Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield finally got his 200th win on his ninth try on Sept. 13. Now he’s hoping to add a few more to the total. According to agent Barry Meister, Wakefield wants to come back and pitch another season in 2012.
Meister said it would be a “shame” if Wakefield didn’t finish his career with the Red Sox, but that he’s currently focusing on several National League clubs in talks.
Wakefield has spent 17 of his 19 seasons with the Red Sox, and he’s third on the team’s all-time wins list with 186, leaving him just six behind both Roger Clemens and Cy Young. However, while the Red Sox might be open to re-signing him as a utility pitcher, it’s doubtful that they would guarantee him a rotation spot after he finished the last two seasons with ERAs of 5.34 and 5.12. There are surely better opportunities available for him in the other league.
Wakefield, who has about eight months on Omar Vizquel, was the oldest player in either league at age 44 last season. He would take a backseat in 2012, though, if soon-to-be 49-year-old Jamie Moyer can pull off a comeback.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Cubs won’t deal Kyle Schwarber this winter, despite multiple inquires from teams around the league. Schwarber is approaching his first year of arbitration and will remain under team control for another three seasons before reaching free agency in 2022.
The decision comes on the heels of one of the strongest seasons of the 25-year-old outfielder’s short career. Over 137 games and 510 PA for the Cubs, he proved a passable defender in left field and batted .238/.356/.467 with 26 home runs, an .823 OPS, and 3.2 fWAR in 2018. He also led the National League in intentional walks, with 20, and bumped up his total walks from 59 in 2017 to 78.
Despite his marked improvements from previous years, Schwarber’s performance still left something to be desired — specifically against left-handed pitchers, who held the slugger to a paltry .224/.352/.303 with four extra-base hits across 91 PA. Still, it’s evident the Cubs feel Schwarber is capable of strengthening his splits in the years to come, and they might stand to get more value from him on the field than they would in a trade this offseason.
Of course, that’s not to say the Cubs intend to pass the Winter Meetings in total silence, especially as they’ll be seeking bullpen and catching depth in advance of their 2019 run at the division title. As club president Theo Epstein remarked last week, “We’re certainly open and active in trade talks with a lot of deals that usually don’t come to fruition. So, we may make some trades. We could make big ones that transform the roster. We may make smaller complementary ones. But there’s certain things we’d like to accomplish.”