For Indians, Wood worth the risk 

December, 14, 2008
12/14/08
11:15
AM ET
Cleveland has taken a risk by signing Kerry Wood to a two-year, $20.5 million contract. But if he stays healthy, the Indians will have acquired the best closer on the market at a discount to the going rate set by Francisco Rodriguez and the Mets.

Cleveland's 2008 season turned sour for a number of reasons, and a bad bullpen was one of them. The Indians underperformed in their runs scored and runs allowed totals by four to five wins and were particularly bad in close games, going 43-52 in games decided by three runs or fewer. Only one Indians reliever ranked in the top 50 in baseball in expected wins added, which measures a reliever's performance while taking into account the situation (score, inning, men on base, number of outs) the reliever inherits.

Cleveland's Opening Day closer, Joe Borowski, posted a 7.56 ERA in 16 2/3 innings before he was released. Its best set-up man from 2007, Rafael Betancourt, took a major step back and became wilder and more homer-prone. After allowing three runs on Aug. 5, Betancourt was back to his old self the rest of the way, but it was too late for him to salvage Cleveland's season.

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