Tim Wakefield Rumors

Red Sox Notes: Wakefield, Varitek, Kuroda, Pineda

Earlier today we learned that Red Sox GM Ben Cherington met with David Ortiz's agent on Friday to discuss Ortiz's 2012 salary.  The slugger earned $12.5MM last season and accepted Boston's arbitration offer back in December.  Here's more on the BoSox..

  • Manager Bobby Valentine told reporters that he "couldn't imagine" pitcher Tim Wakefield coming in and competing for a job, tweets Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.  That assessment is in line with Cherington's comments last week which insinuated that the knuckleballer wouldn't be with the Red Sox in 2012.  Wakefield, 45, posted a 5.12 ERA with 5.4 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 23 starts and 10 relief appearances for Boston last season.
  • Valentine also doesn't see catcher Jason Varitek making the Red Sox roster if he chooses to make a go at it in Spring Training, Lauber writes.   It was reported yesterday that the Sox offered the veteran a minor league deal, but apparently the club hasn't put anything formal on the table.
  • Bobby V also weighed in on the Yankees' most recent acquisitions, Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda, writes Bryan Hoch of MLB.com (quotes from Ian Browne).  Valentine seems wary of Kuroda's transition from a great pitcher's ballpark in the National League to a more hitter friendly ballpark in the American League.

Red Sox Rumors: Wakefield, Varitek, Trade Talks

We heard earlier this evening that David Ortiz plans to return to Boston next season, either through arbitration or a multiyear deal. Now let's check in on some other Red Sox news:

Quick Hits: Damon, Wilson, Wakefield, Dodgers

A few odds and ends to pass along …

  • Free agent outfielder/DH Johnny Damon prefers to re-sign with the Rays but said he hasn't had discussions with Tampa because EVP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman is a "free agent," according to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. Friedman isn't under contract and is expected to be courted by the Astros to be their next GM, but Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times reiterates that it's unlikely Friedman will leave the Rays.
  • The Rangers are making "no progress" in talks with free agent starter C.J. Wilson, tweets Jon Heyman of SI.com, who suggests Texas may look elsewhere — perhaps at Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols.
  • Tim Wakefield would like to pitch one more year with the Red Sox, according to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. The free agent knuckleballer, 45, has also mentioned the possibility of pitching in the National League.
  • NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson plans to bid on the Dodgers as part of a potential ownership group with former Braves and Nationals president Stan Kasten and Mark Walter of Guggenheim Partners, a financial services firm, according to Bill Shaikin and Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times. Johnson is a former minority owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, selling his 4.5 percent stake in the team in 2010, according to the report.

Free Agent Notes: Aramis, Chavez, Counsell, Wakefield

Let's round up the latest rumors on a few members of this winter's free agent class:

  • Agent Paul Kinzer told Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (Twitter link) that, while Aramis Ramirez has a limited market, there are at least two teams very interested in the third baseman.
  • Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports (via Twitter) that Eric Chavez's agent told Yankees GM Brian Cashman his client wants to play in 2012. Presumably, since the call went to Cashman, Chavez has some interest in rejoining the Yanks.
  • Plenty of teams are interested in Craig Counsell for a coaching or front office position, but Counsell hopes to play one more year, tweets ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick. We heard yesterday that Counsell was listening to both playing and "non-playing" offers.
  • Barry Meister, Tim Wakefield's agent, told reporters today that he and Wakefield have talked about the possibility of the knuckleballer signing with a National League team. Meister added that a lot of clubs have called, but he thinks "it would be a shame" if Wakefield didn't pitch for the Red Sox. Rob Bradford of WEEI.com has a transcript of the conversation.
  • Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes isn't officially a free agent yet, but that didn't stop agent Adam Katz from talking to reporters, including Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, about his client. While there have been some questions about whether Cespedes would need to spend time in the minors, Katz said he believes the 26-year-old is ready for the bigs.

Red Sox Notes: Manager, Varitek, Ortiz, Papelbon

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington suggested today that the Red Sox don't need wholesale changes. "This offseason is more about fixing what's under the hood than buying a new car," he told reporters. Here’s the latest on the team, starting with a note on their ongoing managerial search…

  • Cherington doesn't expect to interview additional managerial candidates after he meets with Blue Jays first base coach Torey Lovullo and Tigers third base coach Gene Lamont, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com (all Twitter links).
  • The Red Sox have asked the Brewers to extend their window to talk with hitting coach Dale Sveum, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (on Twitter).
  • Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr., a candidate for Boston's managerial opening, is "going to be a Major League manager, whether that's in 2012 or sometime after that," Cherington said, according to Speier.
  • Cherington has exchanged messages with free agents David Ortiz, Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield, according to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald (Twitter links). However, he hasn't spoken with the representatives for Jonathan Papelbon recently.
  • There's no resolution on compensation between the Cubs and Red Sox for Theo Epstein, but the commissioner's office has given the sides more leeway, according to Lauber.
  • Speier explains how Ryan Madson's possible deal with the Phillies affects Papelbon and suggests the likelihood that Papelbon has thrown his last pitch for the Red Sox would increase "if Papelbon wants to dig in for a contract that clears the bar set by Madson."

Morosi On Lincecum, Cameron, Renteria, Carroll

The Giants need to bolster their offense, so Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports suggests trading Tim Lincecum for multiple players is a viable option. Trading the two-time Cy Young Award winner might allow San Francisco to free up the payroll required to pursue a top free agent position player such as Prince Fielder or Jose Reyes. Here are some more notes from Morosi…

  • Mike Cameron, Tim Wakefield, Edgar Renteria and Craig Counsell intend to play in 2012.
  • Jon Garland might throw for teams this offseason if there’s demand, according to Morosi. The right-hander missed most of the season recovering from shoulder surgery and the Dodgers declined their 2012 option on the 32-year-old. Garland intends to continue as a starter.
  • Some teams view Jamey Carroll as an everyday second baseman. I’m not surprised to hear that since Carroll has repeatedly proven his ability to get on base and many teams will be in the market for second basemen.
  • Former Orioles right-hander Daniel Cabrera is pitching in the Dominican Winter League after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Agent Mike Powers told Morosi that Cabrera intends to return to MLB as a starter. The 6'7" right-hander hasn't appeared in a Major League game since 2009.
  • For more thoughts on Lincecum and the Giants, check out the piece Dave Cameron wrote yesterday at FanGraphs.

Wakefield Wants To Come Back Next Year

45-year-old knuckleballer Tim Wakefield wants to pitch an 18th season for the Red Sox next year, he told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  Said Wakefield: "I've definitely made up my mind that I definitely want to come back next year.  I have another goal in front of me that I'd like to accomplish, and that’s the all-time record for the Red Sox in wins. I’m only seven away. I think the fans deserve an opportunity to watch me chase that record."

With 192 victories, Roger Clemens and Cy Young share the current franchise record.  Wakefield has 186 for the Sox, and 200 in total.  He has a 5.12 ERA, 5.4 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 1.45 HR/9, and 38.4% groundball rate in 154 2/3 innings this year, and the righty explained that his job as a a fourth or fifth starter is to give the club innings.

AL East Notes: Barnes, Wakefield, Orioles

The latest from the AL East before the first-place Red Sox attempt to complete a sweep of the Yankees in New York…

  • Red Sox first rounder Matt Barnes grew up rooting for the Yankees, according to Nicole Auerbach of the Boston Globe. Barnes is preparing to switch his allegiances and he doesn't expect the change to be too difficult, since he has "always respected" the Red Sox.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says he was wrong to question Tim Wakefield's place on the Boston roster earlier this spring. The knuckleballer has a 4.84 ERA with 4.3 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 through 48 1/3 innings this year and is a Hall of Famer in the eyes of Robinson Cano.
  • Jim Callis of Baseball America gives the Orioles high marks on their draft, according to MASNsports' Steve Melewski. "They got the best pitcher in the draft and depth after that," Callis said. "They got tremendous quality and quantity."
  • Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun says he would have interest in signing J.J. Hardy to a two-year extension if he were running the Orioles. Hardy has a .276/.346/.457 line 131 plate appearances into the season.

Oldest Current MLB Players

Generally speaking, young players tend to have athleticism, upside and a salary right around the MLB minimum. It’s no wonder that teams tend to gravitate to those players when constructing their rosters. There’s not much demand for aging, positionless sluggers in this era, yet a small group of older players are contributing to winning teams. In honor of Jason Giambi’s three-homer game, here’s a comprehensive list of every 40-plus player to don an MLB uniform in 2011:

  • Tim Wakefield (44) – The knuckleballer is once again a member of Boston's rotation. He has a 5.40 ERA with 4.3 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 23 1/3 innings this year.
  • Omar Vizquel (44) – The active leader in games played is showing few signs of age. Vizquel isn't on this list for his bat, but his .327/.358/.388 line is excellent. The 11-time Gold Glove winner has played second, short and third this year.
  • Matt Stairs (43) – Stairs, who figures to DH in interleague play this weekend, needs to turn his season around. The New Brunswick native has just two hits and six walks in 28 plate appearances. Give Stairs credit for staying in the majors this long; Bryce Harper wasn’t even born when Stairs made his MLB debut with the ’92 Expos.
  • Takashi Saito (41) – Before hitting the disabled list with a left hamstring injury, Saito appeared in just two games for the Brewers.
  • Mariano Rivera (41) – How is Rivera this effective at 41? He leads the league in saves (13) and has a 1.80 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9. His average fastball still checks in at over 91 mph.
  • Arthur Rhodes (41) – Rhodes hasn't quite matched his 2010 performance so far, but a 3.97 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 isn't bad at any age.
  • Craig Counsell (40) – The 16-year veteran has a .234/.321/.255 line in 55 plate appearances at second, third, short and left field. Consider that the average MLB shortstop has a .254/.312/.361 line and Counsell's numbers look a little better.
  • Jason Giambi (40) – Giambi has an unusual .194/.306/.581 line after his three-homer game.
  • Miguel Batista (40) – Batista has a 1.69 ERA through 16 innings despite having an equal number of walks and strikeouts (9).
  • Darren Oliver (40) – Oliver has a 2.95 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 1.0 BB/9 in 18 1/3 innings of relief. He and Rhodes provide the Rangers with a pair of dependable lefty relievers.
  • Jim Thome (40) – After a tremendous 2010 season, Thome's numbers have fallen off and he has spent time on the disabled list. He hit a pair of homers and posted a .214/.333/.375 line before hitting the DL with an oblique strain.

Red Sox Notes: Gonzalez, Atchison, Kalish, Wakefield

Daisuke Matsuzaka joins a growing list of Japanese players who have made donations to fund disaster relief in their homeland. Dice-K donated $1MM to the Japanese Red Cross Society though the Red Sox Foundation, according to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. Here are a few other Sox-related notes:

  • ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Insider-only link) expects the Red Sox and Adrian Gonzalez to get an extension done for the slugger in the second week of the season, sometime during the club's first homestand. Olney points out that it might be in Gonzalez's best interest to nudge the Sox toward finalizing a deal sooner rather than later, since his market value could be hurt by an injury.
  • Boston optioned a handful of players to the minors today, including Scott Atchison and Ryan Kalish, as Rob Bradford of WEEI.com writes.
  • While the Sox still have a few pitchers whose Opening Day fates are in limbo, it doesn't sound like Tim Wakefield is among them. WEEI's Alex Speier has quotes from Terry Francona discussing how the skipper hopes to maximize Wakefield's effectiveness this year.