Today the Texas native signed a 1 year, $4.2 million incentive filled deal to pitch for the Cubs in 2008. According to Jim Hendry, Wood had the opportunity to go elsewhere for more years and more money. In the end it's safe to say Wood gave the Cubs a "home town discount". Here is what Kerry said about the deal:
"It's flattering, and it shows the hard work paid off," Wood said of the bids, "but Chicago's my home, and Chicago's been great to me, and obviously there's no better place to play than Chicago, especially if you're winning, and that's been the plan."
In recent days it began to seem as if Woody would go elsewhere. Paul Sullivan wrote this on November 20th:
The longer Kerry Wood remains on the free-agent market, the less likely it appears he will return to the Cubs.
Several teams have courted Wood, including Boston, which wants him to be the primary right-handed setup man for closer Jonathan Papelbon.
General manager Jim Hendry said he has spoken with Wood's agent frequently, but couldn't say whether returning to the Cubs is Wood's priority, as Wood said it was last winter when he became a free agent.
"Kerry is getting a lot of action around the industry," Hendry said. "We're hopeful he'll want to remain a Cub. I believe, probably before we get to the winter meetings [Dec. 3], this will be brought to a conclusion. We certainly would like to have him back, and hopefully it'll work out."
I cannot give you a fair thought on this deal. I am prejudiced, I like Kerry Wood. For all of the guys injury issues he's a guy that I want to see succeed. I want to see him do that in a Cubs uniform. So I guess this guy is right. I know all of the downside possibilities. The Cubs make Wood the closer and he gets injured, etc... Still I think for $4.2 million the Cubs ae making a small investment in a player that can do a good job coming out of the pen. Will it pan out that way? Let's hope so.
And just for fun, here's some video from May 1998: