Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield says that he would someday like to get back in the game as a pitching coach.
Yesterday here on BoSox Injection we discussed Jason Varitek‘s aspirations for becoming a manager in the next phase of his post-playing career. Now it seems that a former teammate of his, who will join him in being enshrined in the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame this summer, has interest in pursuing his own coaching career.
Tim Wakefield is content for now with his role as an analyst for NESN, while his contributions to the Red Sox Foundation have also kept him busy. That doesn’t mean that he hasn’t thought about a future as a pitching coach.
NESN.com’s Ricky Doyle reports that Wakfield was very open to the idea of coaching when the topic came up during a conference call on Monday.
"“I would love to,” replied Wakfield when asked about the prospect of coaching. “I think in my position, I love to watch mechanics in pitchers. I can tell almost immediately.”"
Wakefield would know a thing or two about pitching, having set the franchise record with 3,006 innings pitched over his 17 years in a Red Sox uniform. He won 200 games in his career, 186 of which came in Boston to rank third in franchise history.
The knuckleball pitcher never possessed a blazing 95 MPH fastball, but that doesn’t mean he can’t offer guidance to those that can dial up that type of heat. Wakefield understands pitching mechanics, which is one of the primary concerns of a pitching coach.
"“Because of throwing a knuckleball, I knew my mechanics had to be dead-on perfect to be successful,” explained Wakefield. Because I’m a knuckleballer, it doesn’t necessarily mean my mechanics are different from a conventional guy’s mechanics.”"
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Wakefield made one All-Star appearance and won a pair of World Series rings during his career in Boston, while serving as a reliable option that was versatile enough to be used in the rotation or out of the bullpen. He even served as a closer for the Red Sox, tallying 22 saves in his career. His experience in a variety of pitching roles makes him well suited to coach an entire staff, with knowledge that could aid everyone from the ace of the rotation down to the last man in the bullpen.
While he may not be ready for the move yet, transitioning into a coaching career would seem to be in his future.
"“I don’t want to step on anybody’s toes at this time and I don’t necessarily want a big league pitching coach job with two young kids at home right now, but maybe eventually down the road, it’s something I definitely wouldn’t mind entertaining.”"
The Red Sox don’t have an opening for a pitching coach at the moment, so Wakefield may have to bide his time anyway. It’s unclear if he would entertain offers from other franchises, but you have to assume his preference is to remain in the Red Sox organization given that he has remained in Boston working for the franchise in a variety of roles since his retirement in 2011.
It’s also possible that the Red Sox could find a position for him in their minor league system in order to allow him to get his feet wet as a coach before considering him as a potential option down the line for their big league club.
During his playing days Wakefield was a veteran leader that earned the respect of his teammates, which suggests that forming a rapport with his pitching staff won’t be an issue. He has the chops to be a successful coach, so as long as he remains open to it then the Red Sox should find an opening for him in the organization at some point down the line.