Kerry Wood wants a raise, but is he deserving of one?

Jon Paul Morosi tweeted that Kerry Wood would like a raise. My first thought was this: why would the Cubs give him a raise if his only other option is to retire? Wood has said he’ll retire or play for the Cubs so I see no reason to offer more money than the $1.5 million he earned last year. My second thought was this: is he even worth a raise? If he is worth one then I could at least understand giving him one, but if he isn’t then I want nothing to do with giving Wood a raise. The Cubs aren’t a charity so whether or not he gets a raise is dependent on whether or not he deserves one. It’s also dependent on whether or not there is a market for him and Wood has eliminated that himself.

We’ll focus only on his value though. Last year he was worth 0.5 rWAR and 0.5 fWAR. He also threw 51 innings, which is a rather high total for Wood. A few years ago his 3.35 ERA would have looked quite good, but last year the league average ERA in the NL was 3.81. Replacement level for a reliever isn’t much worse than league average, but it’s league average as a reliever. The reliever ERA was 3.59. Wood wasn’t much better than the league average reliever and therefore not a whole lot better than replacement level.

Going back to 2009 he’s been worth only .4 rWAR and 1.1 fWAR. Over the last 3 years he’s barely been better than a replacement level reliever. CAIRO projects a 3.59 FIP and 0.5 WAR. Bill James projects a 3.87 FIP. Using the last 3 years and these projections we can see there’s no way you could reasonably expect Kerry Wood to provide more than .5 WAR in 2012. He’s getting older so I’d probably even say that’s wishful thinking.

The value of the win is about $4.5 million to $5 million so he is worth a raise, but I wouldn’t give him one. He’s definitely not good enough to deserve a raise in my opinion. The Cubs have Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol at the end of the bullpen and there’s no reason to think that Andrew Cashner or even Jeff Samardzija couldn’t provide what Wood does. If I’m the Cubs, I offer Wood the same $1.5 million and tell him to take it or leave it. Wood has hurt his own value in limiting the market to one team. I wouldn’t call $2.5 million a bad deal, but i don’t think it’s a good one either. Anything over $2.5 million is a bad contract though.

Personally, I’d prefer the Cubs just move on and save the $1.5 million. Wood doesn’t add much or anything at all to this team at this point in his career.


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