Tim Wakefield wouldn’t mind pitching beyond 2011

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Tim Wakefield is only under contract through this season. And he’s going to turn 45 in August. But he still wants to pitch:

“The door is always open. Until you actually see me sit down at that press conference and say that I’m going to retire, I wouldn’t count on anything right now. I just said it last year — that [2011] could be my last year, depending on my role or what might happen health-wise, but I’m not closing that door yet by no means.”

That’s just how knuckleballers roll.  Er, flutter.

Wakefield suffered through his worst year since 1993 last season, and wasn’t all that happy or comfortable handling swingman duties.  But you never know with guys like him. At this point in his career Charlie Hough had three seasons as a starter in his future, two of which ended up being around league average. Neikro had five seasons in his future, one of which was an All-Star year in which he went 16-8 with a 3.09 ERA for the Yankees.

Wakefield has had some physical problems recently, but if he’s healthy, there’s no reason why he couldn’t still be useful beyond 2011, even if it isn’t for the Red Sox.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

Minnesota Twis v Kansas City Royals
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.