Wakefield has been pitching on one-year contracts with the Red Sox for the last seven seasons. He has been a fixture for this franchise since 1995.
He started his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1992, and helped the team make the National League Championship Series that year.
The knuckleballer finishes his career with 200 wins and a 4.71 ERA in 627 games pitched.
What It Means?
Wakefield's place in Red Sox history is secure. He was a part of the 2004 team that ended the "Curse of the Bambino" and another championship in 2007.
He has been a fan favorite basically from the time he arrived. He was one of the last true knuckleball pitchers in the game, though R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets will keep the trend alive.
The Red Sox will sorely miss Wakefield's versatility. He was willing and able to pitch out of the bullpen or jump into the starting rotation when the team needed another arm.
What Happens Next?
It would be hard to imagine the Red Sox not giving Wakefield some kind of send-off this season. He was never the best pitcher on the team, but his willingness to do whatever he had to endeared himself to the front office and fans. That is also why he was essentially given a lifetime contract with them.
New Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington will likely try to add another arm, either in the starting rotation or bullpen, to replace the innings that Wakefield gave them.
The team has added depth in the bullpen already, acquiring Mark Melancon and Andrew Bailey, so another starter seems more likely.
For now, though, the team will celebrate the career and accomplishments of Wakefield.
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