One year after singing a true closer, it appears that the Indians could already be regretting the move. ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that Mark Shapiro and staff would entertain offers for their 32-year old flame thrower.
Kerry Wood was given a two-year deal that could become three if certain criteria was met just a year ago. Two years does not seem all that bad until you realize that Wood will make $10.5 million this season – with a possible $11 million in 2011. Under normal circumstances, this is not a ton of money for a pitcher that can throw bullets; especially on a team that has had such turmoil in late innings.
Then again, the Cleveland Indians are not “normal” by any stretch of the imagination when it comes to paying players. They shipped off Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez; both players will make considerably less than Wood in 2010.
The Indians will not likely see a vast number of save opportunities, and will find themselves pitching Wood in non-save situations simply to get innings out of him. Couple this with the fact that the Tribe recently traded for a handful of potential back-end relievers in Chris Perez and Jess Todd, and there is little to no use in paying a guy $10 million.
Both Perez and Todd were thought to be “closers of the future” in St. Louis, so one would assume they would be given the shot at doing the same in Cleveland. Then there’s the other Perez in Rafael…
Fear not, however. The vesting option for 2011 only kicks in if Wood can save 55 games in 2010*. He managed to only throw 55 innings last season, saving 20 games. If this year looks to be worse in terms of wins and save-0pps, it is pretty safe to say that Wood will not be achieving said hurdle.
*Apparently, the criteria is to “finish” 55 games. Though still something that would be tough to achieve, the Indians could definitely plan around this if needed late in the year. Just ask Brady Quinn.