The Red Sox are faced with plenty of decisions heading into 2011.  One that they won’t have to make involves Mike Lowell.  The classy, 4 time All Star is set to retire this week.  He got a well deserved standing ovation Saturday, went 2-2, got another rousing thank you from the fans, and is now ready to ride off into the sunset.  Tim Wakefield, though, has announced that he will be back in 2011.  The ineffective knuckleballer, useless since the All Star break of 2009, wants to stick his face in the trough one more time.

     Lowell is the epitome of class.  The Sox traded him to Texas last offseason and the deal was cancelled due to his hand injury.  Lowell returned to Boston, knowing that management didn’t want him around, kept a smile on his face and acted like the consumate professional, that he is.  He dazzled us in Toledo with his three home run game against the Mud Hens and his courteous demeanor off the field.  For his sake, I had wished he’d been traded, so he could help a team make a playoff push. (If the deal to Texas worked out, he’d be getting ready for the post season.)  Never once did you hear Mike Lowell grumble.  Tough to blame anyone for the trade.  It was just one of those things.  Lowell can settle into retirement at age 36, financially secure, knowing that he handled his business the right way.  I can envision Lowell as a manager someday, or if he chooses, behind a microphone.  The MVP of the 2007 World Series wasn’t in Boston all that long, comparitively speaking, but his impact is undeniable.

     Wakefield, on the other hand, ought to know it is time to hang it up.  The Sox are usually pretty good, knowing when it is time to “turn the page” on a guy.  As you may know, I am not a fan of the knuckle ball.  That being said, I have great admiration for a guy like Wake and his career.  He has managed to remain in the Bigs for a long time.  He has defied the odds.  I was surprised the Sox gave him a two year deal last offseason, after going year to year for years.  I know he covets the Red Sox victory record, currently shared by Roger Clemens and Cy Young, but come on, he can’t be mentioned in the same breath as those guys.  Just no where near as good.  Plain and simple.  He has complained about the role he played this year for Boston.  Was he going to replace the All Stars in the rotation.  No way.  Even the other three donkeys, Beckett, Lackey and Matsuzaka are a better option.  Pay him off, and send him off.  If it’s the “farewell tour” he’s looking for, have a day for him at Fenway.  Have an entire month for him, but for Heavens’ sake, never let him take the mound again.  You are just giving games away.  You cannot afford to do that in the American League East.

     After being taken out of the game against New York on Saturday, Lowell was quoted. “I think I’ve gotten a response that’s been much more than really I’ve deserved.”  Typical Mike Lowell.  Wakefield, on the other hand, says he wants to come back, needs to know ahead of time exactly what his role wil be and sounds like a man who feels he is owed something more than he already has.

     One guy sounds like the guest who goes to the party, has a great time, contributes to the conversation, makes sure that everyone has fun and then acts as the designated driver.  The other is the guest who has one drink too many, and then wants one more.   


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