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Kerry Wood turns down $3.5 million from White Sox to return to Cubs for $1.5 million

Dec 16, 2010, 5:39 PM EDT

kerry wood si

Kerry Wood has turned down a one-year, $3.5 million offer from the White Sox in order to return to the Cubs for $1.5 million, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Wood, who was drafted fourth overall by the Cubs in 1995 and spent the first decade of his career calling Wrigley Field home, will likely be the primary setup man in front of closer Carlos Marmol.

Wittenmyer writes that Wood’s decision to turn down the White Sox’s far more lucrative offer “surprised even the Cubs” and he may also have turned down multi-year offers from the Yankees and Red Sox.

Wood missed all of April with a back injury and struggled for the Indians once he returned from the disabled list, but posted a 0.69 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 26 innings following a midseason trade to the Yankees. Originally a starter–and owner of one of the best starts in baseball history–Wood has a 3.45 ERA, .213 opponents’ batting average, and 237/93 K/BB ratio in 204 career relief innings.

Given some of the two- and three-year contracts being handed out to other middle relievers, $1.5 million is an amazingly below-market deal. He probably won’t miss the extra money, as Wood has already earned over $70 million during his dozen-year career, but it’s always interesting to see someone willing to take less to play where he wants, particularly when the decision involves choosing between sides of Chicago.

  1. proudlycanadian - Dec 16, 2010 at 5:42 PM

    Another one gets away from the Yankees.

    • uyf1950 - Dec 16, 2010 at 6:05 PM

      I’ve never read where the Yankees even made him an offer. How can something “get away” if you never made an attempt to get it. While I am disappointed he is not going back the Yankees. For Wood clearly money was not the overriding factor in his signing for that he is to be commended. I wish him well he did a great job for the Yankees during his short stay.

      • anythingbutyanks - Dec 16, 2010 at 7:51 PM

        read the whole article and you’d see that he turned down the offer from the White Sox, and possibly also the Yankees and Red Sox.

      • uyf1950 - Dec 16, 2010 at 8:17 PM

        anything – I don’t see where the Yankees ever made an offer. I see words like “expected” “potentially”. The Yankees probably would have like to have signed him but never made him an offer. The only firm offer I see is the one attributed to the White Sox. Again you can’t lose something you that isn’t yours or that you never made an offer to?

    • salharmonic - Dec 17, 2010 at 9:12 AM

      That is correct, but the idiots were so blinded by their quest for Lee that they let every other worthwhile free agent get away. Wood signed with the Cubs to be able to face a hitters of a lesser league, he’ll do well back in the NL, good luck to him.

  2. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Dec 16, 2010 at 5:43 PM

    As a Chicagoan, I’d LOVE to hear his reasons….I get the rivalry, even though I root for both teams (unless they’re playing the Braves, in which case they both can go to hell) but how do you turn down that $, better players’ facilities, and a better squad? Very interesting.

    • goose102977 - Dec 16, 2010 at 5:49 PM

      I guess you haven’t lived here too long then. Cubs > Sox in this city…period.

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Dec 16, 2010 at 5:53 PM

        Except on the field last season and next season, but nice try. Objectivity may be tough, but give it a try.

      • natecorbitt - Dec 16, 2010 at 7:55 PM

        Except on the field last season and next season, but nice try. Objectivity may be tough, but give it a try.

        Except that he’s absolutely right. It has nothing to do with objectivity. Chicago always has and always will be a Cubs town. Even when the Sox won the World Series, they got one, maybe two, days of coverage, and then the headlines went back to being all about the Cubs.

        He offered to take less money to stay before he signed with the Indians as well, but Hendry didn’t think that would be fair to him. He has been quoted as saying he feels he has an obligation to the Cubs, because they paid him a lot of money when he was hurt. He loves this organization and the fans, so much so that his permanent home, and the place where his kids go to school is in Chicago. Woody loves the Cubs, and it’s pretty obvious the Cubs and the fans love him, too.

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Dec 17, 2010 at 10:44 AM

        And that is false. There was never just two days of Sox coverage and then it was “all about the Cubs.” I was here (at the rally, etc.). The Sox were the talk of the town for quite some time. I know too many die hard Cubs fans to not know how blind you can all be toward the South Siders accomlishments.

    • hackerjay - Dec 16, 2010 at 5:50 PM

      Wood was treated very well by the Cubs, and in return he has always offered to take less to be with the Cubs. After he finished his big extension that was paying him ~$10 million a year a few years back he gave the Cubs a huge discount to come back for one more year because he spent so much time on the DL. Arfter that he was willing to take less, but hendry told him to go find a big pay day, which the Indians gave him.

      I think at this point he is a Cubs fan, and as such has no interest to play for the rival White Sox.

      • hackerjay - Dec 16, 2010 at 5:50 PM

        Also, Ricky Gutierrez’s single should have been called an error.

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Dec 17, 2010 at 10:41 AM

        Yes, everyone is aware that it’s a Cubs town by the sheer numbers of Cubs fans vs. Sox fans. That’s not my point. He may have chosen the Cubs b/c he’s a fan, but that seems a bit nuts to me. Playing for a team that has a chance to make the playoffs in 2011 makes more sense to me, and that is the White Sox. There is no doubt that the Sox team is better than the Cubs right now.

  3. deathtoallpoets - Dec 16, 2010 at 5:53 PM

    who cares, kerry wood is over the hill, and the cubs suck. the yankees are probably better off.

    • mtner77 - Dec 17, 2010 at 1:07 AM

      “who cares, kerry wood is over the hill, and the cubs suck. the yankees are probably better off.”

      Wow! Now that IS deep. Please keep us all up to date with your insightful comments, such as:

      “and the cubs suck”

      And you are right. The less pitching the Yankees’ sign, is “probably better off.” Yep. For the rest of the AL East.

  4. pisano - Dec 16, 2010 at 6:23 PM

    I question his decision, I hope this decision doesn’t come back to bite him. He did a great job for the Yankees. I was hoping they would bring him back, but if he feels happier with the Cubs, then that’s where he should go. Good luck to him.

  5. shawon0meter - Dec 16, 2010 at 7:20 PM

    What a smart and respectable decision!

  6. sosascork - Dec 16, 2010 at 7:36 PM

    Would’ve loved to see him on the South Side… Thornton, Crain, with Woody closing.

    • lexiesn - Mar 9, 2011 at 1:26 AM

      Yeah that would have been just too weird because Woody will always be a Cub. He considered going to the Sox but in the end it came down to Woody not being able to bring himself to put on Sox black in favor of Cubbie blue.

  7. anythingbutyanks - Dec 16, 2010 at 7:49 PM

    probably also a decision between setup and closing

    • fivetoolmike - Dec 17, 2010 at 10:25 AM

      Don’t you know the Cubs already have a pretty good closer?

  8. klingonj - Dec 16, 2010 at 8:42 PM

    is someone going to bitch about the guy trying to make things somewhat right for the cubbies. good for you kerry. I liked what he did with the yankees.

  9. cshearing - Dec 17, 2010 at 10:58 AM

    Quite an honorable move by Woods, with him feeling obligated to the Cubs for taking all that money when he was injured. He should be lauded for this, not called to question.

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