After consulting with Dr. Pedro Martinez of the NY Mets on arm care, Kerry Wood has filed for free agency. As the Chicago Tribune‘s Paul Sullivan points out below, it wasn’t long ago that Kerry Wood asked Cub fans for a second chance in 2007. Wood felt “obligated” to earn some of the tens of millions the Cubs have given him for his years long stint on the DL. Wood proved his heartfelt obligation by waiting an entire day of eligibility before filing for free agency, according to Ron Blum of the AP, and one can only hope grateful Cub fans are holding the clubhouse door open for the man who can’t even lift his own $13.75 million paycheck .

After receiving $32 million over three injury-plagued seasons, Wood said in September he felt an “obligation” to return.

“As a player, you feel”you don’t want to say guilty”but you feel like you haven’t done your job and earned your money and gone out and done what you’re supposed to do,” Wood said.

There’s no guarantee Wood can stay healthy as he lets his rotator-cuff injury heal on its own this off-season. When Wood considered surgery last summer, he conferred with Mets starter Pedro Martinez, who opted against surgery after 2001 then went 20-4 with a 2.26 ERA and 239 strikeouts in ’02.

But several weeks after he talked to Wood, Martinez’s season ended with more rotator-cuff problems. He underwent surgery three weeks ago to repair a tendon, which will keep him out for the first half of 2007.

Wood has acknowledged he’ll return as a reliever, but he isn’t discounting a starting role by 2008. If a team gambles by overpaying Wood in ’07 with the idea of moving him into its rotation in ’08, he’ll probably bolt.