Source: Cubs could eye Kerry Wood

Free-agent pitcher Kerry Wood would be welcomed back to the Chicago Cubs if payroll permits, according to a source familiar with the situation.

The New York Yankees declined to pick up the option on Wood's 2011 contract, but that doesn't mean the Yankees won't try to re-sign Wood at a later date and lower number.

Cubs owner Tom Ricketts is on record saying the payroll for 2011 will drop slightly from its peak of $140 million in 2010.

The Cubs chose Wood with the fourth pick overall in 1995, and while Wood enjoyed several highlights -- including a 20-strikeout performance and playoff-series clinching win -- his career has been punctuated by several injuries.

Wood left the Cubs after the 2008 season when he signed a multiyear contract with the Cleveland Indians, who traded Wood to the Yankees on July 31 for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs for ESPNChicago.com.