At The Ballyard ... with Steve Weissman

Monday, March 06, 2006

Boomer’s Back, and It’s Like He Never Left

David Wells yesterday surprised and delighted Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein by announcing he had changed his mind about wanting to be traded closer to his West Coast home. “Plan on me going north,” he is reported to have said. “I want to stay. I think it will be fine.”

While hardly a ringing endorsement, Wells’ statement and followup comments suggest the veteran lefthander has come to realize several important truths:

• The Sox and the Padres (the team in his home town) really don’t match up well as trading partners, which, of course, is what both clubs have been saying all along.

• The Sox are greatly improved over last year – potentially, anyway – and are in a terrific position to go far into the post-season.

• The passion of Red Sox Nation is a good thing, even if it does impinge on his wholly reasonable desire to be able to enjoy Boston life without being bothered everywhere he goes.

• He has indicated that he probably is going to retire at the end of this season, and that his wife supports the decision to finish up here in the East.

As a matter of practical fact, Wells’ change of heart really changes nothing about his situation: he was, and remains, under contract to the Red Sox until the end of this season, and the Sox were, and are, under no obligation either to trade or to keep him. But it is a major positive to hear him say that he’s more comfortable with the idea of staying, and as fans, we should be thrilled indeed by his change of heart. For like him or not, he brings a stability, a depth of experience, and a left-handedness that only strengthen the Sox rotation.

Wells himself may have said it best. “If you're going to go out on top, you might as well do it with a team that you feel good with,” he said. “And this is it.”

Say a prayer for former Twins star and Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett, who suffered a stroke this weekend at the young age of 45.


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