Tim Wakefield Rumors
In his latest column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo looks at the career earnings for some of the biggest names in baseball, with an eye toward the offseason. Cafardo wonders if players in good situations like Adrian Beltre and Paul Konerko would give their respective clubs a slight discount, or if they'll pursue the most money possible on the open market. Here are some other highlights from Cafardo's piece:
- Konerko negotiated his last contract primarily with White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, and Cafardo wouldn't be surprised to see Reinsdorf step in again to keep Konerko in Chicago.
- Although they don't love his defense behind the plate, the Marlins are a team that will be interested in signing Victor Martinez this winter.
- A National League scout could see Tim Wakefield succeeding on the mound in the NL for another couple years, but questions whether Wakefield would be able to hit and run the bases, as the Senior Circuit requires. Cafardo indicates that the 44-year-old is frustrated with his role in Boston.
- Cafardo predicts that the Red Sox will sign Scott Downs this winter.
- As of Friday, Kevin Towers had only had one conversation with D'Backs president Derrick Hall about the team's GM opening, according to a source. It was on Friday that we heard Towers was the frontrunner for the Arizona job.
Links for Wednesday, 50 years after the Milwaukee Braves signed Joe Torre as an amateur free agent...
- The Cubs intend to interview Ryne Sandberg and others for their managerial opening within ten days, according to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says baseball's revenue sharing system is not broken, but he would like to see MLB adopt a "laser-like focus" on developing a fairer system.
- Jason Varitek told reporters, including Alex Speier of WEEI that he intends to keep playing after next season.
- Tim Wakefield's base salary for 2011 rises from $1.5MM to $2MM if he finishes 3.1 innings tonight, as Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald points out on Twitter.
- Trevor Hoffman told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he'll wait until after the season to decide whether to retire (Twitter link).
- Hisanori Takahashi told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com that he likes New York and wants to continue playing major league baseball. He just doesn't know if he’ll re-sign with the Mets this winter.
- Since the Dodgers called Xavier Paul up from the minors, he should be getting regular playing time with Manny Ramirez out, reasons Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times.
- Alan Embree told Dan Barbarisi of The Providence Journal that he won't be extending his contract deadline again. He hopes to be called up by the Red Sox by April 30th.
- The AP has details on Ben Zobrist's $18MM extension with the Rays.
- Though the knuckleballer doesn't say it, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says "it's obvious [Tim Wakefield] isn't keen on his new [bullpen] assignment."
- Jim Callis of Baseball America explores what might happen if MLB allows trading draft picks.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post wonders how long Javier Vazquez will be given to get on track.
- With tongue firmly in cheek, Grant of the McCovey Chronicles predicts free agent-to-be Jayson Werth will sign with the Giants next winter.
- ESPN's Keith Law shares his rankings of the top 100 prospects for the June amateur draft. (ESPN Insider subscription required.)
- Speaking of young players, MLB.com's Jane Lee talks to Athletics director of player personnel Keith Leippman about some of the top prospects in Oakland's farm system.
- ESPN.com's Eric Karabell says that if Matt Capps can keep up his strong start, the right-hander will be a good trade chip for Washington over the summer. Karabell also notes that if Capps is dealt, it will likely be to a team looking for set-up help, not a closer.
- Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times says it's a close call between Derek Jeter or Manny Ramirez for the title of "best big contract in baseball history."
A wrap-up of some items on this busy Tuesday evening...
- Larry Stone of the Seattle Times looks at some of the free agents left on the market and wonders if the Mariners will be enticed to make one more move this winter. Neither Stone nor MLB.com's Jim Street think an Erik Bedard return is likely.
- Chris Haft of MLB.com covers a number of Giants-related topics in a mailbag, including how outfielder Fred Lewis "appears to have fallen out of favor with the organization" and "probably needs a change of scenery."
- Tim Wakefield tells CSNNE.com's Art Martone that he intends "on being one of the five starters" in the Boston rotation next season.
- SI.com's Jon Heyman reports that the Chuck Greenberg/Nolan Ryan-led ownership group paid a cool $570MM for the Rangers.
- Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was told by Brewers GM Doug Melvin that he is "working on one other thing....It would be a minor-league deal." Haudricourt speculates that Milwaukee is looking for a left-handed reserve outfielder and former Brewer Gabe Gross could be an option.
- The Dodgers are another team looking for a lefty backup outfielder, tweets MLB.com's Ken Gurnick.
- MLB.com's Mark Bowman says that a recent Chipper Jones comment about Atlanta possibly bringing back Javier Vazquez after 2010 is "wishful thinking" on the part of the Braves superstar. Bowman discusses a few other topics in the mailbag piece, including the wisdom of the Braves buying out the arbitration years of Jair Jurrjens and/or Tommy Hanson.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter) says that Robb Quinlan was a reserve option for the Twins if they hadn't signed Jim Thome. The right-handed Quinlan might have fit into the Minnesota bench a bit better than Thome, but if you had to pick between the two, I think most people would give Thome the nod.
Some overnight links for your viewing pleasure as we start to get into the real late hours of the night:
- USA Today's Bob Nightengale says good morning with a series of tweets; Nightengale says he continues to hear Edwin Jackson's name floated about, and that "most executives" feel he'll be traded soon. He also wouldn't be surprised to see Adrian Beltre fall into Boston's lap if he declines arbitration. Not sure where he envisions Mike Lowell in that scenario.
- Jeff Zrebiec lists ten trade targets for the Orioles, though he admits that some are highly unlikely. In a separate piece, Peter Schmuck opines that it's not a waste of money if the O's spend money on free agents this offseason to add a few wins and show future free agents that Baltimore is trending in the right direction.
- Alex Speier of WEEI.com explains why it would be unlike the Red Sox sacrifice a high draft pick for a free agent reliever such as Mike Gonzalez or Rafael Soriano. As you know, Boston currently owes their first-round #29 pick to the Blue Jays for signing Marco Scutaro.
- Anything can happen at the Winter Meetings, writes Peter Schmuck, who reminds us of the 1990 deal between the Blue Jays and Padres that sent Fred McGriff and Tony Fernandez to San Diego for Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter. That trade started off as a minor discussion.
- The Boston Herald has ten things to keep in mind at this year's Winter Meetings.
- Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch looks at how the economy will affect this year's Winter Meetings, and poses five key questions to keep in mind this time around.
- Gordon Wittenmyer looks at why the Cubs are optimistic that they can move Milton Bradley this offseason.
- Count Tim Wakefield and Daniel Bard among those in the Jason Bay camp for the Red Sox, says Michael Silverman. While Matt Holliday may be a more complete player, Wakefield and Bard would prefer their friend and proven AL East commodity. Good read, if for no other reason than Wakefield's quote at the end on how closely he follows the offseason: "...We’ll be sitting in the dugout in spring training in Fort Myers and I’ll look across and be, ‘How the hell did he get over there?’ ”
- John Tomase touches on the Red Sox needs this offseason. Tomase hits most of the names we've already heard, and throws Mark DeRosa and Jamey Carroll into the mix as well.
- Quick! Who do you see spending the most money on the draft in 2010? Bet you didn't guess the Blue Jays (unless of course you took into consideration the large hint I provided in the title of this post). Reports are that the Jays will have a ridiculous $16MM to spend on the draft in 2010. The Jays have eight picks in the first three rounds (nine if Rod Barajas signs elsewhere), and plan to take full advantage of it.
- El Lefty Malo takes a look at the possibility that the Giants sign Jason Kendall as their starting catcher because of the belief that Buster Posey isn't ready. Apparently, it's not a thought that sits well.
- MLB.com looks back at some of the best trades and free agent signings by each club in the National League and American League since the era of Divisional play began. They've also got a more generic list of the best moves of the past 40 seasons.
- Per Kyodo News, several teams have expressed interest in So Taguchi, according to his agent Alan Nero. Several teams? Can't say I expected that one.
6:23pm: Full details of Wakefield's contract are here, courtesy of Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
4:29pm: The team has confirmed the signing, according to FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi. Bradford, meanwhile, has some quotes from Wakefield, who admitted to being a little disappointed that they wanted to cut his guarantee, "but in the long run they’re at least guaranteeing me another year.”
1:48pm: Bradford confirmed in an email that the deal has been finalized.
1:28pm: WEEI.com's Rob Bradford says the new deal will guarantee Wakefield $5MM ($3.5MM in 2010, $1.5MM in 2011), with incentives that could push the total value of the deal up to $7MM.
1:26pm: The Red Sox have held (and exercised) a perpetual $4MM option for knuckleballer Tim Wakefield since 2005, but now Tony Massarotti of The Boston Globe reports that the two sides are renegotiating the deal after Wakefield had surgery to remove disc fragments from his back.
Massarotti says the two sides are close to an agreement on a two-year deal with a lower base salary, but incentives that will give Wakefield the chance to earn the same money if he stays healthy. The 43-year-old has made 20+ starts for the Sox for the last seven years, and he's just 17 wins behind Roger Clemens and Cy Young for the franchise record of 192 wins.
According to WEEI.com's Rob Bradford, Josh Beckett plans to meet with the Red Sox in the coming weeks to discuss a contract extension.
Beckett's 2010 option for $12.1MM vested when he made 28 starts for Boston in 2009. However, without a new contract, Beckett would be a free agent following the 2010 season.
Alex Speier of WEEI.com had Theo Epstein's take on Beckett. epstein also stressed the importance of bringing back free agent Jason Bay.
“It’s been really fun for us to watch him mature on and off the field during his time in Boston,” Epstein said of Beckett. “He’s put himself in a position to be valued very highly by us. He’s someone we’d obviously like have to be a part of our future. Those things have a way of taking care of themselves. … We’ll see what happens.”
Epstein said he will wait for the last possible day before making a move on Tim Wakefield's option, but that medical reports on the pitcher were positive.
More Thursday linkage...
- MLB.com's Mark Sheldon guesses the Reds will buy out Ramon Hernandez's option for $1MM, but then try to re-sign him. Sheldon also runs through the upcoming important hot stove dates.
- White Sox GM Ken Williams wouldn't reveal much about his offseason plans, talking to MLB.com's Scott Merkin. "I'm always looking at all the possibilities," said Williams.
- WEEI's Rob Bradford talked to Tim Wakefield, who is aiming for 200 victories. He's 11 shy, so he could pull it off in 2010. The Sox figure to exercise his $4MM option once again.
- Ryo Shinkawa of NPB Tracker says 33-year-old righty Naoyuki Shimizu has MLB aspirations. Shimizu posted a 4.42 ERA this year in 144.6 innings for the Chiba Lotte Marines, striking out only 88.
- Cot's Baseball Contracts informs us that Ryan Howard will earn $50K for his NLCS MVP award. Tack that on to his $15MM salary.
Another round of links for the afternoon...
- The Cards were surprised to hear that Albert Pujols isn't thinking about a contract extension, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- The Cubs have now asked the Rangers for permission to speak with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, according to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat.
- First overall pick Stephen Strasburg makes his AFL debut tonight, according to the AP (via ESPN).
- Earlier in the week, the New York Post reported that Billy Wagner was leaning towards retirement. Wagner's agent, Bean Stringfellow, told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports this week that Wagner plans on playing next year.
- ESPN.com's Rob Neyer says there's no question: the Red Sox will enter Spring Training with at least five starters. Even if they pick up Tim Wakefield's option, as expected, they will likely add another arm.
- The Brewers sent cash to the Reds to complete the David Weathers trade, according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.
- Bobby Valentine side-stepped questions about the Marlins on 790 The Ticket this morning, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
- USA Today's Bob Nightengale says (via Twitter) that it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Padres hire Jed Hoyer or Jerry DiPoto to be the team's next GM.
Good news, knuckleball fans!
WEEI's Rob Bradford reports that Tim Wakefield is set to have surgery on the herniated disc in his back next week, likely on Wednesday.
Why is this good news? Not only have the doctors told Wakefield that the surgery won't hinder his ability to get ready for next season, but Boston GM Theo Epstein indicated that, assuming all goes well, Boston will likely exercise the $4MM team option they hold on Wakefield.
“Wake is someone that is in our plans and we hope makes starts for us next year and is a member of the rotation,” Epstein said. “We haven’t sat down and finalized anything. Obviously we want to see how the surgery goes and then both sides will sit down and talk.”
Wakefield, an up-and-comer who was named to his first All Star team this season weeks before his 43rd birthday, posted an 11-5 record in 2009 with a 4.58 ERA.