Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wood to be a free agent…and the coaching staff starts to emerge.

We miss you, Kerry.
(AP photo)
Kerry Wood was very good for the Yankees this year…but not good enough for them to pick up his $11 million option for 2011. Wood’s 2011 option would have guaranteed if he had finished 55 games either this season or last season…he did it in neither, obviously, as he wasn’t even the closer for the Yankees.

So then the question comes: Would the Cubs be willing to re-sign Kid-K?

It’s hard to believe, but Kerry will be 34 years old next season. His best days are obviously behind him now, but his time with the Yankees proved he has something left. Not including the playoffs, Wood pitched in 24 games for New York posting a 0.69 ERA in 26 innings. His ERA+ was 625, which is ridiculous.

I’ve heard a number of Yankee fans remark that they would like to see Wood come back next season. I’d have to wonder if the Cubs could make a stab at bringing him back. I’d love to see it. I’m not sure they could if the Yankees really wanted him back…but Jim Hendry should make an effort to do it. The effect will be minimal to the team…a right handed set-up man to compliment Sean Marshall…but it gives the Cubs a veteran player that the fans love.

It is obvious that the Cubs have a number of young players that fans are excited about, but almost all the veterans (with the exception of Marlon Byrd) aren’t really adored by the fans. For the most part, Kerry Wood is a legend. It wouldn’t be much different than it was bringing Greg Maddux back at the end of his career. It won’t harm the team, and it will make fans happy. And I think Wood might be able to be had for a reasonable price, giving a discount to the Cubs.


The details of Mike Quade’s coaching staff are starting to emerge. Numerous sources are reporting that Bobby Dernier, Ivan DeJesus, Lester Strode, Larry Rothschild and Rudy Jaramillo are all going to be returning. That basically leaves the bench coach position open, as Alan Trammell is off to Arizona to be the bench coach for his buddy, Kirk Gibson.

We also know that Sandberg is not going to be the bench coach, and that’s fine. If the Cubs, before the official announcement was made, had worked out an arrangement for him to be bench coach, it might have worked…but having him on the bench now would be a bit unfair and awkward for Mike Quade.

The most likely candidate for that job now would be Pat Listach, who is the third base coach of the Nationals. He and Quade are buddies and both managed in the Cubs minor league system for a long time. That being said, a number of people believe that Listach has no intention of leaving Washington. I think otherwise…but we’ll wait to see.

Outside of that, can’t think of anyone else that would be a likely candidate for the job with the possible exceptions of Buddy Bailey or Bill Dancy, who are Cubs minor league managers.

So looking at the coaching staff, I’m a little disappointed that there hasn’t been more turnaround. I don’t really have an issue with Rothschild or Dernier...and Lester Strode really doesn’t do anything. I’ve never really liked Rudy Jaramillo, but he’s under contract and is being paid a lot. Ivan DeJesus, on the other hand, I’m dismayed about. He was a good 1st base coach, I thought. Dernier, I think, is better. My observations told me that DeJesus did not do a great job at third base. In fact, I thought the loss of Quade at third, after his promotion, hurt the Cubs.

What was great about Quade at third was that you never noticed him, which is the sign of a good third base coach. DeJesus appeared to mix-up signals on a couple of occasions and made some poor judgments on when sending runners to the plate. I also look at DeJesus and Dernier as serving the same purpose on the staff, as far as coaching base running, and having both of them there doesn’t do a lot of good. I would prefer to see someone else come in as the third base coach. Who? Not sure…as long as it is not Wendell Kim, I’ll probably be happy.