Via ESPN Chicago:
Free-agent pitcher Kerry Wood would be welcomed back to the Chicago Cubs if payroll permits, according to a source familiar with the situation.
The New York Yankees declined to pick up the option on Wood’s 2011 contract, but that doesn’t mean the Yankees won’t try to re-sign Wood at a later date and lower number.
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts is on record saying the payroll for 2011 will drop slightly from its peak of $140 million in 2010.
One thing working against the Yankees here, besides the fact that they don’t have a closer position to offer Wood, is that he is a very low priority right now. Right now they are dealing with filling their vacant pitching coach job. Then they have to settle things with Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. After that there is Cliff Lee.
All of that could bring us nearly to Christmas. So if a team looking to sign Wood wants to avoid dealing with the Yankees, they could be aggressive and try to lock him up before they even have the time to address him.