Tim Wakefield Rumors
Matt Harvey has been one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball this season, and the Mets hurler appeared on the Baseball Tonight podcast with ESPN's Buster Olney to discuss how he could have signed with the Angels out of high school (Harvey appears near the 28:50 mark of this audio link). Here's more from the Eastern divisions...
- Tim Wakefield is joining the Red Sox as a special instructor and the honorary chairman of the Red Sox Foundation, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (on Twitter).
- We're less than two weeks into the season, but Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times points out that's long enough for the Rays to delay Wil Myers' free agency by a season if they wish to call him up. The team will need to wait until June to prevent him from reaching Super Two status, however.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes that Ben Zobrist is one of the two best players in the game, dating back to 2009, according to WAR. Rosenthal spoke with Baseball-Reference.com founder Sean Forman and Zobrist himself about the statistic.
- The Marlins TV ratings are at an all-time low, according to Clark Spencer and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Spencer writes that the ratings may see an uptick every five days when rookie Jose Fernandez starts, but the fans are simply too bored with the team to care most days.
- Denard Span and B.J. Upton of the Nationals and Braves, respectively, will be on the same field for the first of many times in the coming seasons on Friday, writes Amanda Comak of the Washington Times. Comak writes that there's a chance that this outcome could've come about with the pair's jerseys being flipped, had the offseason played out a bit differently.
The injury bug continues to bite notable AL East players. The Yankees put closer David Robertson on the 15-day DL with a strained left oblique, while Rays starter Jeff Niemann will miss the next 4-6 weeks after suffering a broken fibula during last night's game in Toronto. Rafael Soriano will take over as New York's new closer while the Rays will call up either Alex Cobb or Chris Archer to take Niemann's spot in the rotation.
Here's some other news from around the division...
- The Orioles haven't put Brad Bergesen on waivers since they're still trying to trade the right-hander, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. The O's designated Bergesen for assignment on Saturday.
- "The fire to compete is still there," Tim Wakefield tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link), but while retirement is "difficult," the knuckleballer said he's enjoying spending time with his family. The Red Sox honored Wakefield with a pregame ceremony before their 5-0 win over the Mariners this afternoon at Fenway Park.
- David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News speculates about a Kevin Youkilis-for-Joe Blanton trade between the Red Sox and Phillies. I don't see the Red Sox making that deal, as I'm not sure Blanton could replicate his current good form in the AL East, nor is he necessarily even a clear upgrade over any of Boston's current rotation.
Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe (via Twitter) points out that with Tim Wakefield and Javier Vazquez retired, the active strikeout leader is now C.C. Sabathia with 2,017. Here's a look at a few items out of the American League East..
- It would not be shocking to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (via Twitter) to see Wakefield get a call in June or July if the Red Sox are hit with injuries.
- Scouts like the power arm of Diego Moreno, but there are a lot of questions about his maturity, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (via Twitter) had the early reads on the Yankees' imports from the Pirates. Moreno can reach 98 mph on the gun but has command issues while Exicardo Cayones can hit but doesn't have much in the way of power.
- Before deciding to call it a career, Tim Wakefield had offers from four clubs, writes Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Agent Barry Meister says that one of the four offers was a guaranteed big league deal.
- Wakefield didn't consider any of those offers for long, tweets Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. Upon hearing of the offers, the pitcher asked his agent, "Do they play for Boston?"
- Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun ranked the Orioles' offseason acquisitons by potential impact. At the top of the list is 26-year-old left-hander Wei-Yin Chen.
Tim Wakefield will announce his retirement at a press conference later today, according to a Red Sox media release. The veteran knuckleballer had been considering the decision, saying that while he was interested in pitching in 2012, his first choice would be to return to the Red Sox, who were only offering him a minor league contract.
Wakefield, 45, was an eighth-round pick for the Pirates in the 1988 amateur draft. He burst onto the Major League scene in 1992 by posting a 2.15 ERA in 13 starts to help Pittsburgh win the NL East, and also went 2-0 in his two NLCS starts. Wakefield struggled afterwards, however, and was eventually released by the Bucs during Spring Training in 1995. He signed with the Red Sox six days later and the rest was history, as Wakefield went on to spend the next 17 seasons hurling his knuckler at Fenway Park.
Wakefield retires with a career 200-180 record, a 4.41 ERA and 2156 strikeouts over 3226 1/3 innings pitched. He is Boston's all-time leader in starts and innings pitched, and his 186 wins with the Red Sox ranks him third on the franchise's all-time wins list, just six behind Roger Clemens and Cy Young's shared mark of 192. According to Baseball Reference, Wakefield earned just under $56MM in his 19-year career.
- The Red Sox will not be one of the teams in attendance for Scott Kazmir's workout tomorrow, reports Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe (on Twitter). The southpaw's audition was supposed to be today, but it was pushed back.
- Korean pitching prospect Seong-Min Kim originally agreed to a $575K deal with the Orioles, Ben Badler of Baseball America reports.
- Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun hears that while MLB hasn't approved the contract between the Orioles and the 17-year-old left-hander, MLB didn't technically void it. In any case it seems the deal for Kim will not go through as originally announced.
- A Red Sox official expects compensation for Theo Epstein to be finalized "very soon," Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets. The Red Sox and Cubs recently sent briefs to the commissioner's office explaining their perspective on the issue of how to compensate Boston for Epstein's departure to Chicago.
- Agent Barry Meister didn't comment on whether Tim Wakefield will accept a minor league deal from the Red Sox, Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com tweets. It doesn't appear that Wakefield will accept the offer, Edes writes.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
Pitchers and catchers for the Orioles, Red Sox, Yankees, Rays, and Blue Jays are scheduled to report on February 18th, 19th, 19th, 20th, and 21st, respectively. Here's the latest from the AL East...
- Both Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek have received interest from other teams, but Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says (on Twitter) that the two are expected to decided between the Red Sox or retirement. Boston has extended minor league offers to both players.
- "This offseason was definitely tough," said new Red Sox outfielder Cody Ross to WEEI.com's Rob Bradford. "There were a lot of teams I though would be interested that weren't. There were teams that were interested that I didn't think would be ... I knew something was going to happen, and something good was going to come of it, and it did."
- MASNSports.com's Roch Kubatko looked at all the turnover on the Orioles' 40-man roster this offseason. He counts 13 new players brought in from outside the organization. Check out our Transaction Tracker for a recap of all of Baltimore's moves under new GM Dan Duquette.
Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino appeared on SiriusXM Sports radio today to discuss a handful of topics, including payroll and David Ortiz's impending arbitration hearing. WEEI.com provided a transcript of his quotes, so let's dig in.
- Not surprisingly, Lucchino scoffed at recent criticism that the Sox have been too frugal this offseason: Now, this year, if you want to talk specifically about 2012, we will have the highest payroll in the history of the Boston Red Sox in 2012. Will we eclipse the luxury tax threshold? To be sure, we will — once again. So I think the talk of us not spending needs to be viewed in the context of real facts and in comparisons to real dollars.
- There will be no hard feelings against DH David Ortiz regarding his arbitration hearing, Lucchino said, adding that the sides will "move on" after the hearing barring an unforeseen settlement before then. Check out MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker for details on Ortiz's case.
- Regarding outstanding offers of minor league contracts to Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek: "The decisions are now kind of in their hands as to what they’d like to do in this particular season.”
- Lucchino has no regrets about signing Carl Crawford to a seven-year, $142MM contract last offseason: "Don’t take a still photograph of year one of a seven-year deal and use it to conclude that the deal has been a success or been a failure."
Tim Wakefield may decide whether to pitch in 2012 by the weekend, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports. Red Sox GM Ben Cherington has said he expects to know soon whether there's a fit between his club and the 45-year-old knuckleballer.
“We’re discussing the options — and he has some options — and over the next few days, we’re going to try to figure it out,” agent Barry Meister told Lauber.
Wakefield posted a 5.12 ERA with 5.4 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 154 2/3 innings as a swingman for the 2011 Red Sox. 186 of his 200 career wins have been with the Red Sox, which means he's six victories away from tying Cy Young and Roger Clemens on Boston's all-time wins list.
Last year this time considerable hype surrounded the Red Sox, who had just traded for Adrian Gonzalez and signed Carl Crawford. Gonzalez and Crawford are still around, but the hype has disappeared. Here’s the latest on the Red Sox as they prepare for Spring Training 2012...
- There's "no sense of progress" in talks between the Red Sox and Roy Oswalt, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports.
- The Red Sox still appear to be in the running for Oswalt, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wrote earlier today. The Red Sox could be an alternative if Oswalt can't work out a deal with the Cardinals or Rangers. The right-hander's back issues haven't scared the Red Sox away.
- GM Ben Cherington expects definitive resolution on free agents Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield by next week, Cafardo writes.
- Alex Speier of WEEI.com examines David Ortiz’s upcoming arbitration case and explains that players such as Adam Dunn, Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner could be relevant in a hearing. Agent Fern Cuza could also compare Ortiz to higher salaried position players like Prince Fielder. The hearing is scheduled to take place Monday, according to Cafardo.
Pitcher Tim Wakefield told John A. Torres of Florida Today that while his preference is to pitch for the Red Sox in 2012, he will consider retirement. The knuckleballer has also received interest from a number of teams and won't necessarily rule out pitching for another club besides Boston next season.
“There have been a number of clubs who have called, who have an interest in signing me but I’m kind of just weighing my options right now,” the 45-year-old said. “I think I can be a valuable asset to them 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. You know that’s kind of been my job these last two years; I don’t have a problem doing that.”
Earlier this month, Red Sox skipper Bobby Valentine said that he "couldn't imagine" Wakefield coming in to Spring Training and competing for a job. General Manager Ben Cherington has also said that he doesn't expect Wakefield to be with the team in 2012.