Wakefield, Hoyer, and Squinting at Free Agents

Red Sox Photo Day

Wake Undergoes Surgery

Tim Wakefield underwent surgery Wednesday to repair a herniated disk and loose bone fragment in his back. Wakefield is expected to pitch next year and should be ready for Spring Training. The 43 year-old vet was visually hampered last year, turning in a 4.58 ERA and 4.58 FIP despite his woeful last three starts (14 IP, 14 ER, 8 K, 12 BB).

Squinting at Free Agents

While we have gone at length discussing the top free agents and mapping out blueprints for the Sox’ offseason, there are a number of intriguing names on the market that are flying under the radar. Not all of them are the safest bets, with varying levels of performance or injury history, but they do have some sex appeal. Here are a few names to mull over. Special thanks to Eddie Bajek of MLB Trade Rumors.

OF Rick Ankiel: Ankiel came off a sub-par season in 2009, as his power was down, his walks were down, and his K’s were up en route to a .231/.285/.387 line.

Brad Penny Released

The Red Sox released veteran starter Brad Penny late Wednesday night. While there may be some cheers in Red Sox Nation today, we can all collectively say good bye to that Boston rotation depth.

Another poor decision by the Red Sox front office. Let’s just hope that Buchholz and Tazawa can pick up the slack.

Analysis inside…

Yankees Coming to Town

Red Sox-Yankees

The Sox face off against their bitter rivals the New York Yankees in a pivotal three game series in Fenway. An important juncture for the AL East race, this series will determine whether the Sox can climb back in it or if the Yanks wrap it up early.

Game previews, matchups, and Sox news inside…

Smoltz’s Future

Now that John Smoltz has played his last game as a member of the Red Sox, it is time to ask the question, does he have anything left in the tank? A few teams think so, but his struggles point to a fading pitcher…

Tazawa Slated for Tuesday Start

Evan: Please welcome Mike Silver to the Fire Brand writing crew! Tim Daloisio is going to be stepping down from writing articles for Fire Brand. He will still be contributing one podcast a week plus the weekly poll — and will add in another podcast every week.

Junichi Tazawa heads to the rotation Tuesday against Detroit:
Boston’s management has decided it’s time for Junichi Tazawa to throw his hat into the ring as savior of the Red Sox starting rotation. Is he up to the challenge?

Rocco Baldelli, John Smoltz signings are master strokes

Smoltz – y-its-mom (Flickr)

As we all know by now, the Boston Red Sox are on the cusp of signing outfielder Rocco Baldelli and starting pitcher John Smoltz to contracts. These are master strokes by general manager Theo Epstein.

All that’s standing in the way of Penny, Smoltz and Baldelli is not ineffectiveness, it’s injury. And all indications (considering the Red Sox do their homework on this) is that these players do not have injuries holding them back anymore.

They’re ready and able to get Boston that World Series ring in a year where they have two heavyweights on their back in the Yankees and Rays. What the Yankees and Rays may not be counting on, however, is that the Sox, as presently constituted, could be better than them.