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The Chicago Trib reports that the Indians did indeed ink Kerry Wood to a 2 year deal last night.


Nice to beat out the Tigers also




Former Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood agrees to deal with Cleveland Indians

Tribune reporter Paul Sullivan contributed.

December 10, 2008

LAS VEGAS — With two teams to pick from in the American League Central, Kerry Wood appears to have rejected overtures from Detroit to take a deal with Cleveland.


Wood's decision to sign with the Indians followed closely Francisco Rodriguez's agreement with the New York Mets. Rodriguez's three-year deal, which is expected to be announced after he passes a physical, narrowed down Wood's choices.


The deal is believed to be two years with a vesting option for a third. Money terms remain unclear.


Wood fills a hole Cleveland has had at the back of its bullpen since the breakdown of Joe Borowski, a former teammate of Wood's with the Cubs. It allows Jensen Lewis to remain in a set-up role.









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More info from AC


Wood is Cleveland-bound

Kerry Wood is en route to Cleveland, with a planned arrival on Wednesday night and a planned physical on Thursday.




Should Wood pass the physical, it is expected that he will sign a two-year contract with the Indians worth just under $20 million. It is believed the contract will include an option for a third year, though it was not clear whether that option would be a club option, player option or vesting option.




The Indians are cautiously optimistic that the deal will get done, but they also know these things can fall apart in a hurry. Passing their physical is no easy task, and it's no secret Wood has had more than his share of injury woes over the years.




Knowing that a deal is never done until it's done, the Indians continue to show an interest in Mariners closer J.J. Putz, who is available on the trade front




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Guest Masters
ok... lets get some more proven starters :)


Really just need one. Carmona will be healthy, got Lee, Jake will eventually return, Laffy will be healthy and hopefully that other kid, whose name escapes me at the moment, that the Tribe picked up late last year.


Still need a 3B or every day 2B.

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Should know tomorrow:


The Indians are expected to make a decision on closer Kerry Wood on Saturday.


They've already agreed to a two-year deal worth an estimated $20 million, but won't make it official until studying the results of Wood's physical. The former Cubs right-hander was examined Thursday in Cleveland.


GM Mark Shapiro, after receiving the results of the physical Friday, was expected to make a recommendation to Indians President Paul Dolan. The final decision would rest with Dolan.





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with a better line up when 3rd and 2nd are filled. lets get a old future hall of famer to lead over the hump in the playoffs :D


And 2 more starters, there is just too much arm trouble in baseball now adays :(


I saw trot nixon taking ground balls at a college for 1st or dh. would kenny L. be a good player assistant coach?


You type like an infant.


Other than that, thanks for your contribution.




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You type like an infant.


Other than that, thanks for your contribution.





Let's give it to AC who was all over this thing from the start





Wood deal done


Kerry Wood passed his physical and has signed a two-year contract worth nearly $20 million. The contract includes a club option that has a vesting mechanism within it.


General manager Mark Shapiro will discuss the signing -- and that complicated option -- on a conference call with reporters this afternoon.





Admitedly I was a bit concerned when I read Hoynes in the PD this AM. Maybe they were just doing due dilligence. I just hope he is as healthy as he can be and can last a season and there isn't anything "unusual" about his MRI's


Tribe could decide today whether to sign Wood

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Paul Hoynes

Plain Dealer Reporter

The Indians are expected to make a decision on closer Kerry Wood today.


They've already agreed to a two-year deal worth an estimated $20 million, but won't make it official until studying the results of Wood's physical. The former Cubs right- hander was examined Thursday in Cleveland.


General Manager Mark Shapiro, after receiving the results of the physical Friday, was expected to make a recommendation to Indians President Paul Dolan. The final decision would rest with Dolan.



Wood, 31, has had several major injuries including Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder and a torn triceps muscle. The former starter moved into the closer's role last season for the Cubs and converted 34 saves in 40 opportunities.


He struck out 84 and walked 18 in 66 1/3 innings. Wood doesn't throw as hard as he did when he was striking out 200 or more batters a year in the Cubs starting rotation, but he still throws between 93 and 95 mph.


When asked if Wood was healthy, agent Pat Rooney said, "His last pitch of the year in the NL division series against the Dodgers was 97 mph."


Said Cubs manager Lou Piniella, "When Kerry Wood was right, he was very, very, very good."


If the deal goes through, Shapiro will have added a closer in Wood and a potential set-up man in Joe Smith to the Tribe's bullpen this week.




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And this interview within the story warms the cockles of my heart


"They came at me hard from Day 1. That was something I looked at. I looked at the records of the teams, and they had one of the best records in the second half. The talent is there, and it's a great city and town with solid fans and a beautiful stadium."

-- Kerry Wood





CLEVELAND -- In a deep closer's market, the Indians put Kerry Wood at the top of their wish list -- ahead of Francisco Rodriguez, Brian Fuentes and a host of others.

What the Tribe saw in Wood was a player who not only fit their need for a prototypical hard-throwing closer but also fit their clubhouse culture and quest for leadership.


"We get the best of both worlds with Kerry," general manager Mark Shapiro said.


And the Indians officially got him Saturday.


On Friday, Cleveland received the results of the physical Wood took here, and on Saturday the Indians announced that they had signed the right-handed Wood to a two-year contract worth $20.5 million. The contract includes an option for 2011 worth $11 million that vests if Wood finishes 55 games in either '09 or '10. Otherwise, it is a club option.


Signing Wood allows the Indians to push youngster Jensen Lewis, who saved 13 games down the stretch last season, into more of a setup role. Left-hander Rafael Perez is a lock for the eighth inning, and Lewis, Rafael Betancourt, newly acquired Joe Smith will vie for opportunities in the back end of what Cleveland hopes will be a much-improved 'pen.


Wood and the Indians were close to an agreement on Tuesday at the Winter Meetings, but Wood, who has been on the disabled list 12 times in 10 seasons and has had two major surgeries, first had to pass a diligent physical. The Indians also pored through his medical records.


"With what I've gone through and where I've come from and the way I threw the ball [last season], there was no doubt in my mind [a deal would get done]," Wood said. "My only concern was that they'd need a dolly or two to get [the medical report] over to them. It's pretty thick."


So, too, is Wood's résumé as a dominant arm, when healthy. He brings to the Indians a ninth-inning makeup not seen here since the days of Jose Mesa.



"We've had some guys who have been unconventional, but still effective," Shapiro said. "What Kerry does is give us that prototypical closer, as well as the temperament that Joe Borowski and Bob Wickman brought."


Still, the job is relatively new to Wood. He moved to a relief role with the Cubs in '07, and last season, when he saved 34 of 40 opportunities for the National League Central division champs, was his first as a closer.


But the 31-year-old Wood said he took a liking to the job.


"I could come in and let it go," he said. "The thing I impressed myself with was the walks and command. My command was a lot better coming in for a short time."


The numbers bear that out, as Wood struck out 84 batters and walked just 18 in 66 1/3 innings over 65 appearances last season. In all, he went 5-4 with a 3.26 ERA, and his 34 saves ranked fourth in the NL.



As good as the numbers looked, Wood also liked the way his arm felt.


"I've talked to relievers who said they felt better the morning after they throw," Wood said, "and I could never understand that, as a starter. Because it would take me every bit of four days to be able to [throw] again. After making the transition and coming out of the bullpen, I saw there's a lot of validity to it. The more I threw, the better I felt and the better I did."


Wood worked three straight days three times in '08, and he worked four straight days once. He did, however, go on the 15-day disabled list -- but that was with a blister, not an arm injury.


Of course, in previous years, arm injuries were too often par for the course for Wood.


Wood, an Irving, Texas, native, captured the attention of baseball fans when, at 20 years old, he struck out 20 Astros batters in just his fifth Major League start. He struck out more than 200 batters in four seasons from 1998-2003, including an NL-leading 266 in '03.


But Wood had Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery in 1999 and missed the entire season. In 2004, he strained his triceps and missed two months. And in 2005, he underwent shoulder surgery that limited him to just four starts the following season.


The move to the bullpen in '07 resurrected his career. Wood went 1-1 with a 3.33 ERA in 22 relief appearances down the stretch, helping the Cubs clinch a playoff berth. In Spring Training of '08, he beat out Carlos Marmol and Bob Howry for the Cubs' ninth-inning job, and he went on to become an NL All-Star.


With Marmol ready to assume the closer's job, the Cubs went in a different direction this offseason. They acquired Kevin Gregg from the Marlins as a setup man to Marmol, essentially marking the end of Wood's tenure with the Cubs, which had begun when they took him with the fourth overall pick in the 1995 First-Year Player Draft.


Wood had inquired about the possibility of a one-year contract with the Cubs, but it was not to be.


"I kinda asked my agent to see what was going on and if that was possibly in the cards," he said. "With where they were, not having an owner and [having] some back-loaded contracts, that was not part of the equation for them."


One underrated benefit to signing Wood is that the Indians don't have to give up a Draft pick to do so. Fearing Wood, who was a Type A free agent, would accept a one-year contract at a salary determined by an arbitrator, the Cubs did not offer him arbitration, thereby forfeiting their right to Draft-pick compensation.


The cuffs loosened on the closer's market when Rodriguez signed a three-year, $37 million deal with the Mets, and the Indians made a hard push for Wood at the Winter Meetings.


When it came to wooing Wood, the Indians had the benefit of special assistant to baseball operations Jason Bere, who is one of Wood's closest friends. They also had the added bonus of opening a new Spring Training facility in Goodyear, Ariz., which is not far from Wood's Scottsdale home.


"It worked out well that Cleveland is moving this year to Arizona, and obviously they're going to have a beautiful new facility," Wood said. "It was not really a factor [in signing]. It was more of a bonus when you signed."


News of Wood's impending signing generated a buzz among Indians fans this week, because Wood is easily the club's highest-profile free-agent signing in the Shapiro era.


"They came at me hard from Day 1," Wood said. "That was something I looked at. I looked at the records of the teams, and they had one of the best records in the second half. The talent is there, and it's a great city and town with solid fans and a beautiful stadium."


And, finally, a town with a closer.


Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB





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Let's give it to AC who was all over this thing from the start


Absolutely. And I apologize to Bunker for the cheap shot. It was pretty uncalled for, even coming from a jackass like myself.


As for AC, my mancrush for him is only growing. Guy is awesome.


Buzz Bissinger wrote a terrific article about Wood for the New York Times in June of 2007. It's lengthy, so I won't repost the entire thing here, but I highly recommend you check out the link at the bottom to read the whole piece. Here are just a few bits from the article:


Wood settles into a black leather chair in a conference room and opens a bottle of water. He is 6-foot-5, and thanks to Fischer’s grueling regimen of exercise, the walruslike body he once lugged around looks positively gaunt at 210 pounds. (Wood says he has lost 35 pounds.) He has a beard that is closely trimmed. His teeth are pearly white, which surprises me, maybe because he is from Texas and I have met few athletes from Texas over the age of 12 who do not dip tobacco and carry around a little Styrofoam spit cup like an appendage. Wood is seeing me because Jim Hendry, the Cubs’ general manager, interceded on my behalf; he is looking at the floor, an athlete’s telltale signal that he is only talking to you because somebody said he should.


As it turns out, Wood is accessible and expansive; the onslaught of injuries has taught him to regard his condition with a certain deadpan honesty. “I’ve been through this before,” Wood says. “I’ve been getting ready to break camp and break for the season, not a worry in the world about whether my shoulder was going to last or not, and then all of a sudden the next day I can’t put my seatbelt on.” If there was any happy news about his latest injury, it was that Wood does not require surgery (he has had three procedures since entering the majors) — only the grind of more rehab in Phoenix to reduce severe tendinitis, which afflicts him because those muscles he has developed are simply unused to the act of throwing. But the bland happy-talk you get from so many athletes is gone, too, and it is Wood who raises the inevitable question: “What keeps this from happening again?”


Anyone who followed baseball in the 1990s remembers Wood’s swagger. No pitcher in major-league history reached 1,000 strikeouts more quickly, either in games or innings pitched. He would go way inside to let the batter know who was in control, a tactic that had the benefit of expanding the outside of the plate into a thick wedge of porterhouse. He had a fastball once clocked at 102 miles per hour and a devastatingly hard curve/slurve that tumbled a foot in its journey to home plate; Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell once said of the pitch, “I got no chance.” When in a foul mood, Wood occasionally let a ball drift near a batter’s head at 96 or 97 m.p.h., a gesture that, in the euphemistic words of Cubs catcher Michael Barrett, made you feel “uncomfortable.” That was the healthy, cocksure Kerry Wood. Now he is a man in gym shorts fiddling with a bottle of water 1,800 miles from Wrigley Field.


He considered quitting after the disappointment of spring training. But he says he decided otherwise in large part because of his 17-month-old son Justin, and the slight chance that his career will last long enough for Justin to get a taste of the big-league atmosphere. “I want him to be around it,” Wood says. “I want him to be able to come into the clubhouse. I want to take him into the stadium and hit fly balls to him. I want him to be able to do that. I’m not going to be able to do that if I don’t at least give it a shot.”




When he was healthy, Wood was universally heralded by Cubs beat writers as a great source for quotes, and by the other players as a fiercely loyal teammate. (Perhaps most endearing is that Wood remains the prime suspect in the unsolved mystery of Who Destroyed Sammy Sosa’s Boom Box With a Bat, after Sosa walked out of the last game of the 2004 season.)




PITCHING A BASEBALL is, to put it mildly, a torturous and self-destructive act. Pitching is the fastest known motion in human biomechanics, the shoulder rotating at the rate of 7,200 degrees per second at its maximum, or the equivalent of 20 full revolutions per second. At the time of the ball’s release, the forces acting on the shoulder are basically equivalent to the pitcher’s body weight; they are akin to someone of similar size trying to yank his arm out of his shoulder socket. Right before release, the pitcher’s elbow straightens at a rate of 2,000 degrees per second, or the equivalent of 5.5 full revolutions per second. As Glenn Fleisig, the research director of the American Sports Medicine Institute, told me, the elbow was never designed for that type of stress. In Wood’s case, the risk of injury was only exacerbated by the way in which he learned to throw. He tended to throw across his body, which meant that he was relying almost exclusively on his arm instead of using his legs as a source of energy.




Although the act of pitching a baseball repeatedly is exceedingly stressful, doctors now generally accept that it is not the act itself that causes injury nearly so much as pitching while fatigued. A study by the American Sports Medicine Institute shows that pitchers between the ages of 16 and 20 who often throw with arm fatigue are 36 times more likely to be seriously injured than those who do not. In 20 years of research for the institute, Fleisig calls the fatigue factor “the single strongest statistical finding” he has ever encountered. Fatigue can cause a pitcher to overthrow and to alter his mechanics to compensate for the loss in power. This is why recovering from injuries is so precarious, because a pitcher often tries to find an arm slot in his delivery that doesn’t hurt, which in turn leads to using joints and muscles in new and unfamiliar ways. And it’s why pitching while hurt, which Wood has been doing throughout his career, may be the most devastating thing you can do.




As a lower-middle-class kid growing up in Irving, Tex., just outside of Dallas, with a father who worked for a check-printing company and a mother who was an insurance underwriter, Wood did what a lot of Texas kids do. He found an outlet in sports. He tried football for a while, but as a 5-foot-3-inch junior-high quarterback he couldn’t see over the offensive line. So he stuck with baseball. He started at shortstop as a freshman at MacArthur High School, having grown to 5-foot-9. In between his freshman and sophomore years he shot up another six inches, and he began to consider his future as a pitcher. Unlike Mark Prior, who was groomed to be a pitcher in his youth and was tutored by the professional pitching coach Tom House, Wood was initially taught only by his father. He later began to imitate his idol Nolan Ryan, but there was not much technique to it — just “step back, lift your leg up and throw to the plate,” he says. Still, if Wood lacked proper mechanics, he made up for it with sheer talent. For his senior year, when it became clear that he would be drafted by a major-league team, he transferred to Grand Prairie High School, for the sole reason that its coach was Mike McGilvray, who ran his program with the discipline of a major-league organization.


McGilvray is hardly a household name in baseball, but among Cubs fans he is spoken of in the same wrathful tones as those used for Billy Sianis’s goat or Steve Bartman. From the Cubs’ perspective, Wood was set on the path to being a permanent fixture on the disabled list when McGilvray misused him in a high-school doubleheader.


Wood was a sensation in his senior year at Grand Prairie, going 14-0 with an e.r.a. of 0.84. On June 1, 1995, the Cubs made Wood the fourth pick overall in baseball’s amateur draft. But for the moment, Wood was still a high-school pitcher under the tutelage of McGilvray. Two days after the draft, with Grand Prairie needing to sweep a doubleheader to get into the state tournament, McGilvray had Wood throw 146 pitches in the first game, then come back to start the second and throw 29 more pitches, for a mind-blowing total of 175 in a single day. Wood was the winning pitcher in both games, and actually won the second one with his bat when he hit a grand slam. Ed Lynch, the general manager of the Cubs at the time, reportedly threw the phone across the room when he heard about the doubleheader.




Is there someone to blame for what happened to Kerry Wood? As in “Murder on the Orient Express,” everybody took a turn with the dagger. A high-school kid never should have thrown 175 pitches in a single day. Jim Riggleman never should have let him exceed 120 pitches eight times as a rookie, or brought him back for that one game in the 2003 playoffs. Dusty Baker, who allowed Wood to exceed 100 pitches 24 times in 2003, should have taken greater note of his injury history. Wood should have kept himself in better shape and paid more attention to his mechanics. But whether we like it or not, professional athletes are meant to be sacrificed, not preserved. And the most fatal dagger-thrust of all has been fate’s. Wood threw the way he did because that was the way he had learned how to pitch. And he continued to throw that way because for a brief moment it made him the most exciting pitcher in baseball.






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