Should Kerry Wood Retire Before Season’s End?

Brutal loss Friday night/Saturday morning in Milwaukee. It’s just too painful to relive all the details.

The saving grace is Game 2 starts at noon today. No sense stirring over all the woulda, coulda and should haves from the 8-7, 13-inning loss–and there were many.

I’ve been asked several times this week both in person and via Twitter if Kerry Wood should call it a career and retire from baseball?

My answer is ‘No,’ which I say based on the fact it’s mid-May and there’s just no way Wood is willing to hang’em up mid-season, nor should he.

Wood retiring immediately might seem fitting of a once bright career often hampered by lengthy injuries. But something tells me Kerry is looking for closure, an ending leaving himself and the fans remembering the good times more than the bad.

Retiring now, on his own will, is no different than quitting. We know Wood’s not that kind of guy or competitor, and is the very reason why he’s so respected by his fans and his peers.

It’s also why his glove tossing incident this week came with such fanfare. Losing his cool has never been Wood’s style.

Although Wood prefers the event goes unnoticed, the glove-toss can’t be ignored, and it signaled to me Wood feels lost on the rubber. He’s become very hittable–and he knows it.

Perhaps it’s the idea the end-is-near that’s crept into Wood’s head, which is a likely reality for any 35-year-old vet trying to hang on. 

My true concern with Wood, not surprisingly, is whether or not he’s fully healthy? His fastball velocity is down and he’s throwing his breaking stuff with less regularity, and rarely for strikes.

If health is the culprit the Cubs might as well put him back on the DL. He’s not been a reliable arm Sveum can turn to in the late innings, which is what the Cubs so desperately need.

That doesn’t necessarily help a woeful bullpen, of course, but Wood can’t hurt the team from the DL the way he has most of the season on the mound.

A DL stint might provide Wood a chance to regain full health and possibly rebound to finish out the year, and his 14-year career, with some dignity.

Forget about trading Wood. He has no trade value and Tom Ricketts wouldn’t dare deal ‘Kid K’ after sticking his neck out to bring him back this winter for one more season.

Wood, perhaps more so than Marmol, is here to stay. And that’s that.

The worst case scenario is Wood continues to struggle and the Cubs are forced to issue an ultimatum to ‘retire’ or accept his unconditional release from the club.

It would be a rather sad ending for a much beloved Cub, but the more Wood struggles, the more likely it becomes Kerry finalizes his Cubs career standing with family members behind home plate at Wrigley Field during a small ceremony held in late September.

No doubt that day is near. But I remain hopeful it’s one that comes next season rather than this one.


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