Yankees Rumors: Free Agent Travis Wood and Why It Makes Sense

A day after the Yankees secured the services of slugger Chris Carter, Jon Heyman reports that the club has “checked in” on free agent pitcher Travis Wood.

To be fair to the headline, Heyman does state that the Yankees aren’t necessarily the favorites to land him, however. So you’re telling me there’s a chance!

I for one am very surprised that Wood has yet to find a home this winter. Coming off a season in which he appeared in 77 games while striking out 6.9 K/9 and a 2.77 ERA, house money would have assumed Wood’s versatility as a long reliever/spot-starter would be advantageous for a number of teams with a questionable back-end rotation.

Within the past few days, fellow lefties Boone Logan signed with the Indians for 1-year/$6.5M (plus a $7M club option in 2018), and Jerry Blevins re-signed with the Mets for the same base salary, plus a $6M club option the following season.

Both Logan and Blevins are considered lefty specialists, so it’s understandable that they pitched fewer innings (44 IP for Blevins, and 46.1 IP for Logan) than Wood’s 61 IP in ’16. Though Blevins and Logan both had an impressive 11.1 K/9, cumulative numbers for the three are similar — with Logan actually having the highest ERA (3.69) and worst record (2-5) of the three.

While not all stats are built the same, especially since Logan pitched a majority of his outings in Coors Field, I’m simply trying to draw a parallel between what similar shooters are worth on the open market.

Just a few weeks ago, Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported that Wood had received “at least one Major League contract offer” from a club that planned to use him in their rotation. Was that team the Yankees?

With ample question marks surrounding the current state of the Yanks’ starters, adding a hybrid left-hander would be a most welcome addition. Aroldis Chapman notwithstanding, the only other left-handed relievers slated to make the 25-man roster are Chasen Shreve and Tommy Layne, both of whom are one-inning arms.

Though Wood’s swinging strike and strikeout rates have reverted to his less than stellar numbers since last he was a starter in 2014, Wood still managed to lower his career left-handed batter OPS to a sub .600 mark.

The 30-year-old Wood has 133 career starts to his name, as compared to the 68 that potential rotation pieces Bryan Mitchell, Luis Cessa, Chad Green, Luis Severino, and Adam Warren have combined for. During his career 776-inning span, Wood has recorded a 4.19 ERA, 7.11 K/9 and 3.15 BB/9.

The biggest issue standing in the way of the Yankees signing Wood is money. If Wood’s price tag were to fall below what Logan and Blevins recently received, let’s say $4M with a club option for ’18, then a deal could be swung — as it would only move the Yankees slightly further into the luxury tax red zone.

Want your voice heard? Join the Yanks Go Yard team!

As I stated yesterday, maybe the Carter signing allows general manager Brian Cashman to ship out Brett Gardner and his remaining two years, $24M. That would certainly create enough financial space to bring Wood into the fold.

If the Yankees are serious about potentially acquiring Wood, now would be the time. With pitchers and catchers reporting in just five days, the best available arm on the free agent market won’t be there for long.

This article originally appeared on