MLBTradeRumors.com is reporting that Tim Wakefield will announce his retirement from baseball later today.
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 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.
Despite the fact that this is the outcome we've expected for a few weeks, I'm torn by this announcement. Like Varitek, Timmy is one of those guys that you just expect to see in a Sox uniform every day. When you think of the Boston Red Sox, and the successes they've had over the past decade, Wakefield has been a constant. Regardless of how high his ERA would climb or how flat his knuckleball had become, Wake was a player that you desperately wanted to succeed.
But his successes on the mount have been few and far between in recent years. He's simply not going to play an integral role on a successful baseball club at this stage in his career. At the very best, he's a guy you can bring in to eat some innings of long-since-decided games. The Red Sox are not going to commit a roster spot for a pitcher with such a low ceiling, regardless of his history with the franchise.
We had all hoped that Wake would one day knock Roger Clemens' name out of the record books. Unfortunately he fell just a few wins short. But that does nothing to mar the equally brilliant and unspectacular career that Wakefield strung together over the past 20 years. It's going to be weird not seeing him in the dugout this spring.
Wakefield's retirement isn't the only sad news we have to share today. It has also been reported that Hideki Okajima has failed his physical with the Yankees, and is no longer part of New York's 2012 plans. What a shame. We were *thisclose* to watching the Yankees get Okie-Dokie'd to the bottom of the AL East. If any of our readers have any contacts in the Rays' front office, would you mind putting in a good word for him?