Cubs still hope to negotiate multiyear deal

Updated: January 16, 2004, 10:26 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

CHICAGO -- Kerry Wood showed up at the Chicago Cubs' annual fan convention with a new contract.

Wood agreed to a $9.75 million, one-year deal Friday, buying the two sides more time to work out a multiyear contract. The right-hander filed for arbitration Thursday, and the Cubs would have had to exchange salary figures Tuesday if they hadn't reached the deal.

"We all feel like we're going to have a multiyear deal done before camp," general manager Jim Hendry said.

The deal also provides for a Cy Young bonus ($200,000 for placing first, $100,000 for 2nd; $75,000 for 3rd; $50,000 for 4th through 5th), ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports.

Wood will also earn $75,000 if he makes the All-Star team, Stark reports.

The Cubs' pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Mesa, Ariz., on Feb. 18.

Wood is eager for the season to start. The Cubs came within five outs of making the World Series last year, and he'd like nothing more than to finish the job.

"We were happy with the season, but we were obviously disappointed," Wood said. "You're supposed to be playing baseball in October, and we plan on making a habit of that."

Having him around for the foreseeable future will certainly help.

The 26-year-old Wood has been one of baseball's top pitchers since he first stepped on a big league mound in 1998. He tied a major-league record with 20 strikeouts in just his fifth career start, and won NL Rookie of the Year honors in 1998.

He missed the 1999 season because of ligament replacement surgery, but has come back as an even more complete pitcher. He has a 3.41 ERA over the past seasons, and has struck out at least 200 batters each year.

Wood had the best season of his young career last year, going 14-11 with a 3.20 ERA, and leading the majors with 266 strikeouts. His victory total and ERA were both career bests.

He was 3-0 over his last four regular-season starts, finishing the year with a streak of 17 scoreless innings. He won his first two starts in the postseason, holding the hot-hitting Atlanta Braves to a single run.

Wood isn't the only ace the Cubs are trying to lock up. They've offered Greg Maddux a two-year deal believed to be worth at least $13 million, and are waiting for an answer.

"We're hopeful, but it's really up to him," Hendry said. "That's the way it should be, because he's earned it."

Maddux spent his first seven seasons in Chicago, going 95-75 and winning the first of his four Cy Young awards. But he left for Atlanta after the 1992 season in a money dispute.

Maddux was 194-88 with a 2.63 ERA during his 11-year stint in Atlanta, setting an NL record for most consecutive innings without a walk and becoming the poster child for consistency with his streak of 15-win seasons. He is now 11 wins shy of his 300th career victory.

"We feel like we're prepared to win whether Greg comes or not, but we certainly would like to have him," Hendry said. "He's welcome to come home any time he wants."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.