Does Travis Wood deserve another shot with the Cubs in 2015?
The Chicago Cubs are reportedly active on the market looking to upgrade their pitching staff. Names like James Shields, Jon Lester, Jason Hammel and Francisco Liriano have all been linked with the North Siders and the organization has also been rumored to be pursuing players like Jordan Zimmermann or Cole Hamels via trade.
No matter what the Cubs do in terms of upgrading their staff, they still have some decisions to make regarding their current pitchers. Kyle Hendricks and Jake Arrieta appear to be the only two players that have a rotation spot locked up and several others like Edwin Jackson, Jacob Turner, Felix Doubront and Tsuyoshi Wada all appear to be on the verge to fight for the remaining spots.
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One player that can end up being a puzzling decision for the front office, however, is Travis Wood.
Wood arrived to the Cubs in the final days of 2011 as part of the deal that sent Sean Marshall to the Cincinnati Reds. He was a second-round pick back in 2005 and has been successful both with Cincinnati and with Chicago. The best year of his career happened in 2013 when he went to the All-Star Game and finished the season with a 3.11 ERA and a 1.145 WHIP despite his 9-12 record.
Many thought Wood had taken a huge step forward and he was expected to be a consistent performer in 2014, but consistency is one of the many things he didn’t have going for him. The lefty took a major step back after ending the year with an 8-13 record to go along with a 5.03 ERA, a 4.38 FIP and a 1.532 WHIP. With the available options both within the organization and in the open market, the future of Wood with the Cubs’ organization seems cloudy right now.
Wood is eligible for arbitration and he’s not a free agent until 2017, but he might not even make it to Opening Night with Chicago. If the Cubs land one or two starters through free agency, Wood could easily be non-tendered. If he stays, he might be in the mix for a fifth spot but nothing says he’ll win it. He might end up in the bullpen, but it all comes down to which version of Wood the Cubs will see during Spring Training.
If he pitches like he did in 2013, the Cubs could have one of the most reliable lefties in the NL.
If he doesn’t, playing for a different organization in 2015 is not entirely out of the question.