Kerry Wood, whose place in Cub history was assured for time immemorial the moment his 20-strikeout game ended in early May, 1998, is now just that—history. At least, in terms of his time in Cubbie blue. That was implied by the Cubs' acquisition of the Marlins' Kevin Gregg on Thursday and then confirmed by Cubs GM Jim Hendry. As quoted by Paul Sullivan in the Tribune:
"Honestly, we feel for his own good, and for the good of him and his family, there is going to be a longer and more lucrative deal somewhere else than there would be here now," Hendry said. "And it would be unfair to keep it dangling for another month or so and say, 'Let's see where the ownership situation is going, let's see what happens if we don't do this, we may do that.'
"He has been such a good citizen the last couple of years and always has come back to us for less money, and the chance to make up the difference he left on the table, taking the ball through thick and thin. And I really feel like the right thing to do for him and his family is don't put him in a situation where he'd have to do that again."
To land Gregg, the Cubs shipped 6-foot-4, 275-pound, 100 mph-throwin' relief prospect Jose Ceda to the Marlins.
From the Miami Herald:
The Marlins have been actively shopping Gregg, who stands to receive more than $4 million next season through salary arbitration. Matt Lindstrom is the current frontrunner to take over the closer's role next season.Also from the Herald, regarding the 21-year-old Ceda, who came to the Cubs organization in the 2006 deal that sent Todd Walker to the Padres and has 227 strikeouts in 180 2/3 minor league innings:
Gregg, who has been the Marlins' closer the past two seasons, totaled 61 saves for the Marlins in 2007 and '08. But his nine blown saves last season was tied for most in the majors, and Gregg lost his ninth-inning role in September after missing time with patella tendinitis in his left knee.
He had surgery on the knee nearly three weeks ago and is expected to be ready for spring training.
Ceda was considered to have one of the best arms in the Cubs organization. Scouting reports say that while his change-up needs work, he throws a hard slider and a fastball that approaches 100 miles per hour. He has averaged more than 11 strikeouts per nine innings during his three seasons in the minors.
But his size...has raised eyebrows. His minor-league teammates fined him $10 in a kangaroo court for asking a young boy at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter to buy him ice cream when Daytona played there last summer.
I'm going to take more time than I have right now to say goodbye to Kerry Wood. He always struck me as a first-class guy and it saddens me to think that if the Cubs finally get to the World Series next year or anytime soon, it will be without Kerry Wood there to enjoy it.