Tim Wakefield Rumors
Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told Jon Heyman of SI.com that he thought carefully before locking up Jose Bautista to a $65MM extension. "When you spend that kind of money, I don't think you can ever be completely comfortable," Anthopoulos said. "And I am one to agonize over everything, anyway,'' Both Anthopoulos and Bautista acknowledged that a second 54-homer season is unlikely, but that doesn't mean the former utility player can't produce. Here are the rest of Heyman's rumors...
- Boston's front office has not seriously considered cutting Tim Wakefield.
- Dennys Reyes, who can opt out of his contract Friday, will likely make the team as well, according to Heyman.
- Two scouts say Marlins third baseman Matt Dominguez isn't ready to hit in the major leagues. However, he's an above-average defender.
- Though manager Joe Girardi won't say as much, Ivan Nova has locked up the Yankees' No. 4 starter job, according to Heyman.
- It appears that Oliver Perez will find a job. The Yankees and Brewers aren't interested.
- Scouts tell Heyman that Twins pitching prospect Kyle Gibson isn't far from the majors.
The latest on the Red Sox as John Boggs, the agent for Adrian Gonzalez, visits camp...
- Boggs said he would be "unpleasantly surprised" if Gonzalez doesn't sign a long-term deal with the Red Sox sometime in April, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com (Twitter link).
- Boggs told the Boston Herald that he had a good meeting with execs Theo Epstein and Ben Cherington to try to rebuild the momentum the sides had in December, right after Boston traded for the first baseman. “Everything’s gone according to plan,’’ in terms of Gonzalez's recovery from right shoulder surgery, Boggs said.
- Like the Yankees, the Red Sox are itching to rotate players in and out of the DH spot, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. That means the Red Sox could get unsentimental with David Ortiz when he hits free agency after the season and let him walk. Rosenthal suggests the Red Sox aren't going to hand Tim Wakefield a roster spot just because of his legacy, either.
The Phillies' health issues and the Red Sox' depth makes the two teams logical trade partners, says Nick Cafardo in his newest column for the Boston Globe. The Red Sox have spare infielders and outfielders they could offer Philadelphia to offset the injuries to Chase Utley and Domonic Brown. While the Sox and Phils are already the Vegas favorites to meet in the 2011 World Series, Cafardo wonders if a trade between the two sides could help that matchup happen. Here are the other items of interest from the Globe's Sunday Baseball Notes:
- If the Rangers were willing to eat some salary, a Michael Young deal "could be made" with the Cubs. As we heard this week, the Cubs probably can't afford to take on Young's contract, but, despite his defensive shortcomings, he would make some sense for Chicago at second base.
- Pedro Martinez says he's in good shape and has yet to rule out pitching somewhere in 2011. He thinks it would take him about six weeks to get ready if he were to make a comeback.
- Cafardo cautions that the Red Sox' starting pitching depth isn't as strong as it seems. Given Daisuke Matsuzaka's performance this spring, Cafardo thinks it would be prudent to keep Tim Wakefield around, just in case.
- The Red Sox are seeking a big-league-ready catcher they can keep in Triple-A in case of injury. Cafardo speculates that Rangers backstop Kevin Cash, a player the Sox have "always loved," could be a fit.
- Matt Albers is out of options, making him potential trade bait for the Red Sox. As Cafardo points out, the Sox would rather avoid exposing the right-hander on waivers to a team like the Rays.
- Scott Hatteberg is currently working as a special assistant to Billy Beane in Oakland. Agent Joe Urbon feels that Hatteberg's future could include a job as a manager, a possibility the former Athletic sounds willing to explore. "It’s something I could envision down the road," Hatteberg said. "As a catcher, you’re always involved in so many facets of the game that you get an idea of what it’s like."
7:51pm: One Red Sox official has called the ESPNBoston story "false," tweets Edes. According to Edes, however, his source was describing scenarios he'd been told by another Sox official. GM Theo Epstein also disputed the report, writes John Tomase of the Boston Herald.
5:49pm: The Red Sox moved a little closer to finalizing their Opening Day roster today by reassigning a number of players to minor league camp. Before April 1st rolls around, however, the club appears open to making more significant roster moves. Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston reports that the Red Sox "have let it be known" they'll listen to trade offers on a number of players expected to start the year with the team.
According to Edes' source, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Tim Wakefield, Mike Cameron, Darnell McDonald, and Marco Scutaro would be available in the right deal. Some of those players would likely draw more interest than others. Matsuzaka, for instance, in addition to having a full no-trade clause, is owed $10MM this season and has struggled so far this spring. So while Edes writes that the Red Sox would move the right-hander if they could "add to their young catching inventory," finding a deal that works could be tricky.
Cameron and Scutaro have been identified as potential trade candidates previously this winter, given Boston's depth at their respective positions. As for Wakefield, Edes' source says the 44-year-old is "on the bubble" and could be available for a left-handed reliever. Though his 2011 role with the Sox is up in the air, the knuckleballer said earlier this week that he can't imagine playing anywhere besides Boston.
A couple of items from Beantown..
- The Red Sox have voided the minor league contract of Jason Bergmann, according to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. The hurler came to camp with a shoulder injury and has been unable to pitch. Boston signed the right-hander in December after he posted a 2.84 ERA with 9.9 K/9 in 43 relief appearances for Washington's Triple-A affiliate in 2010. The 29-year-old has a 5.04 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 across parts of six seasons with the Nats.
- Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield’s age and recent results make one wonder about his role on the 2011 Red Sox, writes Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe. The club already has five starters and the 44-year-old isn't really geared to come out of the bullpen. Wakefield is guaranteed $1.5MM this season.
The Red Sox beat the Cardinals in Florida today even though they allowed seven runs. Here are the latest updates on the BoSox, with an emphasis on the team's pitching staff...
- The Red Sox announced that they agreed to terms with 15 pre-arbitration eligible players including Clay Buchholz and Daniel Bard. Buchholz was an extension candidate and he discussed a potential multiyear deal with the Red Sox, but they haven't agreed on one so far.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports hears from a scout that Josh Beckett "looks like he's on [a] mission" and that his pitches are looking good (Twitter link).
- Tim Wakefield told Kirk Minihane of WEEI.com that he can't envision playing elsewhere. "Why would I? I've been here for so long, why would I go somewhere else?" Wakefield asked. He first suited up for the Red Sox in 1995.
The latest from the AL East, as Derek Jeter deflects Hank Steinbrenner's criticism...
- ESPN.com's Jayson Stark argues quite convincingly that Jose Bautista is the face of the Blue Jays. Toronto manager John Farrell compared Bautista to Jayson Werth, another late bloomer who signed a big contract this offseason.
- The Red Sox intend to pick up Terry Francona's two-year option at the end of the year, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). Francona says he doesn't know how the Red Sox intend to approach the option, which is worth a total of $9MM.
- John Tomase of the Boston Herald re-imagines the 1988 draft and suggests Tim Wakefield, then a first base prospect with some power, would have been worthy of a seventh overall selection. The Pirates drafted the future Red Sox knuckleballer in the eighth round.
- Former Blue Jays and Yankees DH Josh Phelps signed with the Italian Baseball League team Telemarket Rimini according to mister-baseball.com. The 32-year-old former top prospect hit 64 homers in the majors, including 20 for the 2003 Blue Jays.
- ESPN.com's Keith Law includes Blue Jays prospect Brett Lawrie on his list of young players who are ready for the majors in one respect, but who need development in other areas. Lawrie's bat is nearly ready, but the Blue Jays need to figure out his future position.
While a couple more arbitration hearings were averted Thursday, here's a few tidbits of note:
- The Rockies have a uniquely structured minor-league deal with Jason Giambi, blogs Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Giambi will earn a salary of $850,000 this season or a $250,000 buyout if he's cut during Spring Training (which is unlikely, according to Renck). There's also a mutual option for 2012 worth $1MM with a $150,000 buyout. Finally, Giambi can request that he be released on two separate dates (March 31 and June 1) if he's not on the 25-man roster at those times.
- The Mets' incentive-laden, one-year deal with Chris Young is structured such that the right-hander will earn bonuses for a variety of benchmarks, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. On top of his $1.5MM base salary, Young can earn as much as $1,525,000 for starts Nos. 10-31 and $1,875,000 for innings 70-180.
- The Mets' one-year pact with Scott Hairston is a Major League deal, contrary to some earlier reports, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, and is worth $1.1MM in base salary and $400,000 in incentives.
- Tim Wakefield, the Red Sox's 44-year-old knuckleballer, says he hasn't ruled out the possibility of pitching beyond 2011, writes Ian Browne of MLB.com. Wakefield, entering his 16th season with Boston, is in the final year of a two-year deal he signed prior to the 2010 campaign. It's far too soon to guess whether Wakefield would pitch for another team or if one would be interested in him after 2011, but because the knuckleball is relatively easy on the arm, it stands to reason someone might take a flier on him to eat innings in a swing role.
- Josh Byrnes tells WEEI.com's Alex Speier that the familiarity between the Red Sox and Padres front offices may actually be a hindrance in making a deal happen.
- Heath Bell's name has been mentioned in some of the Padres/Red Sox trade talks, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney. Top Boston prospects Casey Kelly and Anthony Rizzo are two of the names discussed in a potential package to San Diego, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
- Olney also tweets that if Adrian Beltre's first preference is really to return to Boston, then admitting so probably cost him some leverage with the Athletics.
- Boston is Gonzalez's preferred trade destination, tweets Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman, possibly due to the fact that the Sox are contenders and they can afford "to give him [a Mark] Teixeira deal."
- Are the Red Sox one of the teams interested in Russell Martin? Heyman tweets that Boston has "always liked" the former Dodger catcher. With Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek behind the plate, Heyman speculates that Martin could fill a utility role for Boston.
- Tim Wakefield talked to the Boston Globe's Peter Abraham about how 2011 will "probably" be his last season and how he's now more comfortable about losing his rotation spot.
- If the Red Sox had been successful in signing Mariano Rivera away from the Yankees, Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com reports that the Sox would've non-tendered Jonathan Papelbon before last night's deadline. Given the Bell-from-San Diego rumor noted earlier, you wonder if a Papelbon move is yet to come for the Red Sox this winter.
Tim Wakefield confirmed to The Boston Globe's Amalie Benjamin that the 2011 season would be his last in the big leagues (Twitter link). The 44-year-old knuckleballer is under contract for just $2MM next year.
Wakefield has both started and relieved this season, pitching to a 5.20 ERA in 135 innings before today's start against the Yankees. The former Pirate has posted a 4.37 ERA during his 18-year career, and is poised to join the 200 win club next summer. He had been working on what amounted to a lifetime contract worth $4MM annually since 2006, but the two sides restructured the deal last offseason.