy? Every thing the Cubs will ever get out of Wood should not be expected. It's a bonus. History tells me that ain't the way Jim Hendry operates.
So even though he's saying all of the right things, and personally I enjoy watching Kerry Wood pitch--when healthy, I think it's in the best interest of this club to pay Kerry his $3 million buyout and let him find a spot in another teams pen.