When it seemed that Dexter Fowler was headed to Baltimore last year, it was a huge surprise for everyone when he showed up at Chicago Cubs Spring Training. Is it possible Theo Epstein could be doing the same thing again with Travis Wood?
It’s improbable, but I wouldn’t put it past Chicago Cubs President Theo Epstein. The lefty reliever–and possibly hopeful starter–Travis Wood still doesn’t have a home just a few days before teams begin reporting to camp. It would be easy to say that there’s been no chatter about him returning to Chicago. But did you hear anything about Dexter Fowler before he showed up? I didn’t think so.
One of the biggest “roadblocks” for bringing Wood back would be his desire to return to the rotation. Mike Montgomery–another left-hander–seems to be the favorite. But the Cubs will enter camp with around 40 pitchers, so there might be other options available. When you look at lefties in the bullpen, there are just a few options.
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Montgomery would be one depending on his status in the rotation. Brian Duensing, Jack Leathersich, Caleb Smith and Rob Zastryzny make up the rest of the Cubs left-handers on the roster. A few non-roster invitees could battle for a spot–but that’s if you feel there’s a spot to battle for.
For Wood, he’s had some interest from the Yankees, Royals, Padres and a few others. There were also reports that he had an offer to be a starter, but the team remains unknown. The Padres seem to be the most likely place for Wood to land. They’ve also shown interest in Jered Weaver, but it would be expected that they would sign only one of those two.
Has Wood become a LOOGY?
Wood had always been known as a pitcher that was much more than a LOOGY (Lefty One-Out GuY). But things may have changed last season. Against left-handers, Wood allowed just a .128 average in 32 1/3 innings. But in his 28 innings against right-handed hitters, he allowed a .263 average and six of his eight home runs allowed.
After Maddon counted on Wood heavily earlier in the year, he backed off his usage of him a bit. And he also seemed to favor him more as a lefty specialist. Even using him in a game “little league style” to favor the matchups. Wood still is an effective reliever and could have something to offer a team in need of a starter.
But it still leaves the question, could Wood show up unexpectedly in Mesa in a few days? I don’t think too many Cubs’ fans would be upset if that ends up being the case.