Step Aside, Wake
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.
“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.