Creeping Inexorably Toward A Worthwhile Sub-Heading.
Friday, February 27, 2004
To the shock of only the most hardened pessimists, the Cubs got a multi-year deal done with Kerry Wood today. I can see why it took some time to do, because it reads like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-Book. In the interest of our collective sanity, here's the relevant passages from the AP story:
His new agreement calls for a $3 million signing bonus, payable at $1 million annually over three years, and salaries of $7 million this season, $8.5 million in 2005 and $11 million in 2006.
The Cubs have a $13.5 million option for 2007 with a $3 million buyout, and the 2007 salary would become guaranteed if Wood pitches 400 or more innings in 2005 and 2006 combined. But Wood also can reject the option, making himself eligible for free agency after the 2006 season.
So, the one-year deal from earlier is gone, and in it's place is the contract above. The Cubs get some payroll flexibility for the next two years, as well as some catastrophic injury insurance in the option year, while Wood gets some security for now and flexibility for later, should the market turn around.
Perhaps my favorite part of this deal is that it's only $1M more over three years than the deal Andy Pettite got. Rather than a case of Wood being underpaid, it underscores how hard the Astros got screwed. Pettite is a fine pitcher, but I don't think he'll be a good comp for Wood over the next few years. Factor in the extreme backloading on Pettite's deal (in 2006, while Wood is making $12M in salary and signing bonus at age 29, Pettite will make $17.5M at age 34!), and I like the Cubs' methods much better.
Wait, I take that back. The comparison to Pettite is not my favorite part of the deal. Locking up the player I most admire for three years, that's what I like best.