So when I was on Hotstove.com TV, I was asked about the status of Kerry Wood, and I kind of blew off the question, saying I’ve heard nothing about him not being ready for opening day.
Wood is on the DL for the 13th time in his 12 year ML career, and this one will prove costly to him, as it almost guarantees (assuming he is out for two months) that he will not get a chance to vest his $11 million option for 2011. This could also mean Wood will last the season in Cleveland, as it’s hard to trade damaged goods that make a lot of money (See: Hafner, Travis). Plus, if there’s no chance of the option vesting, Wood will be a lot more attractive to other teams and the Indians may actually be able to get something of value in return for him.
Wood’s injury opens the door for Kenny Powers … I mean Chris Perez, to close. He’s got the closer’s mentality and the stuff for the job, and he was lights out after a brutal start to his Indians career last year, so I’m really not worried about the status of the 9th inning right now. The Indians probably won’t have too many save opportunities to begin with anyways.
(For anyone who doesn’t get the Kenny Powers joke, you need to see “Eastbound and Down” on HBO. It’s about a former major league relief pitcher, played by Danny McBride, and Perez looks JUST like him. Let’s hope Perez’s career isn’t cut short by drugs and partying, the way Power’s career was. Anyways, watch “Eastbound and Down.” It’s hilarious.)
All in all, losing Wood sucks, because you never want your team to go into the season at less than full strength. But at least this gives Perez a chance to close and we can see if he is truly going to be the Indians closer next year. And Wood not vesting that option could be a godsend to the Tribe.
All this being said, I am sad to see Wood get hurt. I think he’s a good guy and good for a clubhouse that doesn’t have too many leaders anymore. Best case scenario, if he has to be hurt, he’s hurt just long enough to ensure that option doesn’t vest and then he comes back and is a lights-out closer for half a year before being traded to a contender for a valuable young player.
13 days till Opening Day!!!