The Rundown: Travis Wood to Royals, Mike Montgomery Open to Rotation or Pen, David Rollins Clears Waivers

We’ve got a lot to talk about, so let’s just dive right into the Travis Wood stuff right out of the gate. Seems like a pretty cut-and-dried deal from the outset: Two years and a guaranteed $12 million from Kansas City, with a chance to compete for a starting role. Upon further review, however, I started asking a few questions.

Based on what was being reported up to the signing, we knew that both the Cubs and Padres were actively involved in the pursuit of the lefty swingman. We also knew that two other teams, one of which was probably the Royals, were in the mix. Because they wouldn’t be offering him a chance to start, the Cubs were thought to be trailing in the race. Even so, it strikes me as a little odd that an AL team without a guaranteed spot in the rotation won out. And with a somewhat pedestrian offer, at that.

While $6 per isn’t bad, it’s pretty much in line with what I figured the Cubs were going to offer and is a little lighter than what a starter should be able to command. Which means that Wood either wasn’t getting strong vibes that such a spot really was open elsewhere or he felt KC offered the best overall opportunity.

It’s probably just coincidence, but it’s interesting to see Wood joining Jason Hammel, who reportedly left Chicago because of a rift with Joe Maddon (in case you don’t click the link, I’m dubious of the report, at least in terms of the extent to which the frosty relationship factored). While their situations are very different, Wood saw some pretty significant changes in the way he was deployed over the last couple seasons. But where Hammel was getting pulled from games early and left off the playoff rosters, Wood was seemingly used too often — especially against righties — and pitched in the postseason.

So, yeah, I can’t find any reason to read further into this. I know a lot of folks had wanted Wood back in a Cubs uniform, but his departure was a foregone conclusion and their acquisition of guys like Eddie Butler, Brett Anderson, and Alec Mills made the long-tenured Cub quite expendable. There’s also the fact that…

Mike Montgomery is down for whatever

Whether it’s because he recognizes how much better he’s been in relief or whether he’s still just riding high from those final pitches in the World Series, Mike Montgomery told Carrie Muskat he’s cool with whatever role he has this season.

“Especially after that long season, we’ll need guys, and you can’t rely on five guys the whole year,” Montgomery said. “I’m ready to do both. I feel comfortable starting. That’s my most comfortable job. Last year, I learned a lot in the ‘pen and I learned how to adapt to that as well.”

“Every camp I’ve been in, you’re always competing with somebody and I enjoy that. It’s a challenge, but I think that’s how it should be because it gets the best out of players. I’m looking forward to competing for that role. At the same time, I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team.”

Not that he would or should say anything else at this juncture, seeing that he’s an unproven starter who’s expected to play a vital role for the defending World Series champs. Even so, it sounds like Montgomery gets the situation and understands how he fits into the whole thing.

David Rollins clears waivers, in camp with Cubs

After being DFA’d for the sixth(!) time this offseason, David Rollins cleared waivers and will remain in Cubs camp as a non-roster invitee. You really have to feel for the guy, as it can’t be easy to have the rug pulled out for you time and again. He’s like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football. Or maybe Susan Lucci, good enough to keep getting invites but not quite good enough to win.

In any case, I hope he shows out and maintains a spot in the organization, even if it’s only so he can stay in one place for a while.

More news and notes

  • After some sniffing from several teams, the Cubs among them, Seth Maness has agreed to a minor league deal with the Royals. He’ll earn $1.25 million if he makes the 25-man and can trigger up to another $750K in incentives. Seems like a really good bargain if he works out at all. What’s with all these potential Cubs targets going to KC, though?
  • Homer Bailey is expected to be out until at least June following surgery to remove bone spurs from his right elbow. That makes sense, given that Bailey’s big extension in 2014 is part of what spurred Jeff Samardzija to turn down the Cubs’ paltry $85 million offer.
  • We’ve got a different angle of the video in the maiden voyage of our new Clip Fix segment, but this tennis ball drill the Cubs went through Monday was cool.

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