New York Yankees Acquire Kerry Wood

At 65-37, The New York Yankees have a better than 90 percent chance of making the playoffs according to Cool Standings. With no gaping holes and a potential blockbuster for a starting pitcher no longer on the table, the Bombers have bolstered the DH spot with Lance Berkman and upgraded with bench with Austin Kearns. Now, the Yankees have added Kerry Wood from the Cleveland Indians in an attempt to strengthen the bridge to Mariano Rivera. The Indians will send cash (approximately $1.5 million of Wood’s remaining $3.6 million salary) as part of the deal, while picking up a player to be named later from the Yankees.

Wood, 33, inked a two-year, $20.5 million deal with the Tribe prior to the 2009 season. Suffice it to say, Cleveland’s return on investment has been poor — Wood compiled just 0.2 WAR in 75 innings with the Indians. His xFIP was 4.11 in 55 frames last season, as he missed lots of bats (10.31 K/9) but walked 4.58 batters per nine. In between DL stints for a strained Latissimus muscle in his back and a blister on his right index finger in 2010, Wood has 8.1 K/9, 4.95 BB/9 and a 5.04 xFIP in 20 IP. The Texan has an $11 million club option for the 2011 season that would have been guaranteed if he finished 55 games this season, but that ship has obviously sailed. And, that option won’t be exercised. The Yankees might, as Rob Neyer said, “have more loose money than a Saudi prince,” but there’s no chance of them retaining Wood at that price.

As a unit, Yankees’ bullpen ranks fourth in the American League in xFIP and seventh in Win Probability Added. Mo remains marvelous, and both Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson have pitched much better than their ERAs would indicate. The extra relief arm won’t hurt, though. Given Wood’s injury problems and bouts of wildness, he shouldn’t be expected to dominate — ZiPS projects him for a 4.05 rest-of-season FIP, with a strikeout per inning and nearly four walks per nine frames. But, considering the apparently minimal price tag to pick up Wood and the lack of depth in the Bombers’ ‘pen, he’s a worthwhile addition.

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A recent graduate of Duquesne University, David Golebiewski is a contributing writer for Fangraphs, The Pittsburgh Sports Report and Baseball Analytics. His work for Inside Edge Scouting Services has appeared on and, and he was a fantasy baseball columnist for Rotoworld from 2009-2010. He recently contributed an article on Mike Stanton's slugging to The Hardball Times Annual 2012. Contact David at and check out his work at Journalist For Hire.

10 Responses to “New York Yankees Acquire Kerry Wood”

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  1. sfDOOM says:

    …And every Yankees fan in New York begins to cringe at the name Kerry Woods.

    What’s up?
    Mark Prior wasn’t available?

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  2. Lee D says:

    cheapest vet reliever i suppose. but ugh

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  3. awayish says:

    he still has strikeout stuff and the era is botched by a few bad outings. not a bad non-cost option to pick up.

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  4. Bill@TDS says:

    Just adding an extra arm wouldn’t hurt, but don’t you think Wood will start getting high leverage innings that otherwise might go to Joba? That will hurt a little, I’d think.

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  5. pft says:

    Since May 21 he has a 3.45 ERA, 15% LD rate, acceptable BB and HR rates and a nice K rate while saving 8 in 10 opportunities. Good insurance in case Rivera goes down, competition for Joba to be the bridge.

    You can say Joba has been better than his ERA, but my eyes tell me otherwise, especially at home.

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  6. pft says:

    Joba has also been bad in day games. Might be SSS, but I suspect there is more to Jobas inconsistency than bad luck, and I suspect the Yankees know it, but he is too old for a babysitter.

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  7. Raf says:

    At the very least, Kerry Wood should be better than Chan Ho Park

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  8. hans says:

    I like this pick up for the Yankees because it will likely lead to them losing a few more games than they would otherwise have done without acquiring him.

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