In a move that surprised even the Cubs, former staff ace and closer Kerry Wood agreed to return to his baseball roots and sign with his original team for one year, $1.5 million, according to a source.
In taking the below-market deal to return to the team that drafted him fourth overall in 1995, the hard-throwing right-hander joins a potentially formidable back end of the Cubs' bullpen that also includes closer Carlos Marmol and lefty setup man Sean Marshall.
As recently as last week, team officials expected Wood to take a more lucrative, multi-year offer from either the New York Yankees, where he finished last season, or the Boston Red Sox.
Wood also considered a one-year, $3.5 million offer from the White Sox before following his heart back to the North Side, where he maintains strong relationships with Cubs front office personnel, as well as several former teammates still with the club.
Wood spent the first 11 years of his career with the Cubs as both an All-Star starter and later an All-Star closer -- before signing a two-year, $20 million free agent deal with the Cleveland Indians before the 2009 season. He was traded to the Yankees last summer.
Wood went 3-4 with eight saves and a 3.13 ERA last season, including 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA in 26 setup innings with the Yankees after the trade