Report: Decision time near for Wakefield

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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.

Lowe: Wouldn't be shocked if C's move Bradley

Lowe: Wouldn't be shocked if C's move Bradley

Zach Lowe’s most recent podcast is worth a listen, as it features plenty of talk about what the Celtics may or may not due ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline. 

Lowe brought up the possibility of the Celtics top-1 or top-2-protecting Brooklyn’s first-round pick and including it in a deal for Butler. He surmises that the inclusion of the Brooklyn pick -- protected or not -- might not come until the final minutes. 

“Look, if Butler gets traded or if Paul George gets traded, that’s when it’s going to happen,” Marc Stein responded. “It’s going to happen in the last five to 10 minutes, so Boston has to make a decision, and let's see if they’re doing the math that they’ve had these assets for a while and it is time to do something bold and the time is now. Really, I think Boston will do it. The question is what will Chicago or Indiana do? And those are two hard reads.” 

Stein spoke to the Celtics’ lack of activity at certain points, but he said that if the C’s do fail to come away with a star player Thursday, it won’t be for lack of aggressiveness. 

MORE TRADE TALK

“I think the Celtics are taking criticism for waiting, and they’ve had all these assets they haven’t moved yet, but I think the record shows that Danny Ainge in general, in total, is very aggressive, not afraid to roll the dice, not afraid to make the aggressive move,” Stein said. “So I have less doubt about Boston saying, ‘Let’s just do it.’ I have far more questions about what Chicago and/or Indiana would do.” 

Lowe said that he imagines the Bulls would “think about” trading the C's Butler if Boston threw in the Nets’ pick unprotected, but added that Chicago would demand to also take two players out of Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown. 

“I think that will be the offer and they’ll get there and Chicago will either have a moment where they say, ‘We walk away or we’ll do it.’ And Boston’s not going to throw in the other Nets pick,” Lowe said. “That’s just not going to happen.”

Rating the aforementioned foursome in terms of trade value, Lowe said that Crowder is the best piece because of his “ridiculously good” contract, followed by Brown, Smart and Bradley. 

Lowe added that he considers Bradley one of the “sneaky interesting pieces at this trade deadline” because his contract is up after next season, which is the same time that Isaiah Thomas’ contract expires. Lowe says that given the uncertainty of his future in Boston, he wouldn’t be overly surprised if Bradley is moved at the deadline. 

Report: Ainge wouldn't trade Nets pick for Butler, but would for George

Report: Ainge wouldn't trade Nets pick for Butler, but would for George

Will the Celtics part with the right to Brooklyn’s 2017 first-round pick in order to get a star before Thursday’s trade deadline? 

MORE TRADE TALK

Citing a pair of NBA executives, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News wrote this week that Danny Ainge’s willingness to trade the pick should be in doubt.

Sola named Chicago’s Jimmy Butler and Paul George as potential targets, adding that the C’s might include the latter.   

Wrote Isola: 

Two executives doubt that Ainge, who historically plays it close to the vest, would give up the Nets pick in a deal for Butler. However, Ainge might consider it in a trade for George, the Pacers-free agent-to-be who has expressed doubts over re-signing with the Pacers.

‘With Danny, no one ever knows what he might do,' said the executive. ‘He's one of the best. If he thinks he can make a run at the Cavs this season, considering all the injuries Cleveland has had, I can see him making a move.

‘Everyone is talking about Butler to Boston but Danny and Larry Bird go way back. Paul George could be the sleeper.’

This season, the 26-year-old George is averaging 22.3 points 6.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists a game.