Bruce Levine tweeted out the news that the Cubs were close to signing a pitcher! But it’s not Kerry Wood, it’s Paul Maholm. Ken Rosenthal has also now chimed in with a similar tweet, so I would imagine we will get to ask Paul Maholm if he’s excited to be a Cub at the Cubs Convention later this week.
On a scale of positivity, this news falls somewhere between the Cubs trading for a top prospect like Anthony Rizzo and our star shortstop allegedly sexually assaulting someone.
Meanwhile, Kerry Wood and the Cubs may need another lovable former Cub to die so they can get together at the funeral and come to a resolution. Wood reportedly wants $4 million for the year and I can understand why the Cubs wouldn’t want to pay that for a reliever that is likely going to have few leads to protect.
In a vacuum, paying Wood that kind of money doesn’t make sense. He is probably not anywhere close to being worth 1 WAR anymore and that is what he would have to do to earn that money on the baseball field.
But if Wood is sent packing to another team, that is going to rile the fan base who believe that Kerry should have been a lifelong Cub. In their minds, a great wrong was righted last year, and tearing Wood away now will piss them off something fierce. It isn’t rational, but it is there.
Do the Cubs have the luxury of turning off a good number of fans so much that they decide they don’t want Cubs tickets before they even start losing games? Nobody bought tickets to see Wood pitch anymore, but he was a part of their existence as Cubs fans. If you take that away, there really isn’t another player onto which they can cling as the modern Mr. Cub. They may just lose interest.
So I’m not advocating the Cubs sign Wood to the contract, but there is more going on here than just what Wood can provide on a baseball field. Theo knows he’s going to have to do some things that are unpopular and he needs to decide if this is a battle where he wants to stand his ground.
My gut says Wood will end up signing for something like $3.2 million right before the Cubs Convention.