To borrow a term from track and field, Alex Wood never really got off the blocks. The biggest chip from the Cincinnati Reds offseason trade was absent for most of the season.
When the Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers struck a deal this offseason that sent Homer Bailey packing, most fans were excited about the addition of Yasiel Puig. While Puig brought fun and excitement to the Queen City, I always looked at Alex Wood as the most important piece of that trade. Unfortunately, Wood never could remain healthy.
I’m not one to give out “incomplete” grades, but if I did, Alex Wood would be the top candidate. Wood suffered a back injury during spring training and never really got a chance to show what he could do.
The Reds had lacked a solid left-handed starter for years. After missing on the likes of Cody Reed and Brandon Finnegan, Wood looked like the answer. After all, the southpaw enjoyed several successful seasons in Atlanta and Los Angeles, including a trip to the All-Star Game in 2017. Wood played in 74 games for the Dodgers since 2016 and started 62 of them. He owned a 3.29 ERA and 3.38 FIP.
In a division ripe with talented left-handed bats, Wood’s presence on the mound would be a huge plus for the Reds. Christian Yelich and Anthony Rizzo are among some of the best hitters in the league and having a lefty like Wood to neutralize their offensive firepower would’ve been a great asset.
Unfortunately, a back injury during spring training landed Wood on the injured list and he was replaced in the rotation by Tyler Mahle. Mahle’s struggles only compounded the loss of Wood, who wouldn’t make his season debut until July 28th against the Colorado Rockies. Wood went less than five innings and gave up two runs.
Sadly, that may have been Wood’s best performance of the 2019 season. In six other games, Wood went 1-5 with a 6.10 ERA and surrendered 10 home runs, including giving up three bombs to the Miami Marlins on August 29th.
The back injury resurfaced and Alex Wood was shut down for the season following that game. Wood ended the season with a 1-3 record and 5.80 ERA. Wood had just 30 strikeouts and opposing hitters lit him up to the tune of a .290 batting average. To make matters worse, his numbers against lefties were no better than his numbers against right-handed hitters.
I don’t know what the future holds for Alex Wood as it relates to the Cincinnati Reds. Personally, if the two sides want to negotiate an incentive-laden deal that keeps Wood in Cincinnati next season, I wouldn’t be opposed to it. We’ve seen that Wood can be an effective pitcher when he’s healthy. Unfortunately, this season, that was not the case.