Talkin Sox with Dan

Where baseball fans gather for commonsensical, opinionated Red Sox banter.

Step Aside, Wake

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Tim Wakefield is just hanging out, waiting to see if the Red Sox will give him a call.

I don’t believe the phone is going to ring.

Nevertheless, in a story that ran in Florida Today, Wakefield stated what we all already know: He wants seven more victories so he can overtake Roger Clemens as the Red Sox all-time leader in wins.

“I think I can be a valuable asset to them [Red Sox] as an insurance policy, you know a fifth or sixth starter or if something doesn’t pan out for some of the guys they have already penciled in to the rotation,” Wakefield said. “You know that’s kind of been my job these last two years; I don’t have a problem doing that.”

In other words: “I know I’m not very good anymore, but I’d like to pad my stats, if that’s cool.”

Wake hasn’t exactly seen a ton of success since taking over as the Red Sox swingman. In the past two years, the knuckleballer has averaged a robust ERA of 5.23. He is 45 years old. I know that knuckleball pitchers don’t follow the same rules as your run-of-the-mill hurlers, but we have seen the best of Wakefield. There isn’t much left. That is a fact.

Can today’s version of Number 49 help the Red Sox win a championship? I mean, that’s really all we care about.

I don’t believe he can. GM Ben Cherington has to decide whether what Wakefield brings to the table is worth more than the roster spot he takes up. Wake would not be my first choice to spot start, and his often erratic knuckleball basically excludes him from coming out of the bullpen to pitch in a big spot. Anyone can throw a few mop-up frames in a blowout.

According to a tweet from the Boston Herald’s Scott Lauber, Bobby Valentine could not envision Wakefield coming to Spring Training and competing for a job. He made similar comments about Jason Varitek. Both players are in similar situations. They are revered in Boston and would not receive the same sort of ceremonious end to their career if they played for a different organization.

In a perfect world, Varitek and Wakefield would announce their retirement from baseball and be on hand for the Opening Day ceremonies this year. They would go out with class and grace like Jorge Posada.

Something tells me that that is not going to happen.

However, I will not be a happy Red Sox fan if they decide to bring Wakefield back and sell it as a “you can never have enough pitching” sort of move. We would all know that it would be a decision designed to let Wakefield limp his way to seven ugly wins, stand for a few ovations, and sell a truckload of merchandise commemorating him as the franchise’s leader in victories.

I like Wakefield a lot. But I like winning ballgames more.

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7 thoughts on “Step Aside, Wake

  1. I’ll miss the Wake, i’d fight for him to get a long relief role as much as anyone else, but even if thats the case, I don’t see him getting 7 wins out of whatever he does. I’d still argue he’d put up similar spot start numbers to the list of shmoes signed so far this offseason.

    Wake and Tek possibly hanging them up, in the luxury box opening day? That would be nice.

    Don’t forget Posada’s not so graceful fit over losing time last year, before he retired a few days ago.

  2. Ton-ay. I didn’t get the reference at first, Ryan, but after taking a second look at my photo selection, it makes perfect sense.

    Joe–I’m not saying that Posada isn’t a prideful guy who may have been selfish at times last season, but he did choose to retire rather than becoming a Marlin or a Ray. If Varitek or Wakefield truly want to head to another team, they have earned that right, and I wish them well. I just hope their not a part of the 2012 Red Sox.

    • It was actually just for the “step aside” “step off” similarities.

      Back on topic, I really wish tek and wake would just retire. I would rather remember them for the 2 titles they helped win and their great careers with the sox rather than the borderline selfish nonsense of them trying to play one more year. Actually I don’t even mind them wanting to play. I get that. I just hate how they think they’re entitled to another contract and using lines like “the fans deserve to see me…”. It’s not very becoming of them.

  3. Yeah, I agree with that majority of that Ryan. Wakefield doesn’t actually think that he can contribute. He wants seven wins. I’m not sure what’s going on with Varitek. He’s old. He’s not good, and the Red Sox brought in Shoppach, essentially telling ‘Tek thanks but no thanks.

    It’s going to be interesting and potentially ugly as Spring Training kicks into gear.

  4. Laurie on said:

    There are so many other jobs in the world where men “limp” through their last few years of the job, whether its because of increased social security or just a need to be needed. Why not let a guy hang out in a 6th spot? He’s given more than he’s taken and worked where ever asked. One thing the Sox have now is money to spare. Throw him a million and see what happens.

  5. Hey Laurie: Thanks for commenting on the blog. In theory, I agree with what you’re saying. Wakefield has been a true professional. I have a great appreciation for everything he has done during his career. He will always have a place in hearts of many Red Sox fans, including myself.

    However, if the Red Sox were to offer him a contract, he takes up a roster spot. There are only 25 guys who be with the big club at a given time during the season (until rosters expand in September). I happen to believe that that roster spot can be used on someone who has the ability to contribute more than Wake can at this point in his career.

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