The Cubs don't plan on picking up pitcher Kerry Wood's $13.5 million option for 2007, as they figure to opt for a $3 million buyout.
Wood's days as a starter appear over because of numerous arm injuries, but some believe he could be a lights-out reliever and possibly a top-drawer closer.
For now, he has to figure out if he wants to continue his career in Chicago. He told radio station WGN he would like to be back.
"I know I haven't given this organization or the fans or this team what they paid for two, three years ago," Wood said. "As a player, you feel ... you don't want to say 'guilty'... but you feel like you've (not) done your job and earned your money and gone out and done what you're supposed to do.
"There's an obligation there, absolutely. This organization has given me everything I've got and gave me a chance to play baseball and they drafted me. There's definitely loyalty here. We'll talk and decide what's best for the organization and best for me, and hopefully that's staying here."
3B Aramis Ramirez sat out a second consecutive game Wednesday with a right quadriceps strain. Thanks to Thursday's off day, the Cubs are confident he can return to the lineup Friday.
LF Matt Murton might not be giving the Cubs a ton of power, but he is hitting for average (.300) and is hitting .340 at Wrigley Field.
CF Juan Pierre has 199 hits with three games to go and can become the first Cubs hitter since Ryne Sandberg in 1984 to hit collect 200 hits in a season. He is also chasing Billy Williams' team mark for left-handed hitters of 205 set in 1970.
RHP Carlos Zambrano (16-6, 3.43 ERA) will make his final appearance of the season Friday against Colorado and is hoping for a huge game. He is in the thick of the National League Cy Young Award race. He is also a victory away from setting a career high.
RHP Bob Howry, who picked up the victory Wednesday to improve to 4-5, could be a candidate for the closer's spot next year if the Cubs are not confident in struggling RHP Ryan Dempster.