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Josh Beckett wants Varitek back — but in what role?

Oct 13, 2009, 9:25 AM EDT

And with a $3 million player option that he will almost certainly exercise, Varitek will be back.  But in what role?

Josh Beckett made it clear on Monday that he would like to see Jason Varitek back in a Red Sox uniform in 2010.

“He’s definitely one of those guys I’d love to see back, even if the transition starts like it started at the end of the year,” Beckett said. “I think there’s a lot of things that a lot of people can learn from him. And him being around, it’s never a bad thing. He’s so great with young guys and he knows to run a clubhouse and that’s why he wears that ‘C’ on his chest.”

That “transition” Beckett is talking about, however, involved Varitek not catching too terribly much down the stretch, and not catching terribly well when he did catch.  We won’t even talk about the hitting, for which no amount of leadership or respect from teammates and fans can cover.

With Victor Martinez around at a relatively cheap $7 million and Varitek costing $3 million, I suppose the Red Sox could say that the catching position is sorted out between the two of them at a relatively reasonable price and move on with the offseason.  But that ignores the fact that Martinez will likely see a lot of time at first base and DH, and that Varitek simply can’t catch anymore.

The Red Sox, more than anyone, are a team that has a use for a solid defense-first backup catcher, and they simply won’t have room for one — or will have to sacrifice elsewhere to make room — due to the presence of Varitek.  Your mileage may vary when it comes to the value of a team being loyal to its players, but there’s no escaping the fact that such loyalty comes at a price. 

  1. aces high - Oct 13, 2009 at 10:35 AM

    Beckett needs to let this issue rest.
    I love what Varitek has done for the Sox over the years, but he has become a liability in almost every way: an near-automatic out in the line-up, too many passed balls, and no chance of throwing out base runners anymore.
    Make Varitek a coach…allow him to retire with some dignity but also to continue contributing to the Sox organization in a productive way.

  2. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Oct 13, 2009 at 11:14 AM

    Make Varitek a coach, or pull a reverse Mirabelli and have Varitek only start once a week for one pitcher (considering Wakefield might be on the mend for awhile with his back problem) which also gives Vmart a chance to rest?

  3. Fecteau - Oct 13, 2009 at 11:57 AM

    As much as I hate to say it, I agree with Aces High. Why not try to get Joe Mauer, as I’m sure he’d love to stick it to the Yankees after this post season… Put V Mart at Designated Hitter and First Base, Youk at first and third, and Papi gets the ax.
    I’m sorry, but a designated hitter needs to hit at least .280 batting average. I know his hitting got a lot better in the second half and I don’t want to see Tek or Papi leave, but this is a business with too many die hard fans… Or maybe we DO want to lose all those crowd followers that started watching in 04-05…
    BoSox Brass should also try to get Hanley Ramirez back from the Marlins. They tend to dump salary and he would be a great addition BACK to the Sox. He could shore up the remainder of the offense…
    And, as a Bay fan, I say lets give him one more year to bring that batting average up and the K’s down… He did lead the BoSox in Home Runs and RBI’s and when he was hot, the Sox were hot… Something to consider…

  4. bob lamb - Oct 13, 2009 at 12:38 PM

    whatever the problem is in boston is beyond me…but to let the angels sweep them in 3…..wonder what the odds were in las vegas for that…..unbelieveable….I am sure everyone is boston is saying the same thing…..well lets hope these two american league teams have any energy left after there series….the two of them remind me of a heavy weight fight……..and my dodgers will be waiting…well lets hope so….those phillies are good…….

  5. aces high - Oct 13, 2009 at 3:14 PM

    As a die-hard Sox fan who watched them all year, the sweep did not surprise me in the least.
    The Sox were not as good as their 95 wins indicated. They were horribly subpar on the road, ineffective against good pitching, and beat up on poor teams like the Jays and Orioles to run up their offensive stats.
    I love Terry Francona, but he needs to be a more pro-active, a$$-kicking type of manager and stop considering his aging talents’ egos so much. Yes, his good rapport with the veterans IS a plus, but I think this year exposed the flaws in being too close to the players.
    I have tremendous respect for the Angels and feel no shame in losing to them…I just hope to hell that they knock out the Yankees…no easy feat, but they’ve got the tools to do it.

  6. Jack Marshall - Oct 13, 2009 at 4:36 PM

    I think there is a good chance that Tek will retire. He can take his 3 mil and get released, perhaps: I think he might have sufficient integrity not to go out that way. But he simply can’t play any more. I doubt that he wants to be embarrassed, and his loss of the ability to even block pitches was the canary dying in the mine. It’s time to go.

  7. Kevin S. - Oct 13, 2009 at 5:16 PM

    Indeed, all Varitek is guaranteed is his $3 million. He most certainly is not guaranteed a roster spot, and Boston would be crazy to give him one. I do think Boston will let him retire with dignity after he picks up his option. A $3 million severance package is, as Rob Neyer so often says, a rounding error for John Henry. They won’t embarrass him over it, but they will make sure he knows he won’t be playing for them next year.

  8. Kevin S. - Oct 13, 2009 at 5:16 PM

    Indeed, all Varitek is guaranteed is his $3 million. He most certainly is not guaranteed a roster spot, and Boston would be crazy to give him one. I do think Boston will let him retire with dignity after he picks up his option. A $3 million severance package is, as Rob Neyer so often says, a rounding error for John Henry. They won’t embarrass him over it, but they will make sure he knows he won’t be playing for them next year.

  9. Just Pointing out the Obvious - Oct 14, 2009 at 1:25 AM

    you’re….so…right….whatever…your…point…was…say…goodbye…to…spot…

  10. Nelson - Oct 14, 2009 at 8:45 AM

    I think they should bring Varitek back to shove his mitt into Arod’s face.

  11. GBS - Oct 15, 2009 at 8:02 AM

    Fecteau – you expect the Twins to give the Red Sox Mauer, and ditto with the Marlins and H. Ramirez? Why?
    Great example of why so many people see the Red Sox these days as Yankees Lite. “Hey, just give us all your good ballplayers. We deserve them, after all.”
    I’m surprised you failed to mention prying Pujols away from the Cardinals, too.

  12. Yuk Galuppo - Jan 23, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    Nice message i admit. i am a old reader to your site LOL i may soon exchange my starting page with your blog.

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