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Wakefield talks about new deal

11.09.09 at 4:35 pm ET
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CHICAGO — Speaking from his Florida home, Tim Wakefield explained that while there was some initial concern regarding the Red Sox not picking up his option and proposing a two-year deal, he understands the value in it from both sides.

“I was surprised and a little disappointed at first because they told me they wanted to cut my guarantee, but in the long run they’re at least guaranteeing me another year,” he said. “That’s a huge positive because they know I want to break the records and retire as a Red Sox, so I’m very grateful for that.”

The two-year deal Wakefield has agreed upon will pay the 43-year-old a guaranteed $3.5 million in 2010 with the opportunity to have that jump up to $5 million if he makes 30 starts. The second year will guarantee him $1.5 million, a base that could increase to as much as $3.5 million depending on how many innings he throws in 2010, and that will also feature bonuses that could increase the value of the second year of the deal (regardless of the base) to approximately $5 million if the right-hander makes 30 starts.

Altering his previous arrangement — which presented the Red Sox with a $4 million team option following every season Wakefield played in — guarantees that the knuckleballer will be under contract for the next two seasons, setting the stage for him to go after both the record for most wins by a Red Sox pitcher (192) — which he is 17 shy of — and 200 overall wins. Wakefield currently stands at 189 wins for his career.

“I guess a little more relaxed,” said Wakefield of the construction of his new deal. “I didn’t mind going year to year because the reason why we set it up was to make it an easy decision to them, but also giving me an opportunity to get paid a fair amount. It wasn’t about going after more money. We wanted to do what was fair to the organization. Now, that deal was to avoid what has happened the last couple of days.

“I completely understand where the Red Sox are coming from based on the back surgery I had in the offseason and the fact I had some shoulder fatigue in ’08. But it all worked out. It worked out where I think they were happy to cut back on the guarantees, but I still have the opportunity to make almost as much as I did, if I stay healthy, than I did with the original options.”

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