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Varitek makes it official; rejoins Red Sox

Nov 11, 2009, 5:22 PM EST

varitek2.jpgJason Varitek will be back with the Red Sox for a 14th season in 2010 after exercising his $3 million player option on Wednesday.
Varitek knew he wouldn’t do any better financially as a free agent, but he might have been able to find more playing time elsewhere. The Red Sox have already started that Victor Martinez will be used as a regular catcher next season.
Forgotten in all of Varitek’s late-season struggles was that Boston’s captain was one of the AL’s top offensive catchers for four months. He hit .236/.345/.453 before Martinez’s acquisition on July 31 resulted in a reduced role. From that point on, he was truly dreadful, coming in at .135/.233/.250 in August and .125/.185/.150 in 40 at-bats in September. The Red Sox never used him while being swept by the Angels in the ALDS.
The Red Sox figure to use Varitek primarily against lefties in 2010. While the plan is for Martinez to get most of his starts at catcher, it will still make sense to use him at DH or first base once per week or so. The switch-hitting Varitek has had an OPS over 800 against southpaws each of the last three years. DH David Ortiz, on the other hand, has declined from 852 in 2007 to 741 in 2008 and 716 in 2009.

  1. Old Gator - Nov 11, 2009 at 6:26 PM

    That’s fine, I couldn’t imagine the Beanbags without him. He’ll play in Boston until the fans realize that his career was actually over a year ago, and then he’ll have himself cryogenically frozen until his head cracks along the fontanelles and stored upside-down in a cylinder by the front entrance to the stadium.
    The real pity of it is that he won’t get to play very infrequently for the Borg, which means that A. J. Burnett will have tobe the one to keep hitting A-Rod with pies next year. What do you want to bet he tears his rotator cuff and sends the Borg brain trust scurrying to Toronto with sacks of gold again?

  2. JBerardi - Nov 11, 2009 at 8:05 PM

    “The Red Sox figure to use Varitek primarily against lefties in 2010. While the plan is for Martinez to get most of his starts at catcher, it will still make sense to use him at DH or first base once per week or so. The switch-hitting Varitek has had an OPS over 800 against southpaws each of the last three years. DH David Ortiz, on the other hand, has declined from 852 in 2007 to 741 in 2008 and 716 in 2009.”

    Great! The various rotting corpses on our roster compliment each other! I’m so glad the Red Sox saw fit to give him this $3 million option for no good reason whatsoever. The guy is less than useless, and if he was released today I doubt any team would give him more than a NRI come spring training. But the Red Sox will pay him good money to be a less effective backup than any number of cheaper options because, hey, you know, CAPTAIN! It’s way more important to have a team leader like him than to have a single guy on the 25 man roster who can actually prevent teams from stealing bases at will.

  3. A - Nov 11, 2009 at 10:44 PM

    The option was built into the contract. The Red Sox declined their 5 mil part, while Varitek picked up his 3 mil part. Fairly sure they didn’t know they would be getting Martinez for not very much in return.

  4. JBerardi - Nov 12, 2009 at 2:18 AM

    I understand the contract. I’m saying there was no good reason to give him that option last year. It was clear that no team thought he was even worth the draft picks required to sign him. The team/player option was an act of charity.

  5. The_Yankees - Nov 12, 2009 at 6:34 AM

    Oh, we’re sorry, we were busy polishing our World Series trophy. How many useless catchers do you think WE can carry and still win a World Series?

  6. Jason Varitek - Nov 12, 2009 at 10:15 AM

    Useless? Oh yeah? Send that pretty boy MVP candidate of yours over here so I can smack him in the face with a pie again (the first time was just a virtual pie). Unless you’d rather go on risking AJ’s rotator cuff like that. Stupid Borg fan.

  7. John - Nov 12, 2009 at 11:42 AM

    I feel bad for Jason for like those great heavyweight prize fighters of days gone by i.e. Ali, Holmes, Frazier, Foreman, etc… by coming back he’s doing nothing except to tarnish his legacy by hanging on too long. But then again seeing as to how I don’t like the Red Sox good for them. ;-)

  8. Old Gator - Nov 12, 2009 at 12:52 PM

    Aside from that virtual pie throwing incident with A-Rod, a history of loudmouthed vulgarity and gratuitous opponent-baiting and general rotten sportsmanship, what legacy of Varitek’s did you have in mind? Just think what H. L. Mencken would have written about him if he’d been Ring Lardner…or something like that.

  9. John - Nov 12, 2009 at 2:20 PM

    I was maily referring to his legacy as being on the roster of the two WS pennants Boston managed to win while he was there. However after reading your response I suppose you wrapped up “Tek’s” legacy quite nicely Old Gator. As far as Mencken and Lardner, can you imagine what each would have had to say on our current state of affairs in the political realm. Oh my indeed! ;-)

  10. John - Nov 12, 2009 at 2:23 PM

    That’s “mainly” not “maily.” Oh how I hate it when my keyboard deliberately attempts to sabotage my posts with misspelled words.

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