Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The next generation of knuckleballers

Yesterday in the game against Toronto, the Blue Jays started knuckleballer and 2012 Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey against the newest Red Sox knuckleballer, Steven Wright. After Tim Wakefield retired during last year's spring training, the Red Sox went out and acquired Wright from the Indians for prospect Lars Anderson in July.

Although the Sox are now in need of some depth at first base, the Wright trade seems to be a good one. After a successful seventeen year trip down knuckleball lane with Tim Wakefield, the Red Sox were ready to invest some time in the next generation.

Wright is just 28, and if he was a "conventional" pitcher, he'd be entering his prime. For knuckleballers, a player's prime is somewhat more difficult to pinpoint; Wakefield had one of his best seasons when he was 40, then became an All Star for the first and only time when he was 42.

Wake is headed to spring training to work with Wright, and help Wright with the pitch as previous generations of kuckleballers assisted Wakefield. Because Wakefield doesn't have an official role with the Red Sox like former teammates Jason Varitek and Pedro Martinez, he's free to help out when and how he sees fit, and he's going to start by passing on his considerable knuckleball wisdom.

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