Wood among Cubs' free agents
Blanco, Lieber round out list of those to file on second day
CHICAGO -- Right-hander Kerry Wood filed for free agency on Friday, officially making himself available for the third consecutive offseason.
Catcher Henry Blanco and right-hander Jon Lieber also filed a day after four other Cubs, including Ryan Dempster, did the same. Free agents can sign with only their 2008 clubs through Nov. 13, but they may discuss non-salary issues with other teams.
Wood, who stayed in Chicago with a one-year, $4.2 million deal last November, saved 34 games in 2008, his first year as a closer. Injuries are always a concern with Wood, but he made it through the season relatively healthy, a midseason blister aside.
Contract length may be the determining factor in Wood's negotiations. While the Cubs have Carlos Marmol waiting in the wings, other teams in need of ninth-inning help could offer Wood a longer deal.
"We're going to get our plan together, and we'll try to move forward with what we think is best for the organization," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said last week. "Kerry has done a terrific job in the closing role, but at the same time, there's a lot of conversations that have to happen with his representatives and him, as to what his desires are and what type of contract he's looking for."
Wood, 31, has spent his entire career with the Cubs, who drafted the right-hander with the No. 4 pick in the 1995 First-Year Player Draft. He won the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 1998 and was an All-Star in 2003 and '08.
The Cubs also declined Blanco's $3 million option for 2009 on Friday, giving him a $300,000 buyout. The club could still re-sign the catcher to continue backing up and mentoring starting backstop Geovany Soto.
Blanco, 37, posted a bounce-back year in 2008 by hitting .292 in 58 games with three home runs and 12 RBIs. He missed most of the 2007 season with a career-threatening neck injury.
Lieber pitched mostly in a long-relief role in 2008, going 2-3 with a 4.05 ERA. The right-hander hit the disabled list with a right foot strain and made only one appearance after the All-Star break. Lieber will turn 39 in April.
Nick Zaccardi is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.