Travis Wood had a fine season in 2013, sporting a 3.11 ERA in 200 innings of work for the Cubs. He was statistically the Cubs most consistent starting pitcher last year and he was awarded 3.9 MM in arbitration for it. I think that's more than fair, I don't expect Wood to put up numbers similar to last year. Starting pitchers with K% under 20% give off all sorts of warning signals to me. I don't expect Wood to regress all the way back to the questionable 5th starter he was in Cincinnati but I don't believe that he's a top of the rotation type arm either. Wood had another good BABIP year which considering the type of contact he induces might have a bit more to do with talent rather than just straight up luck.
|2010||Reds||0.63||21.4 %||30.5 %||48.1 %||9.9 %||6.3 %||3.97|
|2011||Reds||0.71||22.4 %||32.1 %||45.5 %||11.3 %||6.7 %||4.61|
|2012||Cubs||0.78||21.8 %||34.3 %||43.9 %||8.6 %||12.7 %||4.62|
|2013||Cubs||0.75||22.3 %||33.2 %||44.5 %||14.2 %||6.9 %||4.50|
|Total||- - -||0.73||22.0 %||32.8 %||45.2 %||11.3 %||8.3 %||4.46|
(GB/FB = Groundball Flyball Ratio, LD = Line Drive, IFFB = Infield Flyball)
The infield flyball rate is pretty high, and while I'm not the biggest xFIP fan I think that's a number that should be kept in mind for next year.
Let's look at some advanced rates:
|2011||Reds (AAA)||20.3 %||7.3 %||.301||1.55||.363||67.0 %||3.98|
|2011||Reds||16.4 %||8.6 %||.282||1.49||.324||71.0 %||125||104||4.06|
|2012||Cubs (AAA)||22.2 %||6.3 %||.293||1.43||.358||71.7 %||3.76|
|2012||Cubs||18.3 %||8.3 %||.227||1.20||.244||71.9 %||104||119||4.84|
|2013||Cubs||17.5 %||8.0 %||.218||1.15||.248||77.4 %||80||100||3.89|
Again, the K rate is a slight concern and I think he has a slightly worse season next year than this year but Wood is also a pitcher who is worth having in the middle of your rotation. None of this is meant to paint a bad picture of Wood, I'm merely pointing out that we should all expect him to come back to earth a little bit next year.
With Travis Wood dealt with that leaves Darwin Barney, Jeff Samardzija and Justin Ruggiano as the only players who have yet to settle their arbitration deals. Ruggiano isn't so interesting, so let's concentrate on the other guys.
Darwin Barney requested 2.8 MM which I think is a little high. Barney can't hit, and even when he does he posts the emptiest .270 this side of Jamey Carroll. Barney is a bit of a fan favorite because of his defensive prowess which is seen as a try hard talent but I do think he hurts more than he helps when given 600 PAs. Barney would be better suited for a super utility role much like the one Brendan Ryan should fill on the Yankees.
Jeff Samardzija will be an interesting case. He asked for 6.2 MM which I think is much closer to what he should get than the 4.4 MM that the Cubs countered with. Samardzija isn't a top tier pitcher at this point and considering his age I wonder how much growth there is for him. There is some potential in the young arm and I do think he has a bounce back season next year. He can be a very good 3 starter type who is very much in the Matt Garza mold in terms of production.