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Jim Hendry’s Off Season

By bullpenbrian - January 12, 2011 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

How do you feel about Jim Hendry’s off-season so far? The ‘Big Three’ on his to-do list have been scratched off.

He landed Carlos Pena, the left-handed hitting first baseman: Kerry Wood, the quality bullpen arm, and Matt Garza, a solid No.3 starter. And better, Hendry’s done all this for around $16-million.

Of course, Hendry’s taking a gamble on all three–Pena having a rebound year, Wood’s injury history and the prospects dealt for Garza.

But on the plus side, Hendry’s added some much-needed veteran presence in the clubhouse, limited Pena’s deal to one-year, signed Wood for the right price and landed a legit starter under contract through 2013.

Given these moves the Cubs have a chance to compete in 2011. So what’s not to like?

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Kerry Wood Poll

By bullpenbrian - December 17, 2010 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.
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Rothschild At Blame For Prior & Wood?

By bullpenbrian - November 23, 2010 - 12:01 am 15 comments.

Dusty Baker is blamed for the downfall of both Mark Prior and Kerry Wood.
But what about former Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild?

Baker, of course, controlled the reins on how many pitches each threw and when they came out of the game. But does Larry get a free pass for not fixing the mechanical issues of Prior and Wood?

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Should Cubs Bring Back Wood?

By bullpenbrian - October 29, 2010 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

The Yankees have declined its $11M option on Kerry Wood, and the Cubs’ bullpen is thin and in need of quality arms.

For the right price, which is nowhere near $11M, I’d consider bringing Wood back. Put him in a set-up role and let the young guys do the heavy lifting.

Chicago fell out of the race early last year when Esmailin Caridad failed to get the ball to Marmol. Wood, who was an All Star during his last season with the Cubs, could be that stop gap.

Although Andrew Cashner finished strong down the stretch, it’s impossible to have a too many good arms in relief. Wood to Cashner to Marmol sounds good to me. How about you?

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Kerry Wood’s Clean Upper Lip

By bullpenbrian - October 26, 2010 - 12:01 am 6 comments.

SI.com

It hit me Friday when I saw Kerry Wood pitching for the Yankees just how close he had come to making the World Series again. But for the second time, Wood was on the wrong side of the upset.

It’s been seven long years since the 2003 NLCS. Wood was then, 26, and coming off his best season to date–(14-11), 3.20 ERA and 266 strikeouts.

Now he’s a well-worn 33-year-old, clean shaven and pitching in a set-up role.
But to make it this far, despite all the setbacks, is a credit to Wood’s character.

He’s handled the highs and lows like a pro, and by reinventing himself from dominate starter to a reliable setup man, he’s carved out a niche to stay in the game.

Wood’s calm demeanor and experience make him a perfect fit in New York. His long road back from arm recoveries has hardened him for the league’s toughest market.

What criticism hasn’t Wood heard about his game, his toughness, his durability that the New York media could say to rattle him? Nothing.

I know not all Cubs fans share my soft spot for Kerry, that the names Wood and Prior are haunting terms in Wrigleyville, names better left unsaid, names to be forgotten. But I still root for Wood, even despite his pindtripes and clean upper lip.

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Former Cubs In The Playoffs

By bullpenbrian - October 11, 2010 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

I didn’t expect Dusty Baker’s Reds to knock off the Phillies in the NLDS. But I was hopeful Baker’s bunch would at least have a good showing. That, of course, didn’t happen with Philly making a clean 3-0 sweep.

Although the Reds managed more errors (7) than runs (4), there’s no shame losing a short series against the likes of Halladay, Oswalt & Hamels.

Cincinnati, however, was primed for a Game 2 victory before costly fielding mistakes allowed a four-run lead to evaporate. Sorry Baker-haters, but you can’t blame Dusty for losing the ball in the lights!

Former Cubs in the playoffs:

Derrek Lee, ATL: 2-for-12 (.167), 2-R, 0-HR, 0-RBI, 1-BB, 5-K.

Mike Fontenot, SF: 1-for-4 (.250), 1-R, 1-3B, 0-BB, 1-K.

Kerry Wood, NYY: (0-0) 3-Games, 4.50 ERA, 2.0 IP, 1-ER, 4-H, 2-BB, 3-K.

Kyle Farnsworth, ATL: (0-0) 2-Games, 0.00 ERA, 2.0 IP, 0-ER, 1-H, 1-BB, 1-K.

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Kerry Wood Status Quo

By bullpenbrian - March 22, 2010 - 1:00 am Leave a comment.

Kerry Wood’s spent 12 seasons in the bigs. He’s also made 12 trips to the DL, and a 13th is in the making.

Prognosis: a strained muscle below his lower right shoulder–out 6-8 weeks.

The Indians had to know this was coming. But they still forked over $20.5M for two-years. Foolish.

Last season the 32-year-old went 3-3, 4.25 ERA, and 20-of-26 in save chances. Decent, but clearly not worth the money.

My guess, given Wood makes a full recovery, is the Tribe eats some of the contract and deals Kerry by the end of July. Somebody will take him, I just hope the Cubs are not that desperate.

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Neal Cotts No Longer A Cub

By bullpenbrian - January 5, 2010 - 1:15 am Leave a comment.

Neal Cotts never compared to Ryan Dempster or Kerry Wood on the mound. But what they do share in common, however, is Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery.

Dempster and Wood both rebounded to find success in the big leagues. Cotts went under the knife in July and his return, obviously, is yet to be determined.

But if, in fact, Cotts rebounds it won’t be with the Cubs. The lefty signed a minor league contract with Pittsburgh on Monday.

The signing officially ends his two year stay on the North Side where he failed to win a single game (0-5) while posting a 4.97 ERA.

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Some Cubbie Swagger!

By bullpenbrian - June 20, 2009 - 2:07 am Leave a comment.

Clevelandcubs

At last, some Cubbie swagger!

We’ll all remember the Cubs’ three consecutive walk-off wins if they make the postseason.

Had they gone the other way, however, the Cubs would have been in a world of hurt. Instead, they’re just 2.5 games back of first place St. Louis.

Another steal sets the table for a walk-off win–Fukudome stealing second base after leading off the 13th with a single.

I’d like to see Lou run his guys more often. There’s no reason Theriot, Soriano, and Fukudome shouldn’t be on the move after reaching base.

Ever since Soriano’s hot start fizzled out and Aramis went down, the Cubs have been without a clutch hitter. It’s been the root of their problems offensively.

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Chief Woody

By bullpenbrian - December 15, 2008 - 12:45 am Leave a comment.

I’m surprised teams like Milwaukee and St. Louis let Kerry Wood sign with Cleveland, 2-years for $20.5 million.

After the Brewers fell out of the CC race, as expected, I figured they’d give Wood a call, and the Cards led MLB in blown saves last season.

Wouldn’t Wood be an awfully good closer as a guy who knows the NL Central winning Cubs better than any pitcher on the free-agent market?

Woody finished 2008 (34-40) in saves opportunities with a (5-4) record and 3.26 ERA, far better than anyone the Brewers or Cardinals have penciled in for closing games in 2009.

Nonetheless, the Tribe is a fantastic fit for Kerry…as a club overall they’re super talented and especially in the pen.

Setting up Wood next season is Jensen Lewis, Rafael Perez, Rafael Betancourt and newly acquired Joe Smith (NYM).

Remember, two seasons ago the Indians were one game away from reaching the World Series…Wood is the final piece to a club that will be knocking on the door to the post season again next season as well.

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