Tim Wood was pretty horrible in his time with the Pirates in 2011. Wood was put in some high leverage situations and was unable to capitalize in the majority of them. His failure in the 2-1 July loss to the Nats on a Matt Stairs walkoff stands out for us personally, but the decision to use Wood rather than Veras or Hanrahan in a 1-1 ballgame is still baffling.
But the point is this, Wood didn’t get it done. He was scored upon in three of the thirteen games he appeared in as his ERA ballooned to 5.63.
The Pirates sent him back to the minors and then in mid-August, he was traded to the Texas Rangers for cash to pay the Buccos light bill.
Wood didn’t pitch well in a short stint and the Pirates were able to sign him again in November.
Wood is a nice story, a 44th round draft pick of the Florida Marlins who added him to their 40-man roster after the 2008 season, with the ability to light up the radar gun.
But Wood has battled injuries to his shoulder in his career, but those seem to be in the rearview mirror. In 2009, he put up some ok numbers with Florida although his 2.82ERA fooled some people in the organization. He was bad in 2010 when he started the year with the big club. Nearly five walks per nine innings and a puny strikeout rate of 3.3 had him back in the minors in July after 27.2 innings pitched.
He didn’t seem to recover from the setback as he didn’t pitch very well in AAA. The Marlins let him go, the Nationals had him and released him and the Pirates grabbed him in a smart depth move on March 31.
He became the closer for AAA Indianapolis and had respectable numbers before the Pirates called him up to the big leagues.
We often wonder who would have closed for Indy if the Bucs didn’t sign Wood right before the season started. Wood’s strong arm played well while he was with Indy: 2-0, 23 saves, .99WHIP, 44.1 IP, 2.4 BB/9 and 6.5 K/9
If he can show improvements in spring training, Wood has the upside to help a major league bullpen. But because he didn’t prove it in 2011, we can’t be sure there will be many people who will give him another opportunity. He has struggled for what…four big league clubs now?
Wood has a strong enough arm that if he can do one thing in 2012 it’s this: become lights out to a point where the team doesn’t have an option but give him another shot.
Best case: He stays healthy, improves his command, and becomes a dominant closer for a strong AAA Indianapolis team.