So it looks like a couple of long, long-time teammates will be teammates at least a little longer still.
The Red Sox
didn't just pick up Tim Wakefield's option for 2010, (which would have been for $4 million), they turned it into a two year deal
, giving him a first year at $3.5 and a second at $1.5 mil, plus incentives. We needn't bid adieu to Boston
's elder statesman for a while yet.
This is a nice setup all around: a great deal for the Sox, particularly when we remember that before heading to the DL, Wake's 2009 season was the strongest he'd had in years. (Anyone else remember the near no-hitter that put the brakes on a nasty, early season losing streak?)
2009 marked Wake's first time selected as an All-Star, an honor he'd more than earned, many times over. And, for Wake, this means a little extra stability on the road ahead, with at least two more years guaranteed with the team he's been a part of since 1995.
And the other longest-standing veteran on the roster?
This one isn't quite official, as of this writing, but NESN reports that yes, Jason Varitek will be back as well.
There was no surprise at all when the team turned down their $5 million dollar option on the Captain: the move was a no-brainer, largely because the Captain has an option of his own for $3 million, and accepting that one is pretty much a no-brainer too.
Yet there was always a chance Tek would prefer more playing time elsewhere over a reduced role with Boston. But word is, yes, Tek is using his option and sticking around. The deal is expected to be made official some time tomorrow.
Again, this a win for both sides. Boston gets a much needed backup for Victor Martinez (definitively not an everyday catcher), and it comes in the form of a player who goes far, far beyond what 'backup' usually implies.
They get to hang on to the mind that knows their pitching staff as well as anyone alive, and last year kept up a leadership role even when wear and tear had pushed him to the bench.
And Varitek? He gets to keep on playing baseball, with his team. (At a good salary too, but I suspect that's almost secondary. With Tek, the key point was always playing baseball.)
That's two icons, right there, who will still be a part of the picture in the coming year. Two guys who have been a part of the team longer than anyone else on Boston's roster, who have played together longer than almost any other pair of teammates in the sport. Who still have a lot to offer.
And two guys who, as far as this writer is concerned, should absolutely see their numbers someday posted high over Fenway Park's right field.
Now on with the rest of the Hot Stove!