Second Thoughts on Keeping Tim Wakefield


I along with many of you wasn’t saddened to hear the Sox didn’t offer Tim Wakefield arbitration.  Face it, at age 46, Wake isn’t in the prime of his life.  I also feel that his pursuit for 200 wins was the first stone to fall in the Sox collapse.  Even so, would the Sox be making a mistake by bringing him back?

I don’t want to hear Wakefield’s name mentioned as one of the starters to take the hill every fifth day, I don’t care how many wins he needs to be the Sox all time win leader.  His days of pitching every fifth day has been gone a very long time, he had no right being there this year.  What Wakefield does give you is a pitcher who can give you plenty of innings out of the bullpen.  Again, I’m not implying bringing Wake out in the seventh or eighth inning with a one run lead.  I think Wakefield is best suited for the lopsided games, winning or losing.  Why waste a valuable arm out of the bullpen when the Sox are winning or losing by 10-1? Throw Wake out there.  Just because you win one game 10-1 doesn’t mean that you won’t have a 1-0 or 2-1 game the next.  Of course the number of appearances he could have next year was vastly diminished when John Lackey had Tommy John surgery, but still there will be plenty of those games going on.  The Sox have done virtually nothing to improve their pitching this offseason.  They just watched another available arm slip away when Jonathan Broxton signed with the Kansas City Royals.  Broxton is only the latest of relievers that was on the open market this year that the Sox didn’t even make a pass at.  The Sox seem to be sitting on their hands and watching some good talent sign with other teams without even trying to get them.  But, that’s another post for another time.  This is about Tim Wakefield’s worth to the club.  He is a low value, low risk signing. 

Another aspect Wakefield brings to the table is his availability to make the spot start.  He needs very little notice to prepare for a start.  So the next time Josh Beckett stubs his toe during the pregame warm up, you can count on Wake to jump right in.  The odds of healthy Beckett and Clay Buchholz  all year is slim to none, we are going to need a fill in starter every so often.  Who better than Wakefield?  He would also be valuable in double headers forced by a rainout. 

So here I am on the fence with this Sox team again.  First I was glad to see Wake go now I am wondering if he has a need here.  I do think under the right circumstances that Wakefield can still contribute to this team.  Don’t make him one of the important cogs in the machine; look at him as a duct tape.  Someone you go to when you just need to patch an inning or a game up.

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