Jerry Crasnick's weekend tweet suggested the Phils could make a play at veteran Kerry Wood if they don't like what they see in recovering set-up man Jose Contreras. Wood is on record saying he'd either re-sign with the Cubs or retire.
Contreras was cleared to start a throwing program last week, according to CSNPhilly's Jim Salisbury, but the Phils' confirmed interest in Wood indicates some unease in the back of the bullpen. Wood, 34, posted a 3.35 ERA and 57/21 K/BB ratio last season, including his best BB/9 since 2008 (3.7). Fangraphs pitch f/x data shows a blend that includes 50 percent fastball, 38 percent cutter - which was added to his repertoire in 2009 - and 12 percent curveball, which has returned to vintage effectiveness thanks to readjusted mechanics. His fastball sits at 94 mph.
Wood, considered one of the clubhouse captains in Chicago, took a below-market deal to return to the Windy City last season and was reportedly close to a deal with the Cubs as of Friday, but the Phils are now being mentioned, along with the Tigers, Angels and Reds, as contending clubs in the running for the right-hander. Salisbury floats $4 million as Wood's asking price, which could be too rich for the Phillies' blood. “Our payroll is well past where we want to be after signing Jimmy [Rollins] -- that’s a fact,” Ruben Amaro revealed last week. “It’s going to be right around or about where we finished last year. We’re in a dangerous area.” [Salisbury piece]
Beerleaguer: The Phils locked down the ninth inning with Jonathan Papelbon, but in doing so, might have sold themselves short in the eighth inning. Meanwhile, Texas is keeping an eye on Ryan Madson in order to keep up with the Joneses in the AL West. The Rangers could end up with a lights-out, late-inning mixture of Madson, Mike Adams and Joe Nathan all for roughly the same commitment as the Phils gave to Papelbon.