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Kerry Wood. I thought maybe this would be his breakout year. The year where he pitches 240+ innings and walks less batters. I thought he would mature as a pitcher--gets by more on guile and knowledge than stuff. I was wrong. The best that can be hoped for now is that he settles into a bullpen role if he returns this season and comes back as a closer--a dominant closer. I would hope in the offseason he will consult with coaches and ex-closers on preparation and approach. With his stuff there is no reason he should not dominate in the closer role if he is able to get ahead of hitters and change speeds. He's never been economical with his pitches. That's contributed to his low total of innings pitched and the injuries. Maybe now he can reinvent himself.

A.J. Burnett. Maybe the Florida version of Kerry Wood. Burnett can be an ace of a staff but he has to stay healthy. He has yet to do that in his career. Like Wood he is 28, has battled numerous injuries and has never been economical with his pitches. He also walks too many batters. Several teams are hot for him, including the White Sox. They are said to be offering Marte and prize prospect Brandon McCarthy for Burnett, who would then sign something similar to a 3yr.-$30mill. contract. There are too many red flags here. Marte is not the same pitcher he was in his first 2 Sox seasons, but he is still valuable. Depending solely on Neal Cotts to be the lefty out of the pen is ill-advised. If you are in the playoffs, having 2 good lefties is such a plus--maybe a necessity. And McCarthy looks to be the real deal. It's hard not to think of Jack Mc Dowell when you watch him pitch. The similarities are striking. With Burnett's history of injuries, you might be looking at trading a solid lefty and a prospect who goes on to extended success in the bigs for an overpaid, injured starter. It's just not worth it, especially considering the many other options available.

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