Cub Fan #1 Kerry Wood resigns with the Cubs. Look at this way, we’ve all had friends in bands who only get booked if they can bring friends who buy beer. (Photo: Chris Sweda, Chicago Tribune)
In one of the biggest non-dramas of the off-season, Kerry Wood has signed a one-year deal with the Cubs for $3 million. The Sun-Times‘ Gordon Wittenmyer reports it from the annual Cubs convention, here. I’ve been complaining about the inverse ratio of what Kerry Wood actually delivers on the field to his star treatment in the Cubs’ front office for years, but for once I think they got it right. Indeed, sabremetrics has come to Wrigley.
Do the math: The Cubs have no marquee player. In merch sales, star attractions, and ticket sales, they can’t compete with an A-Rod or a Pujols. You have to pay a star $250 million to pull fans in like that. So how do you recreate those numbers in the aggregate? Even partially? And for a bargain price? In Kerry Wood, the Cubs are paying $3 million for a guy who can deliver North Side fans in bigger numbers than he’s ever delivered in wins or strike-outs.
What’s Kerry Wood’s job? It’s not 20-strikeout games or 200 inning seasons or even dependably closing a game – all of which he has received big money to do in the past and on which he never delivered. His job is his fan base. Indeed, over the past few years, the Cub faithful have actually rejected losing teams, meaning Kerry Wood is all the more valuable in the one place where he’s a draw, Wrigleyville. And, if you recall the damage a set-up man like Bob Howry could do to the Cub W-L record, $3 mil for a dependable set-up man and a season’s worth of actively excited Kerry Wood fans is a deal.