Kerry Wood’s Sudden Excellence Confusing the Bronx

August 28, 2010   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

When two opposing forces meet, the results can be explosive. We see it in television, movies, and even in our everyday sayings (the unstoppable force vs. the immovable object, or more simply, red vs. blue).

The Yankees gave a huge contract to Carl Pavano after the 2004 season, and after the 2008 season, the Yankees gave up on Pavano. This was the result of numerous injuries, including Tommy John surgery, which had fans very unhappy that the Yankees wasted their money on this guy. He signed with the Cleveland Indians, and pitched well enough to be traded to Minnesota, where his career has gotten back on track.

Let’s say that his problems had Yankees fans seeing red.

Meanwhile, in Chicago, Kerry Wood had an amazing rookie year in 1998 for the Cubs. Injuries began to pile up right after that. Injury, after injury, after injury caused Kerry Wood to make the disabled list more times than the Red Sox outfield this year.

After an attempt to make him a closer in 2008, Wood signed with the Cleveland Indians (always the middle man) and became their closer in 2009 and 2010. He struggled though, and he was traded to New York.

The player who was always hurt and rarely effective was given to the Yankees, even though that’s exactly who they got rid of in 2008. they acquired, at the deadline, someone rather experienced wearing blue.

Red vs. blue. The Yankees get rid of an ineffective pitcher who goes on to play well, and later acquire an ineffective pitcher who, so far, has been great for the Yankees. Explosive result? Very much so.

In his 10 appearances, 11.2 innings, he has allowed only one earned run, thrown 15 strikeouts, and has been the setup man Joba Chamberlain never was. The question is, how?

Perhaps it’s the lack of pressure now. The Yankees have a dominant closer, as well as a great rotation, so if Kerry Wood in the eighth allows a run or two, it’s not the end of the world. Granted, this is New York; there’s automatically pressure for anyone and everyone, doubly so if you have baggage like Wood does.

Perhaps it’s that he was always meant to be a setup man. We never saw this side of Wood (except for some of 2007), we only saw the starter and the closer. There’s nothing wrong with being a setup man. After all, some of history’s better setup men were Yankees: Paul Quantrill and Tom Gordon, among others.

Maybe though, just maybe, it’s everything realigning. The Yankees lose Pavano, but acquire Wood. So long as Wood doesn’t get injured, everything is in check.

Or maybe the Indians are just good luck for the Yankees in matters like this. They’ll take the low-risk, high-reward, low-pay guy from them and return a low-risk, high-reward, high-pay guy, such is the bartering system of the smaller market teams.

Whatever the case is, the Yankees have bolstered their bullpen in a move no one thought would mean anything, and by doing so they’ve cemented their status as this year’s front-runner, as unlikely as the source of the cement was.

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