Posts Tagged ‘Tim Wakefield’
Thanks Wake! It’s not ending the way Tim Wakefield wanted it to – but my hat is off to Wake for a terrific career and for his contributions off the field too. Wakefield will always be remembered as part of the 2004 and 2007 World Championships – which obviously have special places in the hearts of Red Sox fans. I will also remember Wakefield as stand-up player willing to do what was best for the team – start, spot start, relieve (15 saves in 1999). He was an excellent fielding pitcher too. Here’s a nice overview on Wakefield’s career from Ian Browne. I am happy Wakefield will continue to be associated with the Red Sox. I expect he will be a popular visitor to the Fenway Park Legends Box.
Pitching Problems. Alex Speier zeroed in on what he sees as the real problem with the Red Sox pitching staff – no prospect emerged as a critical contributor in 2010 or 2011. I agree – and this is an issue one can extend to the entire team. Red Sox management promised a player development machine – but the results have not been there the last few years. This contributes to late season holes (like last September when Boston had no one in AAA who could be counted on to deliver one quality start). And to big (and bad) free agent investments like John Lackey. But there is good news. The status of prospects can move up quickly as they progress through the system and the Red Sox appear to be strong in the lower minors. Keep an eye on Anthony Ranaudo and Matt Barnes in the coming season. While they may not help in 2011, how they play will tell you whether Boston is developing any premium pitching prospects.
Still Big Spenders. Jeremy Lundblad went through the numbers on the Red Sox 2012 payroll – and they show Boston has definitely not gone cheap. This coming season will most likely be the highest payroll in team history. The big issue is bad contracts – notably Lackey, Daisuke Matuszaka and Bobby Jenks. And we will learn if Carl Crawford should be added to that list. This past off-season GM Ben Cherington took a conservative approach in the free agent market (hello, Cody Ross and Nick Punto). A big test on for Cherington comes in the future, when he makes a big-money, long-term commitment – does he demonstrate better judgment than his predecessor?
Theo Compensation. Gordon Edes has an update on the Theo Epstein compensation from the Cubs – no major league player or premium prospect coming to Boston (although Edes puts Josh Vitters on the not-coming-to-Boston list, someone not typically considered a top prospect). Edes reports the Red Sox still hope to get a quality prospect – a player who has a chance to contribute at the major league level one day. My prediction (with my typical caveat – I don’t know anything) – pitchers Trey McNutt or Chris Carpenter. Who do you think Boston will receive as compensation?
Cody Ross is Mr. Average. Christina Kahrl wrote about the players who are the statistical average in offensive production at every position – with Red Sox newcomer Cody Ross grabbing the leftfield spot. Ross is a good, low-cost pick-up late in the off-season.
Wakefield Wants to Return. Tim Wakefield again voiced his strong preference to come back to Boston and pitch one more season with the Red Sox. Despite the uncertainty in the Red Sox rotation, I don’t see Wakefield coming back. But it would be strange seeing Wake pitch for another team. Probably strange for Wakefield too. Look for him to retire.
Ranaudo ready for more. MILB.com spoke with Red Sox pitching prospect Anthony Ranaudo who said he is hoping to start the season at AA Portland. Ranaudo is very active on Twitter – @anthony_ranaudo – if you are looking to follow someone new.
Oswalt Looks Heading South. Jon Heyman writes it looks like the Cardinals and Rangers are Roy Oswalt’s top choices – leaving the Red Sox to look elsewhere for a starter. My top pick for the Red Sox would be Edwin Jackson with Gavin Floyd number two (Jackson gets the nod only because he is a free agent). If Boston is truly satisfied with the starting rotation (as management says), St. Louis is shopping Kyle McClellan to clear salary room for Oswalt – and he would be a good addition to the bullpen. Kind of what they hoped Dan Wheeler would produce last season.
Here’s a quick tour of comments on some recent Boston Red Sox news and analysis:
Lavarnway Ready for the Bigs? Despite having a breakout minor league season last year, it doesn’t look like the Red Sox think Ryan Lavarnway is ready for the majors (evidence: Kelly Shoppach signing). Nor does it appear other teams think so either. Catcher prospects have been centerpieces of two big trades for young, quality starters (something Boston could use), neither involving the Red Sox – Reds/Mat Latos and Yankees/Michael Pineda trades. But Lavarnway is undeterred – hoping to hit the big leagues in 2012. Look for Lavarnway to start the season in Pawtucket – but should starting catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia open the season slowly, he could get his shot early.
Red Sox Close on Padilla. Not sure it rates as an adequate response to the Yankees big pitching moves, but Jon Heyman reports the Red Sox are close to signing right-hander Vicente Padilla. Red Sox GM Ben Cherington continues to shop in the bargain basement hoping someone among Padilla (if he signs), Aaron Cook and Carlos Silva strikes lightning in the coming season. These moves make it seem like the Red Sox want to keep Alfredo Aceves in his invaluable bullpen role. I like building depth but feel Boston is still at least one quality starter away from competing with the Yankees and Rays in pitching.
Prospect Wilson Confident. Red Sox pitching prospect Alex Wilson sounds confident about the upcoming season in this video interview with Didier Morais and story by Brian MacPherson. I like Wilson but as a bullpen piece sometime in 2012, not a starter.
Varitek/Wakefield Status. I agree with Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. It doesn’t make sense for Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield to come to Red Sox Spring Training in non-roster positions. It will just be a distraction to the team and players. And would be a downer to have the team cut one or both of them – not the ending they deserve. Boston should publicly thank both players for their great service – and offer them non-playing roles with the organization. And if the players want to continue playing, it should be elsewhere.
John Tomase released his Red Sox player report card for the 2011 season.
Overall, it is pretty good. Here are some comments:
Josh Beckett – B. Too high – should be a C. He’s paid like a number one starter and totally failed in September crunch time. The Red Sox front office has got to be asking themselves: What can the team expect from the Big 3 of Beckett, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz in 2012? Most teams would kill for that front-end of a rotation. But it failed in 2011.
Theo Epstein – C. Too high – should be a D. Tomase graded Carl Crawford – D; John Lackey – F-; and Bobby Jenks – D-. All were Theo’s boys. Money covers a lot of mistakes. But in the end, even $170 million was not enough as the Red Sox were scrambling in the trade market to find a starting pitcher during the last week of the season. If Theo was being graded pass/fail – the grade would be fail.
Kevin Youkilis – B-. Two consecutive underperforming, injury-riddled seasons. Have to ask – is Youkilis past peak performance? We already heard Youkilis speak up during the 2011 season wondering if the Red Sox planned to extend his contract – which ends after 2012 (plus a team option). Theo should waste no time saying – let’s stow the contract talk until after next season.
Jason Varitek – C and Tim Wakefield – C-. No issue with the on-field grades but with all the comments about the lack of veteran player leadership contributing to the team’s September collapse, you have to ask: where were these leaders? Looks like the end of the line for two Red Sox greats.
Alfredo Aceves – A. A life saver. A top priority for Red Sox brass should be finding the Aceves of the 2012 season in the free agent market. Who do you think that player might be?
Inside Look at Aceves. Scott Lauber spoke with Tiger pitcher Phil Coke about his former Yankee teammate Alfredo Aceves. Coke calls Aceves “epitome of a competitor.” With John Lackey returning, it will be interesting to see who moves out of the starting rotation: Aceves or Tim Wakefield. Right now, I’d say Aceves goes back to the bullpen because of his versatility.
Beckett on Pace for Historic May. Jeremy Lundblad sizes up Josh Beckett’s May – which includes an 0.60 ERA, the fifth lowest for the month in the last 50 years. Lundblad examines historical comparisons for May and monthly performance in general. Beckett should have one more shot to lower his May ERA – weather permitting.
Lars Anderson Trying to Break Through. Prospect Lars Anderson has two challenges. One, the immovable object of Adrian Gonzalez at first base. Second, high expectations created by a strong 2009 season. Anderson talks with Mike Scandura about his quest to reestablish himself as a top prospect. He needs to show more pop at bat to find a home – somewhere – in the majors.
The Book on Britton. Chris Mellen profiles Drake Britton, Boston’s top lefty pitching prospect. Britton is struggling this year – but that hasn’t diminished his standing. How a player rebounds from setbacks is all part of the development process. Keep an eye on whether Britton turns it around this season.
What are your top Boston Red Sox blog posts picks for the week?
As poorly as the Red Sox have played, the team is only 4 games out of first in the AL East with 131 games to play, writes Peter Abraham.
Boston has been hot lately, winning 12 of their last 19 games. That’s a great pace – but most likely unsustainable.
The Red Sox looked like they mailed the game in yesterday. I know they were tired – but so were the Angels. John Tomase thinks the Sox have too many stars and not enough dirt dogs.
They need to play like every game counts – and beat up on the weaklings of the AL. And at this point, the weakling list includes the Minnesota Twins.
Let’s hope the hungry Red Sox show up for the 4-game series.
Red Sox – Twins Pop Quiz
The Red Sox were the last team to hit 4 HR in one inning against the Twins. Boston did it on July 3, 2000. Name the 4 Red Sox players.
- CBS Sports writes the 2-game series sweep over the rival White Sox may give Minnesota some momentum coming into Fenway. The Twins had lost 6 straight before playing the ChiSox.
- The Twins will be trying to win their first game at Fenway Park since Sept. 30, 2007, notes Joe Christensen.
- Series opening starter Scott Baker is going for his 4th straight quality start. Boston faces Francisco Liriano – who threw a no-hitter last Tuesday – on Monday. Tim Britton previews the Red Sox – Twins pitching match-ups.
- Jason Kubel is Minnesota’s hottest hitter – hitting safely in 25 of 29 games this year. He has a .350 Avg. with 3 HR & 13 RBI. But overall Minnesota’s offense is anemic. They have scored 89 runs, on pace for just 497 for the season. The Twins lowest season total ever is 537.
- The Twins brass is taking a tougher stand with players after a poor start and Joe Powers writes, “Good. We need more drill sergeants and fewer therapists running the show.”
- Joe Mauer is starting to throw and run but remains on the DL with leg problems. There is no timetable for his return. Jim Thome joined Mauer on the DL a few days ago. Thome needs 9 HR to hit 600 for his career.
Red Sox Report
Tim Wakefield slides back into the Red Sox rotation, starting the series opener. Daisuke Matsuzaka’s relief appearance on Wednesday has pushed his next start from Friday to Sunday.
Gordon Edes writes John Lackey accepts blame for his start yesterday. The bullpen needed a break and Lackey let them – and the rest of the team – down. Brian MacPherson thinks Lackey is losing confidence in his fastball.
Carl Everett, Troy O’Leary, Jason Varitek and Morgan Burkhardt.
Jered Weaver starts the series opener. Weaver has been the AL’s most dominating pitcher this season – 6-0 with a 0.99 ERA in 6 starts. Scott Miller writes Weaver’s start is no fluke – he’s building off a strong year in 2010. Here are the Angels probable pitchers for the series. Terry Francona is juggling his rotation for the Angels series.
Vernon Wells has been a disaster at the plate – going 19 for 112 (.170 Avg.) so far. Bob Nightengale quotes Wells saying, “It hasn’t been the smoothest transition” moving over from Toronto. The Blue Jays must be thankful every day they found a taker – at full contract – on Wells.
The Angels farm system has been delivering with Jordan Walden, Hank Conger, Mark Trumbo and Chris Bourjos all playing key roles for Los Angeles. The Angels are the 7th youngest team in MLB with 7 players 25 years old or younger.
Red Sox – Angels Pop Quiz
An Angels player set the team record for the most RBI in one game (9) in 2004 against Boston. Who is the player?
Red Sox Review
- Gordon Edes makes the case that Carl Crawford’s big hit Sunday could signal a breakout and is ready to move Crawford up to the #2 slot in the lineup. Says Crawford, “You never know what gets you started but this was definitely a good start and hopefully I can improve on it.” Sean McAdam chimes in that Crawford’s hit signals a fresh start.
- Shout out to Tim Wakefield for a great outing Sunday.
- Bobby Jenks says mechanics is the cause of his recent rough patch. And Wakefield did some video work with Jenks to address the flaw. Francona tells Edes, “We are not going to run from him.”
- Pedro Martinez is on his way to retirement – time for the Red Sox to bring him as a roving instructor or whatever it takes to keep Pedro connected to the franchise.
Pop Quiz Answer
Vladimir Guerrero had 9 RBI on June 2, 2004.
$100 Million Players. Brian MacPherson had a couple of interesting posts on who might be among the Red Sox targets next time they wave $100+ million at a free agent and what Jason Heyward’s career salary take may be. The big money will be there for big-time free agents in the future. It will be interesting to see how last winter’s signings – and coming player performance – shape future decisions.
Is Salty Here to Stay? I believe you need a bigger sample than one week to make judgments – but Jarrod Saltalamacchia is one player that already has the spotlight on him. Red Sox Beacon takes a look at Salty and writes the success bar is not that high for him. I agree – catch and call a good game, and hit closer to .250 than the Mendoza line, and Saltalamacchia is a success. Also – stay healthy; something that’s been tough for Salty in the past.
Down on the Farm. Mike Andrews breaks down each of the Red Sox farm teams – and what we can expect (and should look for). Keep an eye on:
- Jose Iglesias, SS, Pawtucket – Has played less than a full season professionally but could be in Fenway by season’s end.
- Oscar Tejeda, 2B, Portland – Can he parlay big spring training into breakout season?
- Chris Balcom-Miller, P, Salem – Sox got him in a deal with the Rockies, could be a sleeper.
- Anthony Ranaudo, P, Greenville – Top pitching prospect making professional debut.
- Sean Coyle, 2B, Greenville – Was playing high school ball last year, now in Low A after 10 professional ABs. Sox must see something special in him.
Charlie Hough & Wake. Former big leaguer Charlie Hough talked about his conversation with then-minor leaguer Tim Wakefield on throwing the knuckleball. Knuckleballers are a tight fraternity. It still remains to be seen what role Wake will carve out this year. If he can’t evolve beyond a mop-up guy – it will put pressure on the rest of the bullpen.
What are your top Boston Red Sox blog posts picks for the week?
What’s Next for Wake? John Tomase looks into what’s Tim Wakefield’s role on the Boston Red Sox. Wake is valuable as a sixth starter but not so much as a reliever. It will be interesting to see what the team decides to do him. Today’s guess: Wakefield in bullpen at season start.
Speaking of Sixth Starters. Over the Monster examines Plan B – what happens if one of the Red Sox starting five pitchers goes down? The Sox have a long list of candidates – and if history is any guide, expect 2 or 3 of them will be called upon this season.
Farm Talk. Minor league guru John Sickels has a two part interview with Red Sox player development boss Mike Hazen. Part one here and part two here. The interview is not wildly revealing (Hazen does his best to sound like Bill Belichick in giving answers that don’t say much) but there are a few nuggets.
Minor League All-Stars. Sox Prospects goes around the diamond naming their pre-season All-Stars among Red Sox farmhands. Boston dropped in farm system rankings after the Adrian Gonzalez trade – but it looks like there is still plenty of talent there. Look for Boston to move up.
What are your top Boston Red Sox blog posts picks for the week?
GM Theo Epstein quickly threw water on the trade rumor smoke coming from yesterday’s ESPNBoston post saying the Boston Red Sox were open for business.
Gordon Edes listed Daisuke Matsuzaka, Tim Wakefield, Mike Cameron, Darnell McDonald and Marco Scutaro on the trade market.
Today, Nick Cafardo focuses on how the Red Sox and Phillies look to have a potentially good trade match.
I get Cafardo’s premise from a Phillies perspective.
Scutaro or Jed Lowrie can make a good Chase Utley short-term (season-long?) replacement.
Cameron or McDonald adds some protection in case Ben Francisco doesn’t turn out to be an everyday player.
What I don’t get is Red Sox potential interest in Joe Blanton.
Would he really be an upgrade over Matsuzaka, Wakefield, Alfredo Aceves and Felix Doubront? Don’t think so.
Why trade depth – depth the Red Sox needed last year because of injury – for a mediocre starter?
Back to Edes Rumors
Edes is too good a reporter to be totally off-base on his trade rumors.
Let’s look the players listed:
Matsuzaka – It looks like it is time for Dice-K to move on.
Boston would need a trade partner with some payroll to spare (unless Sox take payroll back). Also, need a team acceptable to Dice-K since he has a no-trade clause in his contract.
Here are six possibilities:
- Athletics. Could use a fifth starter (Rich Harden is not the answer). One would think they would balk at the salary but Oakland did make a play for Adrian Beltre.
- Cardinals. They need to decide if Kyle McClellan is more valuable as a starter or reliever. If they pick reliever, the Cards may be looking for a starter.
- Cubs. Can’t see Sox interested in a deal involving Carlos Silva, who Chicago would be looking to move in any trade.
- Mariners. Their starting staff is well below average behind Felix Hernandez. Payroll history shows they should be able to take Matsuzaka’s salary.
- Mets. Looks look New York may be ruling out Johan Santana this year.
- Nationals. Spent the winter looking to attract a free agent starter. Supposedly were in on Zack Greinke and Matt Garza during off-season.
Wakefield – This would be an emotional move to make given Wake’s standing with the team. Can’t see Boston getting much for him. And remember, he is a 10-5 player who needs to approve any deal.
If the Red Sox really don’t think Wakefield can help them this season, the right move would be let him make a deal on his own – going to a team of his choice.
I would keep him. It’s a long season. You need six to eight starters to get through it. A knuckleballer can get hot.
Good team for Wakefield – Marlins. His veteran leadership would be a great add.
Mike Cameron and Darnell McDonald
Cameron/McDonald – The spring performance of Juan Carlos Linares makes it look like one of these guys could be expendable.
The question is: why do it? Can’t see Cameron or McDonald bringing anything in the way of a difference-maker in a trade.
So you would be trading quality depth for little upside.
But if there is a trade partner willing to overspend (say, a quality prospect with MLB starting potential), do it – noting Cameron is the more attractive trade option to other teams.
Besides the Phillies, potential matchups:
- Braves. Nate McLouth? Not the answer for Atlanta.
- Dodgers. Currently have Marcus Thames penciled in for leftfield.
- Nationals. Would be an upgrade over Nyjer Morgan.
Scutaro – Can see Lowrie as an everyday shortstop starter (but that’s risky given his injury history).
And prospect Jose Iglesias looks like a keeper – who may be ready this year.
But why trade depth unless someone is willing to overpay?
If the Sox move Scutaro, start Lowrie and play Iglesias everyday in Pawtucket – who is the backup utilityman?
And remember, Lowrie plays all four infield positions – which gives Boston the option of carrying an extra pitcher if they want to. If he is an everyday starter, you probably don’t want to be bouncing him around the infield.
So you trade Scutaro and need to acquire a bench player (Yamaico Navarro could do it – but should be playing everyday in AAA). That doesn’t add up to a plus.
Possible matchups for Scutaro (in addition to Phillies):
- Diamondbacks. Better option at 3B than Melvin Mora.
- Mets. If this team was going anywhere, it would be time to end the Luis Castillo era.
- Twins. Would be an excellent upgrade over Alexi Casilla for a contender.
Yes, the Red Sox have team depth.
Let’s hope Theo remembers a Bronson Arroyo trade lesson – just because you have surplus talent doesn’t mean you should give it away.