Tim Wakefield

Tim Wakefield is never going to win his 200th game

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On the one hand I think round numbers for the sake of round numbers are kind of silly. On the other hand, I like knuckleballers and I really like Tim Wakefield, so it makes me kind of sad to see him get start after start in the pursuit of 200 wins only to fall short each time. Seven straight times, in fact.

Last night’s no decision was particularly hard to take as he had the lead — a three-run lead — when he was yanked after five innings.  Daniel Bard loaded the bases on a HBP, a single and a walk and then, after a couple of strikeouts, walked in two runs in a row. Then Matt Albers came in and let Edwin Encarnacion clear the bases with a double. Bam! The three-run lead is a two-run deficit and, though the game itself was not yet decided, Wakefield’s chance at a win was.

Not that Wakefield cares about that. At least publicly. First he blamed himself for not pitching more than five innings. Then he said:

“If it happens, it happens,” Wakefield said. “If it doesn’t, it doesn’t change what I’ve done. I’d like it to happen. But more importantly, I think, is for us to get into the postseason. … That’s our ultimate goal.”

Team player. But if you root for guys like Wakefield more than you root for the Red Sox — and I’m in that group — it’s cold comfort. And that’s the case even though, yeah, he would have had 200 wins a long time ago if, he you know, pitched better.

Barring a couple of perfect games in the playoffs or something, the legacy of Tim Wakefield has already been written. If he finishes his career with 199 wins instead of 200 it will make absolutely zero practical difference in terms of how he should be analyzed and considered as a major league baseball player.

But I’m human and I’m not ashamed to say, gee, it sure would be nice to see him get that nice round number.

NOTE: As is evidenced in the URL, when I first posted this the headline read “Tim Lincecum,” not “Tim Wakefield.”  It’s worth noting that I took copious amounts of Ny Quill last night and may still be feeling the effects.  FWIW, however, there’s no guarantee that Lincecum will win 200 either.

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.

Report: Dexter Fowler will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after lining out during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
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Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.

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Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.

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Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.

Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.

Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.