Chicago Cubs Rumors

Chicago Cubs Rumors: Is the door open for a Travis Wood return?

Oct 8, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Travis Wood (37) acknowledges fans with a curtain call after hitting a home run against the San Francisco Giants during the fourth inning during game two of the 2016 NLDS playoff baseball series at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 8, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Travis Wood (37) acknowledges fans with a curtain call after hitting a home run against the San Francisco Giants during the fourth inning during game two of the 2016 NLDS playoff baseball series at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports /
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Former Chicago Cubs reliever Travis Wood has had several teams “kick the tires”, but remains available. With Tyson Ross signing with the Texas Rangers, does his chance of returning to the Cubs increase?

The Chicago Cubs were one of two teams in on Tyson Ross, but he chose to sign a one-year deal with the Texas Rangers. With talk of a six-man rotation, is it possible that the Cubs could bring back Travis Wood to join Mike Montgomery in the rotation? This is a bit of a “homer” hope for me, as I’ve always been a fan of Wood. But it could work out well for the Cubs.

The free agent market as a whole has been a difficult one to read this year. Players like Jose Bautista and Jason Hammel–thought to be two of the better available free agents–still sit unsigned. It’s believed that several teams would be interested in Wood as a starter. Something he hasn’t done on a regular basis since early 2015.

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The Cubs have talked about using young arms with options out of the minors as opposed to spot starters. That conversation could have been sparked by the fact that Trevor Cahill and Wood were both going to be free agents this offseason. While the Cubs have several talented pitchers in the lower levels, there aren’t many that seem ready to make a “permanent” move to Chicago.

Since his move to the bullpen, Wood had been a solid reliever that Maddon could trust against hitters from both sides of the plate. But last year he seemed to become a “LOOGY” (left-handed one out guy) as the season went on. While Wood made 23 more appearances than he did in 2015 he saw his innings decrease from 100 2/3 to 61. And even with nine starts in ’15, that a noticeable drop.

More questions than answers on lefties

On the 25-man roster, the Cubs staff currently has seven left-handers. Rob Zastrynzy, Caleb Smith, David Rollins, Jon Lester and Montgomery. Zastrynzy looks to have a spot in the bullpen if he continues off where he did last year. Lester will, of course, have the No. 1 spot while Montgomery may join him in the rotation. Smith and Rollins are newcomers and their role is to be determined.

After making just over $6 million last year, and has a market value of around $6.5 million. If the Cubs could sign him for $8 million or below, it would be a solid deal for both sides. The market hasn’t been great for starting pitchers, even though Wood sits somewhere in between. But with former teammate Hammel still looking for work after winning 15 games? Wood might be smart to stay in Chicago if they offer a deal.

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And with Joe Maddon’s creativity, Wood’s athleticism can be utilized to its fullest extent. From his bat to his glove, his versatility fits in very well with Maddon and his unique managing style.

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