Thursday, May 10, 2007

knuckle sandwich

Today Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield had another great outing, pitching seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits and a walk while striking out five. The Red Sox went on to beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 8-0, improving their record to 23-10, best in the American League and seven games ahead of the hated New York Yankees.

This season Wakefield has a 4-3 record and a league-best 1.79 earned run average. So far this season he has been -- dare I say it? -- dominant, though he's still considered the #4 starter in the Red Sox rotation. Wakefield's performance today started me thinking. Assuming he remains healthy -- and the way Wakefield takes care of himself, there's no reason to think he won't -- he could pitch in the majors for another seven or eight years. He's 40 years old now, and being a knuckleballer, he could probably pitch until he's 47 or 48. Right now he's got 155 career wins. What if he averages 14 wins a season for the next eight seasons? That would give him 267 career wins. I'm sure no one has ever thought of Wakefield as one of the game's premier pitchers (he's never been an All-Star), but wouldn't a guy with 267 career victories have to get some Hall of Fame consideration? Since 1900, the only pitchers who've won that many games and aren't in the Hall of Fame are Tommy John, Bert Blyleven, and Jim Kaat.

Whatever you think of Wakefield or the knuckleball, he's been a great investment for the Red Sox. A few years back, he signed a $4 million, one-year contract with the Red Sox that is renewable every year. Basically, the team can re-sign him every year for $4 million a year, until they no longer feel like doing so. If I were Red Sox management, I'd just keep on doing it every year until the guy needs a walker to get to the mound, and pencil him in as the #4 or #5 starter. The dude is the best bargain in baseball.

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