FEBRUARY 15: Wood’s signing is official, with K.C. also announcing that the pact includes a mutual option for the 2019 season. He’ll earn $4MM in 2017 and $6.5MM in 2018, Heyman tweets. There’s a $1.5MM buyout on the option, which can be exercised at $8MM. Wood can also earn $1MM in incentives (either as a starter or as a reliever) in each year of the deal.
FEBRUARY 13, 5:07pm: Wood will receive a $12MM guarantee, per Heyman (via Twitter).
4:12pm: The Royals have agreed to a deal with free-agent lefty Travis Wood, according to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick (Twitter links). The Frontline client will receive a two-year guarantee, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (Twitter link). Financial terms remain unreported.
[RELATED: Updated Royals Depth Chart]
Wood, 30, is expected to receive a chance to compete for a rotation job in Kansas City, though it seems he won’t be guaranteed a particular role entering camp. The organization recently signed righty Jason Hammel to take the spot that opened with the tragic death of Yordano Ventura. The staff already included Danny Duffy, Ian Kennedy, and Jason Vargas, and the Royals added Nate Karns to the mix earlier in the winter. Presumably, Wood and Karns will battle for the final rotation slot with veteran Chris Young, with the others heading to the bullpen. (In Karns’s case, he could also open at Triple-A.)
With this latest move, Royals GM Dayton Moore has perhaps largely completed an interesting offseason in which he sought to balance salary limitations, a large slate of core players on the brink of free agency, and the unimaginable loss of Ventura. Moore and his staff engineered deals that shipped out quality, short-term assets (Wade Davis and Jarrod Dyson) in exchange for controllable MLB players who come with upside but aren’t yet fully established (Jorge Soler and Karns). With the unexpected need to move on Hammel, the club has already driven its payroll right up to its record-setting 2016 level, and the signing of Wood will seemingly push it past that previous high-water mark.
Though he waited quite a while to sign, Wood drew strong interest throughout the winter. Clubs were seemingly intrigued by his ability to provide quality innings out of the pen or return to the rotation. Last year, he ran up a 2.95 ERA in his 61 frames for the Cubs — an exact match for his earned run average when working out of the pen in the prior year, when he made the transition after scuffling early as a starter. Of course, the real advance that Wood showed in 2015 was a leap in his swinging-strike (9.8%) and strikeout (10.6 K/9) rates. Both were easily career highs, but Wood fell back to typical numbers in his most recent season (6.5%; 6.9 K/9).
There’s little question that Wood was fortunate last year in the batted ball department, too, as opposing batters reached base on just .215 of the balls they put in play. And he still coughed up a few too many walks (3.5 BB/9) while generating a pedestrian groundball rate (37.4%). But there were some positives beyond the bottom-line results. In particular, as MLBTR’s Connor Byrne has noted, Wood exceeded his typically strong performance in generating infield pop-ups, posting one of the game’s best rates (17.8%). He also averaged just over 90 mph with his fastball, which is an unremarkable number in its own right but matched a career high for the soft-tossing southpaw. And Wood continued to baffle opposing lefties, who have compiled a paltry .206/.276/.316 slash against him over 949 total plate appearances.
Wood’s history as a starter likely contributed just as much to his value on the market. To be sure, it has been some time since he turned in a fully productive season out of the rotation, and his excellent 2013 season (exactly 200 innings of 3.11 ERA ball) looks more like an aberration than any kind of reasonable expectation going forward. But Wood has demonstrated an ability to churn out useful innings from the rotation, and seems to be a good bet to continue his strong health record over the two years of his new contract.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Solid left field pick up
I agree! I still think they should re-sign Peter Moylan. He has a good year last year and wouldn’t cost much money.
Between Karns, Hammel, Maness, and now Wood, heck of a month for Dayton.
The new Cubs?
Got the 2nd best reliever and 4th best starter From a 103 win team .Stop crying
Do tell which Cubs starter was worse than Hammel last year?
2nd best reliever?
Rondon (when healthy)
Even Grimm is better when you look at the peripherals. Grimm had a crap June but was stellar otherwise. Had a 4.10 ERA on the year but a 3.28 FIP tells a different story. Wood had a 2.95 ERA but a 4.54 FIP. Don’t get me wrong, Wood is solid, but 2nd best is pretty ridiculous….. and ignorant. Like you said, Chapman, Rondon, Strop, Edwards, and Montgomery at the very least were as good (and that’s being generous to Wood) if not better.
4th best starter from the Cubs?
Lester and Hendricks were Cy young candidates and one of them IMO deserved it more than Scherzer. Arrieta had a great stat line in 2016 despite a second half decline, and won the Cy Young in 2015. Lackey had a 3.35 ERA, 3.81 FIP, 1.05 WHIP, 8.6 K.9, and 2.5 BB/9.
Hammel on the other hand 3.83 ERA, 4.48 FIP, 1.21 WHIP, 7.8 K/9, 2.9 BB/9
While not too terrible, Hammel was easily the worst starter on the Cubs. Even when Montgomery made those 5-6 starts at the end of the year he was looking better than Hammel. Moving to the AL won’t do Hammel any favors. I mean just look at Hammel’s split season in 2014. Stellar with the Cubs….. crashed down to earth with the A’s.
Man I was low key hoping the halos could make a move on him to either b a number 5 guy or work in the bullpen
Figured his preference would be to stay in NL and hit, but if he gets to start and gets two years, good deal for Wood
He may be designated hitter every now and then haha!!
He may be better than Peter O’Brien, who isn’t much of a defender at catcher or outfielder.
thank GOD someone brought this back. You get all the points.
Would you say he doesn’t draw rave reviews for his defense?
not so much. he doesn’t even like going to raves.
definitely doesn’t get rave reviews at catcher or the outfield
There was enough distance where someone could bust this back out. Back when this joke was new, it got old quick since people posted it in every thread. #neverforget
I bet he likes money a lot more than hitting.
That’s what I was gonna say
Every time Dayton signs someone he says it’s the last one haha
I would have thought that cluster of a rotation in San Diego would have reached out to him. Feel like he would have started, and been able to pad his stats a bit in petco
Think he would rather compete than play on 100 loss team then be traded at deadline
If he was traded at the deadline, wouldn’t you assume it would be to a contender? San Diego could guarantee a starting job, something a contender is not willing to do. Starters tend to make more money than non-closing relievers. If he did well in SD, he likely would have been traded to a contender in need of a starter. If he does not make the rotation during the spring, when they need a starter, KC will likely go with a starter from the minors that is already stretched out. Opportunity is a great reason to sign with a “100 loss” team.
Royals would use him. They’ve rotated guys between bullpen and starters before and they’ll do it again. Only way they go with a starter from the minors would be a rest issue or decline in performance. If you were a Royals fan you would know how Eiland and Yost work their pitchers. Duffy switched between bullpen and starter so has Young and others so this is nothing new….
oh the irony…
I think the Royals will use Travis Wood as a left handed reliever. He always had average starting pitching numbers, but as a relief pitcher last year, he had a 2.91 ERA. We need that in our bullpen to add to Strahm and Herrera. And I also think Soria will have a much better year. Herrera = 2.20 ERA, Strahm = 2.55 ERA, Wood = 2.70 ERA, Soria = 3.30 ERA. That is a pretty damn good back end of the bullpen!!! And with wood we have a backup starter if needed.
Woods not throwing a 2.70 ERA this year. Last year looks like a fluke
Funny thing…….Travis Wood is almost like a left handed Wade Davis. He seems to put up better stats as a reliever like Wade did although the R’s used him as a starter off the bat which was a dumb idea. Wood could be in a similar boat and be better as a reliever of some sort. 2013 Wood has a 3.11 ERA as a full time starter so a sub 3 era isn’t out of the realm of possibilities. 5 seconds of looking at his history shows he’s capable of doing something…..
the whole point of him signing there was to get a starting role many more teams were interested as a reliever
I think it was more a question of the 2 year guaranteed deal. The Padres were only offering one year.
Basically got 4 players for Wade Davis
If you think that way
Yes the cubs are definitely going be hurting without Wood and Soler. Good pickup for the Royals. I really think Soler is going to be a superstar and Wood very underrated.
No, they most likely won’t be hurting at all.
I agree with the assessment of soler as a potential superstar but wood is absolutely not underrated. If anything he’s overrated with good looking traditional stats and being in the right place at the right time (left field or nlcs game 2 hr).
While I agree that I still see some serious potential in Soler, the Cubs will not be “”hurting” without him. They put up 103 wins in a season in which he effectively contributed nothing (0.2 WAR). They have far too much of an outfield logjam to keep him on the roster and just about any team in baseball would rather play Zobrist or Schwarber out there.
That guys just a cub hater anyways. The fact that he mentioned a former cub has superstar potential is mind boggling in itself
when he was on the cubs i bet he was garbage though
Well someone else said that not me. Anyway if you fellas think that starting staff is going to have the same kind of success as they did last year your fooling yourself. They are good by to have all kind of troubles mark my words.
I definitely don’t expect the Cubs rotation to have the same success they had last year, but how does losing Soler and Wood change that? Soler isn’t a pitcher and even if they brought Wood back, he’s further down on the depth chart and probably would’ve been used in the same capacity as last season barring like three or four different injuries to the Cubs rotation.
Yeah, maybe a little regression, but most of the rotations success depends on the great defense they have behind them, basically if you read every pitchers profile for last year, you’ll see in most of them, if not all, that they out pitched peripherals, and it’s unsustainable, and all that. If you add that all up, it’s just pretty much impossible that every pitcher got that lucky, I think more of it was due to strong defense and the ability to put the best defense out there for that days lineup and pitcher. They move a bunch of guys around just for that reason alone… So while expecting the best rotation in the league again is a little unrealistic, they certainly can sustain a top ten in the league again… And Theo just bought a bunch of pitchers who have stronger ground ball rates… So there’s that
So much for the hope Strahm would be in the rotation with these two latest signings.
Really liked Wood, disappointed and surprised that the Cubs didn’t re-sign him. He could’ve acted as a spot-starter and provided consistent relief from the pen.
Not to mention, id imagine staying in Chicago with the defending World Champions would be an pretty good situation for him.
Team Theo wants to stay under the cap limit.
To do that, he likely had to lowball Wood an offer.
The kids have to get it done for the Cubs to gt where they want to be.
Good for Woody. Gonna miss him in the pen but he deserves a chance to start
While I wouldn’t describe the Cubs as “hurting” they will have a tough time matching 2016. Losses of Fowler, Hammels, Soler, Ross, and Wood ain’t nothin’. It is almost unheard of for a team to go 2 years in a row without one of their starters suffering arm trouble, and they do not have any minor league depth ready to plug in. And add Cahill to the losses.
Of course Swarber’s return will help offset the losses offensively, and Jay will help too, but it is the pitching that would worry me, cause the Montgomery, Butler, Smith, and Anderson group at the back of the rotation is iffy. And if any of the other starters cannot take the hill every 5th day, the rotation may indeed have trouble.
“do not have any minor league depth”
Depending on how many starts they need from the Triple-A I-Cubs rotation, Eddie Butler, Rob Zastryzny, Jake Buchanan, and Alec Mills could hold down the fort.
If they’re needed for 90 starts, yeah, that’s bad.
If they’re needed for 12, the problem shouldn’t be that impossible.
Not sure it’s going to be as hard as it looks to replace Hammel. The Cubs fielded a historically great defense behind him, and his metrics show that his wasn’t nearly as good as his W/L or ERA lead one to believe.
I know you said it’s almost unheard of for a team to keep the five starters they have healthy two years in a row, well they already have done it twice, 2015, and 2016, lackey the only one shut down last year for any time because they already had clinched and decided to give him rest for his strain or soreness, normally he would have pitched through it though in a competitive situation. It’s only unheard of because in baseball these days you have so many hard throwers and that alone has driven up the injury numbers on pitchers. But only one of the cub starters throws hard, and that’s the health and fitness, yoga, and wheat grass chugging freak arrieta. Of course you need to add in that they have been routinely using a sixth man for the rotation and are only going to do it more this year, and there’s the reason they are that healthy all the time. They def can stay heathy again.
The losses of players isn’t that hard to triage really, while fowler is good, and he’s a great lead off hitter, the platoon matchups they will throw out there daily can more than make up the difference. Almora is a better fielder than fowler, and they have Schwarber back as well like you mentioned, so fowler is replaced essentially, wood also a solid lefty reliever, will only hurt if one of the lefties doesn’t step up, and they got a few to try and hit on one of them, they also got a few right handed relievers with reverse splits, the only loss I can see possibly is Ross, only because his contributions were unquantifiable, so that is the unknown. They still have solid veteran leadership, and he has a job in the front office so he could technically still be a leader. Just not in the dugout. Yes they lost some contributors, but nothing that can’t be traded for easily come the deadline, they more than have enough ammo for a big trade, but mostly I see several little ones. Hammel, while I liked him, Joe had no trust in and never went deep into games. Most championship teams do not rollover the same team next year and do fine. I’m betting the cubs will be just fine next year, they have a ton of young players that will only get better as players, improvements made by one or two guys will no doubt take care of any losses they had statistically
Not bad. Not bad at all.
S1 = Danny Duffy
S2 = Ian Kennedy
S3 = Jason Hammel
S4 = Jason Vargas
S5 = Travis Wood
R1 = Chris Young
R2 = Mike Minor
R3 = Matt Strahm
R4 = Seth Maness
R5 = Brian Flynn
R6 = Joakim Soria
R7 = Kelvin Herrera
You forgot Karns.
Replace Vargas with Karns. Really like the Wood pickup by the Royals, gives them flexibility and depth.
Mike Minor is not going to hardly appear on the major league roster. Can’t stay healthy and when he has been, hasn’t been effective since his major surgery with the Braves a few years back. Vargas is a lock to be in the rotation. The last spot in the rotation comes down to Karns and Wood. Either guy profiles pretty well out of the pen. I personally think Karns has greater upside in the rotation than Wood. If none of the minor league invitees can break camp with the final bullpen spot (Withrow, Maness, Alburquerque), I would expect Zimmer or Staumont to challenge for it.
Good point about Minor. And you’re right, the loser of the scrum between Karns/Woods would fall to his spot.
I really think if Maness is healthy, he will make the bullpen. A ground-inducing pitcher like him could thrive at Kauffman.
Probably Withrow if Chris Young is released or sent to the minors.
Kennedy, Vargas, Hammel? That’s pretty not good.
Wood was worth $4,000,000 AAV on the open market by mv standards (0.5 WAR in 2016) so this is a great deal for him.
Looks like a slight overpay. Plus, it sucks for Wood to go to the AL.
If he ends up in the rotation he could be a sneaky pinch-hit option for them. Obviously, if he’s in the bullpen he won’t be doing much pinch-hitting.
Good signing Royals. I still wouldn’t count them out for the division title.
When the off-season began, I predicted that Travis Wood my #1 best free agent signing for 2017.
Jason Vargas is not a lock to hold down SP. He’s 34 and had a poor 2016. He’s never been as good as average. The same goes for Chris Young.
To go with Danny Duffy, Ian Kennedy and Jason Hammel, I predict that Travis Wood makes the starting pitching rotation with Nate Karns eventually replacing Vargas..
Royals look to have a bounce back year now, but I’m not sure if they can catch the Indians. They should be right in the mix for the wild card spot.
I’d be as worried about the Tigers as the Indians
Vargas had a poor 2016? Um yeah considering he was on the DL until he made three starts in late September after rehabbing from TJ surgery.
Good catch… I never seem to write what I mean or edit my meanings clearly. I meant to write that Jason Vargas had poor health in 2015-2016.
Nice person to shag some balls in the outfield
I didn’t see this coming
Interesting and good sign by the royals
Seems like a pretty big overpay.
Why not just stay in the NL….?
Big loss for the cubbies and a gain for cubbies2
More of a big loss. I hope woody hammel and soler do great things in KC. wish kc could re-sign all their free agents and then we could possibly see kc vs Chicago world series. It would make giants and royals and royals and Mets seem like it was Padres and A’s.
It would be one of one a few matchups that would compare to the 2016 world series. Of course the cubs would beat kc too. I woudlnt even be mad if kc beat the cubs in the world series. If it ever happened.