Tim Wakefield has been a part of the Boston Red Sox for 16 years. To think of the 45-year-old knuckleballer in any other uniform is heart wrenching, not just to a Sox fan, but for anyone who is a true fan of the game. In an era of free agency and outrageous contracts, it’s rare to see a player remain with an organization throughout his initial contract, let alone a decade and a half. Loyalty to a franchise these days is about as rare as hitting for the cycle, so for Wakefield to remain wearing the Sox jersey for all those years truly speaks volumes to his character.
Despite his dedication to Sox nation, as it currently stands, Wakefield is not on the 2012 roster and is more than likely not going to be optioned by the Sox.
Wait, what? This is a joke right?
When assessing player value, I understand Wakefield is a very old dog who gives up a lot of runs, is unreliable and has only one effective pitch. I also understand that, perhaps, the fact that he is the franchise leader in hits allowed (2931), bases on balls (1095), home runs allowed (401), wild pitches (125), losses (168), hit batters (176) and earned runs (1480) is a possible deterrent to GM Ben Cherington. This is understandable from a front-office standpoint, but what happened to the franchises dedication to the player? Where is the loyalty to a player who has been nothing but a class act? To turn your back on a player who has clearly stated he wants nothing more than to come back to the ball park and fan base he loves with a shot to go down in the record books as the team’s all-time leader in wins, a feat that Wakefield is only seven wins from, is an outrage!
We all know Wakefield won’t be in the starting rotation, and that’s okay. Despite all Tim has done for our team and what he stands to achieve by being signed, the front office can’t find room for him on the roster as a middle reliever/emergency starter? As a die-hard Sox and baseball fan, this is a disgusting notion to me and a total slap in the face to a great man who helped us win not one but two championships. If Mr. Cherington wants to start his new job off on the right foot with Red Sox Nation, I suggest, when it comes to Wakefield, he should opt to knuckle ball and not knuckle up!