Report: Decision time near for Wakefield


Report: Decision time near for Wakefield

Tim Wakefield, according to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, will decide this weekend a) whether or not he wants to continue playing, and if he does, b) where he'll play.

My take: The answer to a) is "Of course he does". And I believe b) should actually be worded this way: Do I go somewhere else if the Red Sox don't want me, or do I retire?

Clearly, the Red Sox don't want him; if they did, they'd have signed him by now. (There was talk early in the offseason that they were looking at Wakefield as a fallback option if they failed to acquire another starter, but they haven't brought in anybody -- except a bunch of low-percentage longshots -- and Wakefield's still unsigned.) That being the case . . . what now?

Wakefield's agent, Barry Meister, told Lauber that the 45-year-old knuckleballer "has some options", and we'll set aside our natural cynicism to believe that he's telling the truth. (Quick aside: Wouldn't you just love to hear some agent someday say, "Nobody wants my guy"?) I have to believe they're non-roster invitations to spring training. Wakefield obviously thinks he can still pitch -- all 2011 evidence to the contrary -- and if someone had offered him a contract, I believe he'd have signed it.

So does he accept the invitation? Or does he retire as a Red Sox?

It's a tough call. Like I said the other day, most ballplayers keep playing until no one wants them anymore. I won't think any less of Wakefield if he tries to hook on somewhere else.

But we're talking about a guy who's 45, who's only had two ERAs under 4.58 since 2003, and whose ERA has been in the 5.00s in each of the last two seasons. That painful march to career victory number 200 -- it took him eight tries, and the Red Sox finally had to score 18 runs for him to do it -- was as stark a piece of evidence as there could possibly be that if he's not at the finish line, he's about to trip over it. (Incidentally, he pitched 9 innings in two games after winning his 200th . . . and gave up 11 runs.) To me, there's a dignity issue at play.

Personally, I'd hang 'em up. If he does, the same Red Sox who are treating him as if he has a communicable disease these days would not only welcome him back into the family, they'd embrace him. The "Welcome Back and Welcome Always" signs would flash forever. But, of course, that'll happen -- eventually -- even if he goes to camp with St. Louis or Colorado or whoever.

In any case, it appears we'll get our answer soon enough.

HEISMAN: Lousiville's Lamar Jackson wins College Football's highest award


HEISMAN: Lousiville's Lamar Jackson wins College Football's highest award

NEW YORK -- Lamar Jackson leapt over a loaded field of Heisman Trophy contenders early in the season and by the time he slowed down nobody could catch him.

The sensational sophomore quarterback became the first Louisville player to win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night, beating out preseason favorite Deshaun Watson of Clemson despite some late-season struggles.

Baker Mayfield finished third and Oklahoma teammate and fellow finalist Dede Westbrook was fourth. Michigan's Jabrill Peppers was fifth.

For more clicke here . . .

Bruins lose third straight with 4-1 loss to Leafs


Bruins lose third straight with 4-1 loss to Leafs

BOSTON -- The Bruins’ season has gone in extreme swings both up and down thus far through the first couple of months, and that was the case as they lost their third game in a row to the Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

The Bruins couldn’t only scratch for one goal despite outshooting the Maple Leafs by a 32-20 margin, and fell by a disappointing 4-1 score to the young and talented Toronto club at TD Garden.

The Bruins never enjoyed a lead in the game against the Leafs, and were flirting with danger after failing to score in the first period despite out-shooting Toronto by an 11-2 margin in the game’s opening 20 minutes. Instead it was a David Pastrnak neutral zone turnover in the second period that was picked off by William Nylander, and ended with Auston Matthews firing a rocket over Tuukka Rask for his 12th goal of the season.

Toronto extended the lead with five minutes to go in the period when Zach Hyman tipped a wobbly Jake Gardiner point shot past Rask, and made it three games in a row that the Bruins have dug themselves a considerable hole. Brad Marchand got one goal back at the end of the second period on a nice hustle play as he sealed off Frederik Anderson’s clearing attempt and then stuffed the puck past the Leafs goalie on a second chance bid.

That’s the way the score remained until the third period when the Bruins couldn’t convert on a couple of offensive chances -- included a bang-bang shorthanded bid for Austin Czarnik in front of the net -- and then James van Riemsdyk scored in front as a Toronto power play expired. That was the backbreaker for a Black and Gold bunch that continues to scrap for goals, and has now scored two goals or less in 20 of their 20 games this season.

Connor Brown added an empty netter in the final two minutes of the game to truly put it out of reach for the Bruins.