|The Indians spent $20.5 million to bring veteran Kerry Wood to Cleveland, thinking that they had bought two years of elite ninth-inning work. As it played out, they got much less than they bargained for from the veteran reliever, who ran up a 4.80 ERA over 75 innings, walked 6.2 batters per nine and converted just 28-of-37 (76 percent) of save opportunities.
So a year and a half into the deal, Cleveland unceremoniously traded Wood to the Yankees for future considerations. The transaction saved the Indians $3 million and change (minus the cost of Wood’s replacement), but netted nothing in the way of impact talent. Three months after the trade, on Oct. 21, Cleveland settled on Double-A infielder Matt Cusick and 24-year-old righthander Andrew Shive, who after three pro season has yet to establish himself in full-season ball.
After his trade to the Yankees, Wood thrived as primary set-up reliever for Mariano Rivera, striking out 31 in 26 innings and allowing just two runs in 24 appearances. Wood walked 6.2 batters per nine innings, however, establishing the only link to his Indians days.
|Matt Cusick, 3b/2b
Age: 24. Position: 3B (52 G), 2B (23 G).
Born: May 5, 1986 in San Dimas, Calif.
Ht.: 5-10. Wt.: 190. Bats: L. Throws: R.
School: Southern California.
Career Transactions: Selected by Astros in 10th round of 2007 draft; signed June 13, 2007 … Traded by Astros to Yankees for RHP LaTroy Hawkins, July 30, 2008.
Cusick hit better than .300 with more walks than strikeouts in each of his three years at USC, and he batted .313/.384/.419 in 217 at-bats for high Class A Tampa in 2009. But he hasn’t scaled those heights since, batting a cumulative .236/.314/.323 in 297 at-bats for Double-A Trenton. But as a lefty hitter with a strong batting eye and some infield utility, Cusick might earn a cup of coffee in the big leagues.
|Andrew Shive, rhp
Born: Nov. 5, 1985 in Bakersfield, Calif.
Ht.: 6-6. Wt.: 260. Bats: R. Throws: R.
School: Azusa Pacific (Calif.).
Career Transactions: Selected by Yankees in 35th round of 2008 draft; signed June 10, 2008.
A burly, slow-twitch righty without an out-pitch, Shive will have to work to stay relevant in pro ball. He sits in the high 80s and throws a fringy slider, so he’s not going to get by on pure stuff. Shive missed the entire 2009 season with injury, and his follow-up turned out to be another wasted development year. In a discouraging sign, he pitched even less effectively after a demotion to the short-season New York-Penn League in late July.
|Kerry Wood, rhp
Age: 33. Remaining Commitment: Approximately $3.465 million (signed 2-year, $20.5 million deal with Indians in December 2008).
Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.