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Red Sox prepared to cut ties to Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield

12.07.11 at 4:38 am ET

DALLAS — It was not a definitive verdict. Red Sox GM Ben Cherington did not say that a pair of franchise linchpins would not be back.

But he came close. The words did not represent a significant departure from previous statements this winter, but nonetheless, Cherington made it sound like it is increasingly likely that knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (after 17 years with the Sox) and catcher Jason Varitek (15 years into his Sox tenure) may have seen the end of their days in Boston.

“We’€™re not ready to commit to anything. I have spoken to both and plan to talk to them both again. Certainly we’€™ll do so before we make any final decision,” said Cherington. “I have a great deal of respect for both and feel like the best thing for the team and the best thing for them is, if there’€™s not a real role on the team, I’€™m not sure it’€™s fair, I’€™m not sure it’€™s the right thing for them or the team. We haven’€™t gotten to that point yet. I’€™ll talk to them when we get closer to that.’€

Varitek, who turns 40 in April, hit .221 with a .300 OBP, .423 slugging mark and 11 homers in 68 games in 2011. Wakefield, 45, went 7-8 with a 5.12 ERA last season, making 23 starts and pitching 154 2/3 innings, his most since 2008. Wakefield remains seven wins short of the Red Sox’ all-time career wins record.

Read More: Hot Stove 2011, Jason Varitek, Tim Wakefield,
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