Wood, who will be 27 when the season begins, was a breakout player in 2013, putting up a 3.11 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP in exactly 200 innings. At the deadline for negotiations, Wood filed for $4.25 million. The Cubs counter offer was $3.5 million, so the two sides were able to meet pretty close to the middle. Wood's first All-Star appearance and impressive ERA might have helped if the case went to an arbitration hearing, but the arbitration panel typically rewards traditional counting stats like wins, and Wood didn't get much help in that stat column from a 66-96 Cubs team last season.
In any event, Wood and the Cubs were able to avoid presenting their cases in front of the panel, and move on toward the 2014 season.
Braves bring back Freddy Garcia
The Atlanta Braves have signed veteran righty Freddy Garcia to a minor league, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. The 37-year-old kicked off the 2013 season with Baltimore, but he failed to find a groove, posting a 5.77 ERA in 53 innings. The Braves purchased his contract from the Orioles in August, and he responded with a 1.65 ERA over 27⅓ innings. If Garcia can reach the majors this season it would be his 16th consecutive season with an MLB appearance.
Marlins interested in Vernon Wells
The Miami Marlins are looking to add a right-handed bench bat before the 2014 season begins. That player could end up being Vernon Wells, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. The Yankees designated Wells for assignment to make room for some of their free agent signings earlier this month. The 35-year-old outfielder is entering the last year of the seven-year, $126 million deal the Blue Jays gave him in 2006. The Angels will pay most of the $21 million he will earn in 2014.
Cuban catcher Yenier Bello cleared to sign
The United States Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has cleared Cuban catching prospect Yenier Bello to sign with an MLB team, as Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reports. The 28-year-old Cuban defector was declared a free agent by Major League Baseball last year, but had to become "unblocked" by OFAC in order to sign a deal.
In November, Bello worked out for scouts in Mexico, taking live batting practice and making throws to second from behind the plate. He has drawn interest from the Dodgers, Blue Jays, and Cubs so far this offseason. In Cuba's Serie Nacional, Bello batted .276/.324/.458 with 82 home runs over nine seasons.