I guess I did not understand the statement by Barry Meister (Wakefield's agent), when he said Tim will be making a decision on his future soon. The decision whether Wake will attempt another year in the majors or hang up his cleats after 19 seasons (17 with Bos.) was supposed to be made by this past weekend. Nothing yet. Wakefield has stated numerous times in the past that he doesn't want to pitch for anyone else and wants to be wearing a Red Sox uniform when he retires. At 45, Wakefield still feels like he has something to offer, and the Red Sox are not so sure about that.
Tim Wakefield has been a bargain throughout his entire career, never making more than $4.67 million in a season. He has been versitle, spending most of his time as a starter, and making much needed appearances as a long-reliever and closer. Even though he has done a lot for the Sox 2011 was a very un-friendly contract season.
The highlight of 2011 for Tim Wakefield was of course his 200th victory that came on September 13th after one of the longest journeys between wins in league history. It took 8 starts to reach that milestone and it was ugly as the Sox lost 6 of those 8 games. That 200th victory may have been his last in his career. He went on to lose his final two starts to finish the season at 7-8. It wasn't all bad, just mostly bad, but there could be something left in the tank.
The only role Tim Wakefield would fit in would be long-relief. The Red Sox could probably get him cheaper than the $2 million they paid him last season. That might not be appealing enough. In his 10 appearances out of the bullpen, the Red Sox went 1-9 with no credit to Wakefield in that one victory. None of those loses were his fault, he was just an arm to get them through a blow out that was not in their favor. That also doesn't help Wake's desire for 7 more victories to surpass the Red Sox all-time leader in wins, Roger Clemens with 192.
Aside from being a somewhat cheap addition to the bullpen, Wakefield does not have a good case. His 32-34 record and 4.76 ERA since 2008 is not all that bad, but take 2008 and 2009 out of the mix, and it's not lookin' so good. Over the last two seasons, Wake has posted an 11-18 record with a 5.22 ERA and 1.354 WHIP. Once again, his appearances out of the pen were out of necessity during a blow-out (in either direction). That is not what Wake wants to do, and that may not matter because the Sox have shown no interest in bringing him back for any role.
When you take into account his age, recent struggles for quality starts, and no desperate need on the Red Sox side for a pitcher like Wakefield, retirement may be the best option. I would hate to look into that dugout or bullpen and not see number 49 walking around, but it will happen eventually. Maybe the recent minor-league contract given to 49-year-old, Jaime Moyer by the Rockies at has given Wake some inspiration for a return. Even if the Red Sox do give him a chance, those 7 wins to surpass Clemens may never happen.
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