Kerry Wood
Kerry Wood
42-Year-Old PitcherRP
 Free Agent  
Free Agent
2019 Fantasy Outlook
There was no outlook written for Kerry Wood in 2019. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
$Signed a one-year, $3 million contract with the Cubs in January of 2012.
Kerry Wood: Ends Career With a K
PFree Agent  
May 18, 2012
Wood struck out the only batter he faced during a brief relief appearance Friday afternoon against the White Sox.
ANALYSIS
After announcing his retirement prior to Friday's game, Wood fanned Dayan Viciedo on three pitches and ended his career on a high note before exiting the game to a standing ovation at Wrigley Field.
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At age 34, Wood is still around, albeit coming off meniscus surgery in his left knee and unlikely ever to log heavy innings even for a reliever. That said, Wood averaged 94.5 mph on his fastball and fanned 57 in 51 innings last year. He'll have a spot in the back of the Cubs bullpen again this year and it's not hard to see him being traded or taking over the closer role if the Cubs move Carlos Marmol. Also keep in mind that when closers implode, management always loves to turn to someone with experience first.
Wood excelled in a setup role with the Yankees last season, allowing just two earned runs and striking out 31 in 26 innings. However, walks were an issue (5.7 BB/9IP between Cleveland and New York in 2010), and his days as a full-time closer could be over. Although he may have been able to get a better contract elsewhere, Wood chose a one-year, $1.5 million contract to return to the Cubs. Now back on the north side of Chicago, Wood figures to open the year as the primary setup man for closer Carlos Marmol.
Wood's first season in Cleveland was a mild disappointment, both for the Indians and his fantasy owners, as he recorded just 20 saves. He struggled at times to get consistent work and posted the highest ERA (4.25) and WHIP (1.382) since his rookie year. He's the Indians' closer for as long as he's there, but the Indians would love to find a taker for his $10.5 million salary (and an $11 million option for 2011 that kicks in if he finishes 55 games) so tread carefully if you're in an AL-only format.
After years of battling arm injuries, Wood resurrected his career as a closer last year, and it was an unqualified success. Wood's 3.26 ERA doesn't do justice to his elite peripherals (84:18 K:BB in 66.1 IP, three HR allowed). Wood signed with the Indians in December, and we expect him to be one of the top closers in the American League, assuming his arm holds up.
After rehabbing a partially torn rotator cuff for most of the year, Wood returned in August and pitched serviceably for the Cubs, striking out a batter an inning despite having spotty command. Wood's fastball was clocked in the mid-90s, indicating that his velocity is mostly back, and the Cubs signed him to a one-year $4.2 million deal as a result. Barring a setback, he'll likely head into 2008 as part of the closer mix with Bobby Howry and Carlos Marmol.
If there's no room for Mark Prior's injury history in this magazine, there's certainly no room for Wood's, either. Wood pitched just 19.2 innings last season due to shoulder and knee problems before being shut down for the year with a partially torn rotator cuff. He opted not to have surgery on the shoulder (his 2005 arthroscopic shoulder surgery only seemed to make things worse) and at press time, his rehab was reportedly going well. If Wood is able to return, it will be as a middle reliever at first. If he pitches well and Ryan Dempster struggles, we wouldn't be surprised to see him in the closer role. Of course, Wood's got to get healthy first, and that's far from a sure thing.
Wood underwent arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder last September, which revealed no structural damage to his rotator cuff. Wood's rehab has been going well, and he's expected to be back by May. With the re-signing of closer Ryan Dempster to a three-year deal, there's little chance that Wood would be used in that role, and the Cubs have indicated they want to use Wood exclusively as a starter. Prior to being shut down, Wood's numbers were right in line with his career marks, except for an elevated home run rate, which isn't too worrying given the sample size and the fact that he was pitching with an injury.
Wood missed a couple of months with a strained triceps muscle, but otherwise his 2004 numbers are mostly in line with his past. He did lower his walk rate, however, and if that's not an anomaly he could take the next step up and become a Cy Young candidate. As it stands, he's a great pitcher who's a threat to post double-digit strikeouts in any given start, but without pinpoint control he's not in the class of a healthy Mark Prior or Jason Schmidt. As with all the Cubs young hurlers (Wood is still just 27) manager Dusty Baker's old school management style poses some overuse risk, and Wood's less-than-smooth mechanics are more taxing on his arm than some.
Wood led the majors in strikeouts last season with 266 in 211 innings, and when you have a strikeout rate like that, you can get away with the 100 walks, and in fact, Wood's 3.20 ERA was the best of his career. Wood is several years removed from arm elbow surgery, and assuming he stays healthy, he's a lock to be among the major-league leaders in strikeouts every year. The only major concern here is that Wood, whose delivery puts a fair amount of stress on his arm, was second in the majors last season in pitches per start with 110.7 (stat courtesy of The Bill James 2004 Handbook). Given that manager Dusty Baker is "old school" -- and not in a good way -- you can expect him to encourage Wood to have a potentially self-destructive bulldog mentality again in 2004. Still, for now, there's no specific reason to think Wood is anything but healthy, and if he stays that way, he should have another good season.
Wood's 2002 numbers were, on the surface, remarkably similar to his 2001 totals. He struck out exactly 217 batters both years and walked roughly the same amount (92 in '01, 97 in '02) as well. But Wood's 2002 numbers were complied over 213 2/3 IP, a full 39 1/3 IP more than in the previous season, which means that his strikeout rate went down. While his walk rate dipped as well, Wood gave up 42 more hits, including six more home runs, in those extra innings, pushing his ERA up from 3.36 to 3.66. Does this mean anything? It's hard to say. But if Wood's strikeout rate were to dip below one per inning, we would have to wonder about the health of his arm.
More Fantasy News
PChicago Cubs  
May 18, 2012
Updating a prior note, Wood wants to make one more major league appearance, but is expected to announce his retirement shortly thereafter, Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports.
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PChicago Cubs  
May 18, 2012
Wood will retire Friday, ESPN Chicago reports.
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PChicago Cubs  
May 14, 2012
Wood threw a scoreless eighth inning Sunday with the Cubs protecting a three-run lead, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. "He threw his curve ball today, cutter, had good velocity," manager Dale Sveum said. "That was really nice to see, to bounce back after a good outing last time - a two-inning good outing - and bounce back with another one."
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PChicago Cubs  
May 11, 2012
Wood threw two scoreless innings in the Cubs' 13-inning loss to the Brewers, striking out one while walking three.
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PChicago Cubs  
May 4, 2012
Wood gave up two runs on one hit and a walk while pitching the eighth inning Friday afternoon against the Dodgers.
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