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Agent: It would be ‘a shame’ if Tim Wakefield didn’t return to Red Sox

11.16.11 at 5:40 pm ET
By

Tim Wakefield

MILWAUKEE – Barry Meister, the agent for Tim Wakefield, reiterated while at the general managers meetings at the Pfister Hotel Wednesday that his client was intent on pitching again in 2012. Meister did say, however, that Wakefield was open to pitching elsewhere if an opportunity with the Red Sox doesn’t present itself.

The following is a transcript of the five-minute interview session Meister held with members of the Boston media:

(On Wakefield’s desire to pitch in ’12) I feel strongly that he can pitch and pitch effectively, whether it’s in a starter’s role or that hybrid role. I just think that if he didn’t pitch for the Boston Red Sox it would be a shame. But if not we’ve got a lot of teams that have called and we’re going to entertain other offers

(How much communication have you had with the Red Sox) I’ve had a conversation where we’ve just kept the lines of communication open, and that’s what we’ll always do. I think at this point it’s so early. They don’t have a manager yet. They don’t have a direction, and at this point when you represent free agents you don’t have a direction with free agents. This is the first time I’ve been to a General managers meeting in 20 years. Normally it’s the winter meetings where things get going.

(On his desire to pitch for the Red Sox) He would love to play for the Red Sox. He had a very unique contract and that was specifically designed … it wasn’t Theo’s suggestion, it was Tim Wakefield’s suggestion. It was designed for him to be a Red Sox. He loves being a Red Sox, but he loves being a baseball player. If for some reason they don’t feel like he can he’s going to win 15 games somewhere else and once again they’ve underestimated him. He just loves Boston. Whether it’s the Wakefield Charity, or the Jimmy Fund, this is his community. He feels like he can help this club. He feels like he has unfinished business.

(On why he wanted to return after hinting at retirement) He wants to win. He wants to put another ring on his finger. He wants a parade. He’s from Boston now. He lives there. He feels pretty strongly about it.

(On the potential of switching leagues) We’ve talked a little bit about it. I’ve done some research, and knuckleball pitchers who have changed leagues from the American League to the National League, I think it’s 13 out of 15 in the last 40 years have lowered their earned run average by a run and a quarter or more. It’s a huge difference. As the league takes a year to adjust, he’ll have kind of a geometric success because he’ll be seeing a pitch they haven’t seen before. There are a couple of knuckleballers, but if you watch Wake it’s not like R.A. Dickey, it’s just a whole different thing. But I hope he does it in a Red Sox uniform.

(On if Wakefield had to leave the Red Sox ) I had the same discussion all those years with Randy Johnson. Randy Johnson was a Diamondback. He became the face of that franchise. It was a shame when he had to leave. It would be a shame if the Red Sox didn’t feel like Tim couldn’t help them again.

(Where the negotiations with the Red Sox are) I’ve opened up the lines of communicate with Ben, and I’ve gotten some phone calls about Tim and people who are intrigued about him switching leagues and having success in part because it’s something the hitters haven’t seen before. … The Red Sox are always really straight with me and you can see they’re doing more about, you have to get a manager and there’s some more building block things they have to do first. I always take them at their word. They’ve always been honest with me.

(Why Wakefield wants to continue to pitch) I think he realized he could still be effective and I think he realizes there is more to be done. My guess is that he wants to play one more year. My guess is that if he signed with the Red Sox today he would probably announce at the same time this is it and he would go out with a parade. I think that’s what he wants.

He said I don’t want to lose sight of the fact we have to win a World Series. That’s what it’s about now. That’s it. That’s what’s important to him. I think he may have said something about he wanted to win his 200th game for the fan, what he really meant was he wanted to be in a Boston uniform when he did it because he’s been in a Boston uniform for as far back as we can remember.

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