1/13 Wood signs one-year, $3 million deal to stay

Kerry Wood is staying put. In an announcement perfectly timed to kick off the Cubs Convention on Friday, Wood and the team reached agreement on a one-year, $3 million deal with a club option for 2013.

“Never a doubt,” Wood joked.

Actually, there was. Wood said he considered offers from other teams and was waiting for a phone call to schedule a physical.

“It all worked out in the end and I’m back where I belong in Chicago,” Wood said.

The announcement was made at the opening ceremonies of the 27th annual Cubs Convention at the Hilton Chicago. The 2012 team was introduced alphabetically, and WGN Radio’s Pat Hughes called Randy Wells’ name, then said he had just received some news. The fans in the packed Grand Ballroom started chanting, “Kerry, Kerry” in anticipation, and they were right as Wood appeared.

“The fans are great, they’ve always been great to me,” Wood said. “Tonight was obviously a little special. My family was here, my kids were jumping up and down. It was pretty cool. I got goosebumps. It was very exciting.”

Wood, 34, had made it clear he wanted to stay with the Cubs, who drafted him in 1995. He gave the team a hometown discount in 2011, signing a one-year, $1.5 million deal to return. That was motivated by how he felt after attending Hall of Fame third baseman Ron Santo’s funeral in December 2010. On Friday, he was able to celebrate the new deal at a fundraiser for his Wood Family Foundation.

“It was kind of last minute,” Wood said of his new deal. “We got it worked out. I think both sides kind of knew we would. Two months of waiting took probably 15 minutes to get it done, and that’s how it goes sometimes. Obviously, I’m super excited to be back and playing in Chicago.”

Last September, Wood said he would retire if he didn’t re-sign with the Cubs and meant it. But he also wanted to keep playing.

“I wasn’t ready to retire,” Wood said. “I didn’t want to be forced into that. I still love the game and think I have plenty left. [Retiring] is what I said, but people are allowed to change their minds.”

– Carrie Muskat

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