Tim Wakefield has “strong desire” to return to the Red Sox

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Bobby Valentine wasn’t the only noteworthy guest for David Ortiz’s charity golf tournament in the Dominican Republic. Tim Wakefield was also in attendance for the event and told Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald that he has a “strong desire to pitch one more year for the Red Sox.”

Wakefield, who turned 45 in August, has been with Boston since 1995. He went 7-8 with a 5.12 ERA and 93/47 K/BB ratio over 154 2/3 innings this season. Though it took him nine tries, he finally got his 200th career win while the Red Sox were in the middle of their September collapse.

Wakefield has an ugly 5.22 ERA over the past two seasons, so it’s hard to imagine the Red Sox would give him a rotation spot, but they could bring him back as a long man out of the bullpen. While his agent Barry Meister said last month that it would be a “shame” if the veteran knuckleballer didn’t finish his career with Boston, Wakefield acknowledged yesterday that a move to the National League could be a possibility.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.