FEB. 13: FanRag’s Jon Heyman tweets that Wood is expected to make a decision on his new team in the very near future — possibly as soon as today.
FEB. 12: The Cubs have made contract offers to Travis Wood, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter links), though the Padres and two other teams are also still in the mix for the free agent lefty. The Yankees aren’t one of the other teams; New York reportedly checked in on Wood recently, though the Yankees weren’t considered to be top candidates for his services.
Wood’s market has begun to generate more buzz in recent days, though the veteran southpaw has seen his name pop up in rumors for much of the winter. Besides the Yankees, Padres and Cubs, the Marlins and Blue Jays were also linked to Wood at different times this offseason, and either of those clubs still makes sense as one or both of the mystery teams pursuing the left-hander (though Miami has made a number of other pitching additions).
Wood’s history as a starter has drawn interest from multiple teams looking at him as rotation help, with the Padres included in that list. The Cubs would be looking to use Wood as a swingman, while it isn’t known what role the other two suitors intend Wood to fill.
For the first five seasons of his big league career, Wood was a durable and mostly effective starter for the Reds and Cubs before transitioning into a relief role for Chicago during the 2015 season. He posted tremendous numbers as a reliever in 2015 and continued to get good results last year, posting a 2.95 ERA, 6.9 K/9 and 1.96 K/BB rate over 61 bullpen innings. Thanks to such factors as his low strikeout rate and a .215 BABIP, however, advanced metrics (4.54 FIP, 4.83 xFIP, 4.46 SIERA) painted a less-impressive picture of Wood’s season.
Looking at the Cubs’ left-handed options, Mike Montgomery and Brett Anderson are vying for the fifth spot in the rotation, with Brian Duensing and Rob Zastryzny in line for potential bullpen jobs with the loser of the fifth starter battle. The Cubs could feel more comfortable with a familiar face like Wood in a swingman or spot starter role rather than relying on several other more inexperienced depth options (Zastryzny, Eddie Butler, Alec Mills, Ryan Williams).