*Travis Wood signed a 2-year/$12-million dollar deal with the Royals Monday afternoon. His signing would have made sense… enjoy
Spring is here and the game we all love and adore is ever so close to beginning once again.
Major league teams are currently ironing out the details of their 2017 roster, as each team attempts to build a winner for the fast-approaching season. The San Diego Padres are presently in a rebuilding situation and have no real intentions on hoisting a World Series trophy just yet. That will take a little bit of time, as the team is finally doing it correctly.
Even though the team is still structuring a competitive team, that doesn’t mean they will not have interest in talent on the current open market.
Right now, there are many pitching options on the open market. Jered Weaver and Jake Peavy have both been rumored to be of some interest to the Padres. There are also names like Doug Fister, Jorge De La Rosa, Tim Lincecum, and Mat Latos that are still available. Each of the aforementioned starting pitchers come with risks, and there is certainly a reason why they are presently looking for work so close to the spring.
Of all the available pitchers, Travis Wood is really someone the team should consider for its staff. I wrote about this topic a few weeks back, and he still has yet to find a job with spring baseball just days away. The time is now for the team to take advantage and sign this undervalued pitcher. Wood has pitched mainly out of the bullpen for the last two seasons with the Chicago Cubs, but does have the experience and ability to start if needed.
Reports from Ken Rosenthal indicate that the Cubs would like to re-sign Wood and bring him back as a long-man in the bullpen. He seems to still want to start and realizes that the Padres will give him that chance. As long as he is healthy, there is a good chance he will take the ball every fifth day. That is where we are in this standoff, and it will surely end in the coming days as spring training is about to begin.
The value of starting, and performing as a starter, is very enticing to Travis Wood. He and his representatives realize that if he can put together a successful season on a one-year deal, he will cash in big next off-season. That is a big risk though, as nothing is given in the game of baseball. It would take far more than the $1-2 million they paid (each) for Jhoulys Chacin, Trevor Cahill, and Clayton Richard services this coming year. Each free agent was brought in on a one-year deal, with the hopes they can boost their value as a Padre.
Travis Wood has decent value presently, despite not being signed yet. Giving him a $4-7 million dollar deal for one year is not too much of a stretch. If he is able to secure a rotation spot and produce, he would be a very hot commodity to trade to playoff teams come July. The Padres could easily package him for yet more prospects who fit the direction of the club.
Travis Wood can swing the bat. With nine career home runs in just over 200 at bats, he is easily one of the best hitting pitchers in the league. Take a look at this grand slam off of Jake Peavy in 2013. He has surprising pop from the right side of the plate despite not being a large body. Wood hit a home run last season in the playoffs, as he took George Kontos deep in Game 2 of the NLDS.
Last season for the Cubs, Wood even played the outfield and made a fantastic catch in left field.
What in the world was he doing in left field? Well, this is Joe Maddon we are talking about. He does enjoy doing things his own way. The point is, Wood has athletic ability. I wouldn’t count on seeing him in the outfield on a weekly basis, but if Andy Green wants to get creative late in a game, he can stash Wood in left for an out or two. His defensive abilities, teamed with his strength as a hitter, make Travis Wood an interesting addition to any bullpen.
Signing him to a deal feels like a no-brainer as long as his cost doesn’t get too high. He will help solidify the rotation, provide a veteran left-handed presence, and could easily be flipped later in the season for young players if the Padres chose to. A.J. Preller is on it, and things could progress rather quickly as the Padres look for innings-eaters for the 2017 season.
I do not expect him to be available much longer. If the Padres care to spend a little money now, Wood could reward them with performance on the field in many different ways. He could also give them another veteran left-handed pitcher, like Brad Hand and Ryan Buchter, who has real value. Especially during crunch time when teams are in a playoff push. We all know that A.J. Preller enjoys having trade commodities. Travis Wood is a great commodity and the Padres could very well sign him in the next few days.