When Kerry Wood agreed to a new deal with the Chicago Cubs last Friday that was announced during the annual Cubs Convention, fans had no idea as they were cheering the announcement of his signing that he nearly left his long-time team to play somewhere else.
While published reports indicated that the teams that were after Wood included the Cincinnati Reds, the Detroit Tigers, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Texas Rangers, multiple sources have confirmed to me tonight that had Wood not re-signed with the Cubs he would most likely have agreed to a deal with the Chicago White Sox.
The Sox and Wood had multiple conversations during this years free agent process and unlike last offseason when he clearly chose the Cubs' 1.5 million over the White Sox' 2-year10 million deal, this winter, Wood seriously considered the Sox and only re-upped with the Cubs after a conversation with Tom Ricketts and Theo Epstein that resulted in the North Siders increasing their offer.
Wood had a solid 2011 season when he appeared in 55 games for the Cubs and while he lends tremendous experience to the back end of the bullpen, his leadership in the clubhouse was also a huge factor in the number of teams that were interested in his services.
The Sox have long respected Wood and were interested in having him as part of their revamped bullpen that has a major question mark that needs to be answered after the trade of closer Sergio Santos to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Wood would have had a legitimate shot at closing for the White Sox but in the end, he chose to stay with the organization that was in his heart.
As one source told me, the Cubs were truly the only place that Woody wanted to pitch. However, if the Cubs had not increased their offer, he would have been willing to move.