Based on e-mails, comments on the blog and listening to sports talk radio, there is a sentiment out there that the Red Sox should take Tim Wakefield out of the rotation. Some would go as far as to release him.
With the rosters expanding on Thursday, releasing him makes little sense. Beyond that, it would be unnecessarily callous. The man has been with the team for 17 years, show some respect.
So, Peter, its about being soft instead of callous. Its about deciding roster spots based upon years of service. Peter, are you in a Union?
The first potemkin basis you use to defend Wakefield in the rotation is to rest Lester, Beckett, Lackey and Bedard for playoffs. Not once to you mention Miller. Not once do you mention Weiland or other young pitchers who have showed potential and need experience. Weiland had one bad start during O's bean ball soap opera, and the last and only other start was quite good. You know its not about resting starters for playoffs, its about excuses to keep Wakefield in rotation and foregoing other options. Excuses for 200 wins, a reason which compromises the integrity of the competition.
The second potemkin basis you use is peformance of Wakefield. You use WAR (akin to BA except BA is accurate and WAR is nothing more than an estimated anecdotal based reference that no gm would value players on) and quality starts. Unfortunately, quality starts isnt a litmus test for a quality start. Scoring flaws on earned runs and game situations of early big leads blown by a pitcher are not reflected in quality starts. What you ignore is Wakefield's ERA over 5 for over 2 years! A little more important than quality starts when Wakefield is being hidden and given extra average down time between starts. And Wakefield is a human launching pad who gives up a homer or two in almost every start, and is totally ineffective nearly every start after a low number in pitch count (see Gammoms). All for the purpose of this 200 wins PR stunt. Had Wakefield started year in rotation and gone every 5 days on average his numbers would be even higher, and he would have his DL.
You then use roster expansion as an excuse to scoff at releasing Wakefield. How about all the innings taken away from Miller and other youth, and compromising first part of season with Wakefield roster squatting while Aceves starts in AAA?
As for not releasing Wakefield this late, because of roster expansion, there could be a marathon extra innings Yankee game and having another close game capable pen arm (wakefield is not) might decide a game or even two.
And, Peter, while 100 wins would be nice Red Sox PR feather (has not been dones since 40's) and worth more PR than a 45 year old mediocre performance long career pitcher winning 200 games, winning division means homefield advantage until WS! That's very important! You admit that you are willing to discount division to further the attempt at getting Wakefield 200 wins, which says more about those Red Sox teams than it does about Wakefield.
And that's the problem, Peter. Ever hear of integrity of competition? Winning division may not be worth overusing starters (Wakefield argument holds zero water on that due to expansion and youth spot start options), but you dont compromise it to booster seat lineup Wakefield for 200 wins!
Since its clear Wakefield is like taxes, not death, why not compromise and give Timmy a booster seat and trundle him out for the 5th inning in the first Red Sox early blowout? It would be fitting, Peter. Wakefield''s been a booster seat roster spot for over 2 years! Why not let him get that record in the way he has been squatting on the roster? Why compromise competition integrity and roster and division chance percentages with the shotgun of starts approach to allow the law of averages to give Timmy his style points moment to tip his cap like that embarrassing moment where he broke some longevity team record and had the audacity to tip his hat after giving up a grand slam!
Peter, roster spots are supposed to be earned on merit, not by the past, but by ability to do the job in the present. Big sample is what baseball job ability is based on, and Wakefield hasn't been able to do that for over 2 years! Roster spots should not be about respect and emotion. Respect is telling a player it is time to go gracefully and give the stage to younger players in need of opportunity.
I have the utmost baseball respect for John Henry and Larry Luchino and Tom Werner, but I am dissappointed in what I consider a PR decision that is being defended for invalid reasons. I have already read where Nick Cafardo says Wakefield will be given as long as needed to pass Cy Young, meaning another year of a booster seat roster spot for Wakefield. If it were true he had value in pen, that is one thing, but he does not. Wakefield should not be offered more than a minor league contract for 2012!
Remember, Peter, respect is a two way street. Wakefield carped about pitching in FL if his early season role wasnt changed. That is a disrespect to the Red Sox and the fans.
Wakefield needs to put the team ahead of his personal milestone and step aside and respect the game and retire. I would respect him if he did that. I will not respect him chasing law of averages milestones when he is 45 years old, has a 5 plus ERA for over 2 years, and is compromising best interest of team.