Free Agent Target: Travis Wood
The biggest need for the Pirates this offseason is starting pitching. However, the Bucs need a bullpen arm or two as well. Could Travis Wood be a fit?
For the most part, the 2017 Pirate bullpen is set. Tony Watson, Felipe Rivero, Juan Nicasio, Antonio Bastardo, and A.J. Schugel give the Bucs a good bullpen core for 2017. However, the Bucs still need to add a bullpen arm or two.
One possible bullpen fit is left-handed pitcher Travis Wood. Wood could play multiple roles out of the Pirates’ bullpen in 2017. Travis Wood has the capability to pitch in long relief, as well as pitching in one inning scenarios.
The 29-year old Wood has spent his entire career in the National League Central. He pitched with the Reds in 2010 and 2011. And he has been a Chicago Cub since 2012. So, obviously, he knows the Pirates’ division very well.
In 2016 Wood pitched 61 innings in 77 games. 2016 was the first season of his career in which he did not make any starts. He averaged 6.93 K/9, 3.54 BB/9, 1.18 HR/9, and he had a WHIP of 1.13. This led to Wood posting a career low 2.95 ERA, even though his 4.54 FIP indicates he was not quite as good as his ERA in 2016.
Travis Wood had a career high 37.2 percent hard contact rate in 2016. However, his 21.8 percent line drive rate was tied for the second lowest of his Major League career.
A move from Wrigley Field to PNC Park would also benefit Wood. First off, PNC Park is a haven for left-handed pitchers such as Travis Wood. Secondly, pitching at PNC Park instead of Wrigley Field should lead to a decrease in home runs allowed.
When looking at Wood’s Steamer Projections for 2017, things look promising. Wood is projected to average 8.42 K/9, 316 BB/9, 1.18 HR/9, and to post a 1.25 WHIP. His projected 3.95 ERA and 4.13 FIP are good numbers as well.
In my opinion, Travis Wood would be a good fit for the Pirate bullpen in 2017. He would give the bullpen flexibility as someone who can pitch in both long and short relief. Furthermore, this would allow the Bucs to use Juan Nicasio primarily as a late inning power arm where I believe he would be most valuable.