Chicago Cubs Gradeout: Travis Wood shows worth out of bullpen


TRAVIS WOOD. B. 54 GP, 9 S, 100 1/2 IP, 5-4 W/L, 118/39 K/BB, 4 SV, 3 HLD. SP/RP. Chicago Cubs

Veteran southpaw Travis Wood was coming off a rough 2014 season with the Chicago Cubs, comprising an 8-13 record with a 5.03 ERA.

The former All-Star was trying to repeat the success he had back in 2013, but Wood picked up right where in left off in 2014, making nine starts and allowing 24 earned runs in 42.2 innings.

His 5.06 ERA prompted Joe Maddon and crew to make a change and move him to the bullpen.

When first moving to the bullpen, Maddon decided to use him in long relief situations but quickly, Wood moved to more high leverage situations and proved his worth out of the bullpen.

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Wood finished with a 2.95 ERA in 58 innings out of the bullpen. Particularly impressive is that Wood’s strikeout rate rose to 11.0 per nine innings as a reliever.

Wood was vital to the Cubs run to the National League Championship Series as he allowed just one earned run in 16 innings pitched in the final month of the season and recorded three saves during that time as well.

So how do rank the value of Travis Wood and the season he had? Well, as a full-time starter, Wood’s season was a massive failure, but his time in the bullpen was a great success.

Wood did make a few spot starts late in the season as well and pitched solidly in a few innings of work. Overall, I give Wood’s season a B. He contributed greatly to the Cubs success in 2015 with his work out of the bullpen and should be given the same role next year depending on who Chicago picks up in free agency.

After getting demoted to the bullpen, it looked like Wood’s days as Cubs were numbered but after having success in the bullpen, the Cubs could decide to tender him a contract.

He got paid $5.6 million last year and if gets paid about $6 million in 2016 through arbitration, I think that’s a pretty affordable price for a solid journeyman, who could easily make a spot start for you, pitch in long relief, or come in a close a game.

Not to mention he is pretty good with the bat.