Sox prepare to cut ties with Wake, Tek

December, 6, 2011
DALLAS -- Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek, two decorated relics who began with the Red Sox in the Dan Duquette era, appear to be nearing the end of the line in Boston.

Wakefield has been with the Red Sox since 1995, after Duquette rescued him when he’d been released by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Varitek has been here since 1997, coming over in one of the best trades ever made by a Sox GM, arriving with Derek Lowe from Seattle in a deal for failed closer Heathcliff Slocumb.

Both are free agents who will be in their 40s when next season begins, Wakefield 45, Varitek 40 on April 11. And Tuesday afternoon, general manager Ben Cherington left the strong impression that neither figure in the team’s plans for 2012.

Cherington had said that he owed it to both players to talk to them and outline what role, if any, the Sox might have for them going forward.

Those conversations, he said, have taken place.

“I have spoken to both,’’ Cherington said. “And we’re not ready to commit to anything. I have spoken to both, and plan to talk to them both again. I certainly will do so before we make any final decision.

“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 for the team, but we haven’t gotten to that point yet.

“I’ll talk to them again when we get closer to that.’’

So while Cherington did not absolutely declare that he is cutting ties with Wakefield and Varitek, there was little in his words to suggest that he
sees them having a place on the 2012 roster.

The Red Sox believe catcher Ryan Lavarnway is major-league ready, and he will be given every chance to win a spot sharing time with Jarrod Saltalamacchia behind the plate. The Red Sox have committed to making a starter out of Alfredo Aceves, may do the same with Daniel Bard, and are looking at other options besides Wakefield to provide depth in the rotation.

Gordon Edes

ESPN Staff Writer



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