The latest buzz has the Yankees acquiring Kerry Wood from the Indians for a player to be named later. The Yankees needed a relief pitcher, but Wood, who was just activated from the disabled list where he had landed due to a blister on his right index finger, is an underwhelming solution. Not only is he seemingly always hurt, but in two seasons with the Indians, he has posted a 4.80 ERA and 4.7 BB/9, the worst of that work coming this year (6.30 ERA, 5.0 BB/9), while his typically stellar strikeout rate has been a bit more ordinary at 8.1 K/9 (down from 10.3 K/9 both last year and career). Wood has also given up 1.4 home runs per nine innings this year, all of which combines to make him look a lot like Kyle Farnsworth with a sketchier injury history. Given that Joe Girardi used to catch both pitchers with the Cubs and was likely a driving force behind the Wood acquisition, the comparison seems apt.
As Tyler Kepner has been pointing out on twitter, Wood has been better since a disaster outing on May 19, posting a 3.78 ERA since, but even that figure isn’t overwhelming, and he’s still blown two games and lost a third over the course of just 18 games before landing on the DL with that blister. All of which is to say, I’m not optimistic, and part of me would have rather taken a chance on Chad Qualls (who went to the Rays early this morning) and his outlandish .427 BABIP. Qualls has had better peripherals than Wood this year and, from what I can tell, has never been on the DL. Anyone want to place bets on who pitches better over the next two months?
Update: The Wood deal is official, with Joel Sherman tweeting that the compensation could be money or two “middling” minor leaguers. Indians’ choice if Wood says healthy, price drops after the fact if Wood gets hurt.