Talks with Wood gaining momentum
Well, things happen fast around here. Now I’m hearing the Indians might actually be close to landing Kerry Wood with a two-year contract. The length of the Tribe’s offer is unconfirmed — and the money is a question mark, as well — but I do know there is some definite momentum right now with Wood and the Tribe.
Wood went 5-4 with a 3.26 ERA and 34 saves in 65 appearances for the Cubs last season. He struck out 84 batters and walked 18 in 66 1/3 innings. Wood has a long history of arm troubles that subsided when the Cubs moved him to the bullpen permanently in 2007.
If the Indians sign Wood, they would move youngster Jensen Lewis, who saved 13 games down the stretch in '08, back to a setup role.
Be sure to check out Indians.com throughout the day as this story develops.
UPDATE: One thing worth mentioning here. Wood is a Type A free agent, but the Indians wouldn't lose any Draft picks if they signed him, because the Cubs didn't offer him salary arbitration. I've heard the Cubs didn't offer arbitration because Wood, who really wanted to stay in Chicago, indicated that he might accept it.
UPDATE No. 2 (3:30 p.m. ET): This thing is legit. I'm hearing it's two years and an option and could be done as soon as today (though, obviously, Wood would have to go through a physical and paperwork and all that fun stuff). Wood's agent isn't talking to the press today, so any on-the-record information would have to come from the Indians. Shapiro is having his daily session with reporters in a few hours.
UPDATE No. 3 (5:45 p.m. ET): Just to clarify here, the deal will not be completed today. It's going to take a few days, if not longer, because of the aforementioned physical/paperwork logistics. But I remain cautiously confident in telling you Kerry Wood will be a member of the Indians soon.
UPDATE No. 4 (8:00 p.m. ET): As you might imagine, Mark Shapiro did not confirm the impending Wood deal. It is the Indians' long-standing policy not to comment on deals until they are done, and, as I wrote before, this deal isn't done.
But Shapiro has been pretty forthcoming all winter in saying the Indians hadn't made any offers, and he didn't say that today. His tone shifted to the next stage, which is that he won't comment on any offers made. Here's the meat of what he had to say:
"Nothing constructive comes out of commenting on negotiations. The one thing I will do is confirm that we have interest in guys. Kerry Wood is one of a number of guys we are interested in. As far as completion and numbers, I'm not going to comment on anything until the completion of a deal. It's not constructive to the process."