After several weeks of rumors involving the likes of Julio Lugo, Joe Beimel and Alex Cora, a name that Tigers fans get excited about surfaced yesterday. Apparently, the Tigers and Mets are the two biggest suitors of fire baller Kerry Wood. Dave Dombrowski earlier indicated that Wood might be out of the Tigers price range but Wood has not garnered as much interest as some thought he would.
Teams are likely wary of Wood's extensive injury history and are not too willing to offer a long term deal. It now appears that he might be open to a two year deal with a vesting option for a third year. Buster Olney believes that the Mets are ready to make a two year $16-18 million offer to the 31 year old right-hander. The Mets are also interested in Francisco Rodriguez and Brian Fuentes.
Wood had a 3.26 ERA with 34 saves in 40 opportunities for the Cubs in 2008. He also had a fantastic 84/18 K/BB ratio in 66 1/3 innings in his first full season as a closer. He has a lifetime strikeout rate of 10.4 per game. According to the 2009 Bill James Handbook, 77% of Wood's appearances were clean outings (reliever not charged with a run and no inherited runners score). In comparison, Todd Jones had a clean outing 62% of the time and Fernando Rodney 63%.
Wood is the same kind of power reliever that Joel Zumaya was in 2006. The concern with him, of course, is that he has had such a hard time staying healthy. His arm seems to have responded better to relieving than starting but he's only been doing it for one full season.