Kerry Wood signed a $20.5MM deal the last time he hit free agency, and though he isn't likely to sign for nearly as much this offseason, his stint in the Bronx has strengthened his free agent case. Wood arrived in New York after an injury-filled first half that saw him post a 6.30 ERA in 20 innings, but he has pitched better since joining the Yankees. It probably won't be enough for GM Brian Cashman to pick up the $11MM option the Yankees have for Wood in 2011, so the right-hander will likely be a free agent.
In 23 innings with his new team, Wood has allowed 13 walks and 13 hits with 26 strikeouts for a sparkling 0.39 ERA. His control is still suspect, but the strikeouts are there and Wood has been hard to hit. It was more than 12 years ago that Wood pitched his one-hit, 20 strikeout shutout, but the former first rounder is still just 33.
Wood projects to be a Type B free agent, which means he won't cost teams a draft pick, even if the Yankees offer arbitration. The Red Sox were interested in Wood at the trade deadline and though they may prioritize left-handed relievers this winter, they could have interest once again. The D'Backs, Angels and Blue Jays are among the many teams that could be looking for veteran right-handed relievers this offseason.
Wood's strong second half and history of dominant performances should interest multiple teams, but his history of elbow, shoulder and triceps injuries will likely make those clubs reluctant to commit for more than a season. A one-year deal worth $5-6MM seems like a reasonable target for Wood this winter.