The first day of the GM Meetings is wrapping up as the execs are off having dinner. Here is what is going on with the Red Sox:
Globe colleague Tony Massarotti spoke to Tim Wakefield about his new two-year, $5 million deal. It sounds like this will be the final contract for the 43-year-old.
"Yes, Iím done after two more,íí Wakefield said. "Thatíll put me at 45."
Wakefield has 175 wins with the Red Sox, 18 away from breaking the franchise record held by Roger Clemens and Cy Young. The two-year deal gives him a chance to accomplish that.
"Thatís a huge factor for me,íí Wakefield said. "They actually came to me with a two-year. We were wondering they were going to pick up the option again and this kind of negates that. I think this is a fair deal. If Iím healthy, Iíll be able to make about as much as I did the other years. In essence, they gave me a two-year deal and thatís a huge plus for me."
As for his surgically repaired back, Wakefield sounded optimistic.
"My back is great,íí he said. "I still donít have the strength that I need right now, but I can do a calf raise and I can walk on my toes, not that I need to be a ballerina.
"Iíll be 150 percent ready (for spring training). I donít feel anything from the surgery at all. No more pain. No more limping. No more anything."
A few other notes of interest after our meeting with Theo Epstein:
ē There nothing new on Jason Bay. "Itís not one weíre going to talk much about. It seems like those deals, when you talk a lot about them and thereís a lot of stuff out there they donít get done. They get done under the radar, Epstein said. "This is one of those guys weíll be as quiet as we can. There havenít been any significant developments."
Epstein believes Bay will enter free agency, if only to try and better determine his value.
"Free agency is the great unknown for players. Sometimes it hard to sign when you never know what may be out there for you," Epstein said. "What team may be a perfect fit for you. ... We understand. There's a reason you need to get six years of service before you're eligible. It's an accomplishment to get there."
ē As you know, the Sox declined Jason Varitek's $5 million option for 2010. He now has five days to decide whether to exercise his $3 million option. I asked Theo Epstein whether he would be comfortable having Varitek as the backup.
"Um ... Yeah, I think so," he said. "There's a school of thought that says he'd be better with a bit more rest. If he does pick up the option, there would be an opportunity to rest more next year with Victor catching more. We're in a waiting mode now to see what happens."
Varitek seems likely to stay with Boston for $3 million.
ē Epstein said Alex Gonzalez (who option was declined) remains on their radar for the right price. "Alex did a great job for us. We told him through his agent that we still have interest under the right circumstances," he said.
ē The same is basically true of RHP Takashi Saito.
ē They're waiting to see how Nick Green is physically before deciding whether to make him some sort of offer. He had back surgery today in Boston.
ē Billy Wagner, Epstein acknowledged, will be heading elsewhere to close.
ē The Sox will replace Brad Mills as bench coach with somebody on the staff (Tim Bogar perhaps) and promote somebody from the minor leagues to the major-league staff.
ē Paul Lessard was let go as head athletic trainer after four seasons. Assistant Mike Reinold was given the top job and Greg Barajas will move up from Pawtucket to become the assistant.