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Jason Varitek for Red Sox manager

Aug 14, 2012, 5:55 PM EDT

Jason Varitek Getty Images

I tried this nine months ago with little support. Let’s see if it flies better now.

Terry Francona lost the Red Sox clubhouse. Bobby Valentine never had it in the first place. What the Red Sox seem to want is one of their own running the team, and who is more one of their own than The Captain, Jason Varitek?

Of course, the arrangement could have complications. For Varitek to go from teammate to boss might prove awkward. However, it’s not like Varitek would step into a situation with a bunch of tough calls to make. He’s not sending Josh Beckett or Jon Lester to the bullpen. The Red Sox already dealt Kevin Youkilis and committed to Will Middlebrooks at third base, and there are no other veterans with real job security concerns except for Mike Aviles at shortstop.

The Red Sox either need to make wholesale personnel changes or find a manager for whom the current team would enjoy playing. Whether it’s a good idea for the inmates to be running the asylum or not, it’d sure be a lot easier to land a player’s manager than it would be to undergo a massive rebuild that would result in the departure of several players from the group of Beckett, Lester, Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, David Ortiz and Jacoby Ellsbury.

I don’t know that Varitek is the answer, but he probably knows more about American League pitchers and hitters than anyone else the team could possibly bring in. That alone makes him a viable candidate. If he feels he’s ready — and that’s completely up in the air — and the Red Sox feel that he still has the respect of the clubhouse, then what better option is out there?

  1. xpensivewinos - Aug 14, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    So I’ll be amongst the first to address the obvious: Where was Captain Varitek’s leadership when the team was unraveling last September? Where was he, what did he do, what did he say, what are his thoughts on the issues?

    The clowns in that clubhouse would run amok if the Red Sox brought one of their running buddies back in to be the boss.

    The inmates are already running the asylum, they certainly don’t need this guy added to the mix.

    • sarcasticks - Aug 14, 2012 at 6:44 PM

      What the Red Sox players want and what they need are not the same. Simply giving the players want they want will make them happy, but not optimally productive. Finding someone to manage that can earn their respect while also demanding/inspiring them to be at their best is what is needed.

    • bigharold - Aug 14, 2012 at 9:32 PM

      “Where was Captain Varitek’s leadership when the team was unraveling last September?”

      Exactly!! When he was one of THEM he couldn’t effect these clowns. If the clubhouse is as dysfunctional as is being reported then Ol’Capt Sucker Punch isn’t going to help. What’s he going to do rabbit punch Girardi when they’re exchanging lineup cards to get them charged up?

      If all that is being reported is accurate, then the RS are in complete free fall. They’re a collection mismatched overpaid players that are completely underachieving. They imploded last year for a “player’s manager” so the FO’s answer was bring a new sheriff to town. There was only a couple of problems with that. First, it was clear that he wasn’t the GMs choice. The players HAD to notice. This was underscored by not letting Valentine bring his own staff. Also, being a veteran team, .. odds are they likely didn’t think they needed anybody to light a fire under them. Add to that the they should have gotten rid of Youkilus in the off season and perhaps Elsbury too to make the other players understand there was a new regime and things were going to be different. Of course Valentine being Valentine, .. he got off on the wrong foot by questioning Youkilus’s desire.

      This is owners mess pure and simple. The previous GM gave out contracts, that the owners approved, that are going to drag this team down for another 5 years. They gave the GM job to somebody but they didn’t give him the authority to hire his manager. Then they settled on Lucchino’s manager, .. but not his staff. Valentine is dead in the water, .. it’s just a question of when. As a Yankee fan I can only hope and pray that Capt Intangibles, .. good ol’Capt Sucker Punch to run the team. That’ll cement there 5th place finishes for the foreseeable future.

      • unclehilroy - Aug 15, 2012 at 12:18 PM

        You didn’t have to state that you are a Yankees fan. Your awful spelling and grammar gave that away.

  2. chinny814 - Aug 14, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    According to Mayor Menino, Jason Varitek is too busy kicking the football through the uprights.

  3. randygnyc - Aug 14, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    Girardi was the extreme exception to the rule, IMO. Coaching your own contemporaries is hard enough. Compound that with having no prior experience makes it impossible, IMO. Girardi at least had some managerial experience before coming back to coach players he played with.

    • Mude - Aug 14, 2012 at 7:03 PM

      Girardi is not a proper comparison. In addition to the managerial experience, he last played for the Yankees in ’99 and did not become the manager there until nine years later.

      While most of last year’s Red Sox team is obviously still around this year, from that ’99 Yankees team, only Jeter, Pettitte**, Rivera, Posada and Clemens** have been on Yankees teams managed by Girardi.

      That is totally different than Varitek becoming the Red Sox manager one year removed from The Collapse – in which he played a significant role (as the Too-Quiet Captain Who Manages A Pitching Staff Better Than Anyone And Calls A Helluva Game). Then again, ‘Tek was 3-6 (.333) in games he started last September, which is a better winning percentage than the 4-14 (.286) record in games he did not start.

      So by all means, yes. Make ‘Tek the manager.

      ** PED’s, just because.

      • bozosforall - Aug 14, 2012 at 11:13 PM

        Then again, he would be managing Roid-tiz**, PED-Roid-yeah***, and the rest of the Roid Sux gang.

        Also, “Too-Quiet Captain Who Manages A Pitching Staff Better Than Anyone And Calls a Helluva Game” is just the type of OVERBLOWN mischaracterization that lamebrained Roid Sux fans would try to claim for someone like Varipunk, who isn’t even qualified for the HOVG.

        **PEDs, despite his lame denials in the face of being outed as having testing positive in 2003, along with former Roid Sox player Manny Rami-Roid.

        ***Should be tested, as it is obvious that he gets artificial help in the power department.

  4. spudatx - Aug 14, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    The players walked over Tito and aren’t showing Valentine much respect. What is the likelihood a recent former teammate to most of the roster will get the changes necessary to occur?

    • sabatimus - Aug 14, 2012 at 6:24 PM

      Zero. It’s the Henry/Lucchino Block.

  5. tfbuckfutter - Aug 14, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    I’d support Varitek coming on board as a bench coach or something.

    But I would think he’d need a bit of experience managing the game before stepping into that kind of spotlight.

  6. stabonerichard - Aug 14, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Everyone knows Tek calls a helluva game. But from the dugout?? C’mon…those ball games last too long as it is.

    • 18thstreet - Aug 15, 2012 at 10:22 AM

      I was always fascinated by this reputation. The pitchers were called from the dugout. And it seemed, regardless, like the Red Sox threw a higher percentage of fastballs than any team in baseball.

      I loved Tek. But I don’t understand where this “calls a great game” came from, or even what it means.

  7. mickeylolich1968 - Aug 14, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    This team doesn’t need Jason Varitek. This team needs Billy Martin! Lets dig him up.
    We could find out just how tough these guys really are and Billy would have some plenty of drinking buddies!

    • simonfoster231171 - Aug 15, 2012 at 11:11 PM

      Can’t they animate Ted Williams’ frozen head? Sounds like it would be a better option …

  8. jayquintana - Aug 14, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    I love baseball, but the overly-sensitive whiners who play the game are really starting to bother me.

    • Glenn - Aug 14, 2012 at 7:21 PM

      Let’s not forget that there is apparently an ownership group that fosters, or at least allows it.

  9. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 14, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    Girardi went from player to managing the guys he played with, so it can certainly be done. But Girardi was always a straight-laced hardass kinda guy.

    As xpensivewinos says above, Varitek was, at best, unable to prevent the ridiculousness of last season, and was perhaps a participant. It would seem that he would have a tough time cracking down on his cronies with that kind of history.

    By dumping Youk but keeping Beckett, management seems to be showing that they either don’t understand or don’t care about character issues.

  10. allbucdup - Aug 14, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    So because guys hate the Boston media, they have character concerns? Really? Come on. Neither of those guys are Dykstra. Heck they aren’t even Miggy Cabrera… And we all know my Sox like to drink,

  11. randygnyc - Aug 14, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    Sabathiawbgt- girardi cut his teeth with the Marlins first. He didn’t go from playing to managing the guys he played with like Varitek would have to do. I think there’s a HUGE difference.

  12. brewcrewfan54 - Aug 14, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    Unpopular as it may be the way to fix the problem in Boston is dump Pedroia and/or Gonzalez. These 2 seem to be the ringleaders of the clubhouse dysfunction. It’ll send a message of who’s in charge.

  13. rje49 - Aug 14, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    You guys who don’t think Varitek shouldn’t be made manager have good points. But at this point, what’s there to lose? Do it. Make ‘Tek manager.

  14. townballblog - Aug 14, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    Absolutely! I can’t see anything better than that happening.

    Check that; Tito coming back would be the only thing that would be better. However, we all know that’s never gonna happen. Thanks, Lucchino!

    > >

  15. rarson - Aug 14, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    No way. Bobby Valentine is just the ass-clown to lead this team to dead last in the AL East. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    But seriously…

    “and there are no other veterans with real job security concerns except for Mike Aviles at shortstop.”

    That’s part of the problem right there. You have a team full of big heads expecting everyone else to pick up the slack. Now obviously I’m biased (as if you couldn’t tell from the first paragraph), but look at the Orioles. Aside from maybe Jones, Markakis, Wieters, and Hardy, there really isn’t anyone that is safe in their jobs. You screw up, you go down to triple-A or get DFA’d. The guys getting a shot want to contribute, and they really have been.

    Granted, the Orioles still have plenty of problems themselves, but attitude is not one of them. When Trembley was manager, nobody gave a shit because he was a lame duck. Orioles have the most roster moves in baseball this season, and everyone knows that they’re being watched. So they’re making the most of their chances. I can’t help but think that Boston is doing the opposite.

    I do have to say, Bobby Valentine seems like a terrible manager, from what I’ve seen (admittedly limited), and the more I hear him talk, the more he sounds like a clueless idiot. SO glad the Orioles got Buck and not him! Boston would probably be better off with Varitek or almost any other player as manager instead of him.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 14, 2012 at 7:42 PM

      You screw up, you go down to triple-A or get DFA’d. The guys getting a shot want to contribute, and they really have been.

      Because most of these guys have been in the pros for so long that they are no longer eligible to be optioned to the minors, and only a few have contracts that are worth picking up if they are DFA’d; however, they still get paid regardless of whether they are or aren’t.

      So to answer your question, no, most of them don’t have any job security issues.

      • rarson - Aug 15, 2012 at 10:36 AM

        “So to answer your question, no, most of them don’t have any job security issues.”

        I never asked any question, and that was exactly my point.

  16. tfbuckfutter - Aug 14, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    I think the ideal solution is to bring back Jimy Williams with Varitek as the bench coach.

    Then he can call the games when Jimy falls asleep. So basically, we’d be splitting the managerial position almost in half…..

    The only problem is we have to suffer with guys like Darnell McDonald starting every game (Manager’s decision) before Tek could pull him in the 5th.

  17. bigleagues - Aug 14, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    Hiring Varitek may very well ignite a spark and get this team playing better – but in light of the Passan column I’m now firmly affixed to the blow this thing up movement.

    It’ll be 4 years with no playoffs come this October, it’s kind of like riding a bike. I quickly remembered how to do it. I make a quick transition over to NBA pre-season and get things done I wouldn’t otherwise.

    Thus, I’m prepared for the long haul. BLOW IT UP.

    In fact, what clearer message could be sent to that effect than having management extend Valentine for another 3 years? DO IT NOW.

    Pedroia, above all others, needs to look in the mirror and realize that his best playing days are quickly evaporating. The track record for All-Star world beating Secondbaseman in their 20’s isn’t real good north of 30. Just ask Baerga and Almomar who dwarf Pedey. With his swing, for him to be effective at the plate, he needs to be 100% healthy. Trade him now while you can still get something.

    Gonzalez just needs to shut up . . . or realize that Valentine being his manager is just part of God’s plan.

    Beckett – get him out of here.

    Let Lackey start next season, his free agent year, just long enough to re-establish some semblance of value and sayonara!

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 14, 2012 at 7:45 PM

      Lackey has two seasons to go after this one (’13 and ’14) with an option, obviously declined, for a 6th year. Beckett also has two years remaining after this one, so good luck getting rid of him.

      You might be able to get something for Pedroia, as he’s signed cheaply through ’14 (’15 option voids as he’s met one criteria, second is if he’s traded).

      • bigleagues - Aug 14, 2012 at 7:51 PM

        Thanks, I realized my error on Lackey after I hit send.

        As for Beckett – someone will take him – the Sox just have to accept that they will swallow a lot of payroll. There is a case to be made that keeping Beckett around will actually cost them money at the turnstile and in TV revenue.

        New manager or not, they cannot go into next season with Beckett on this team. Fans will tune out in droves.

      • bozosforall - Aug 14, 2012 at 11:18 PM

        “Fans” are tuning out in droves already because they are all bandwagoners – a way of life in New England.

      • bigleagues - Aug 15, 2012 at 10:53 AM

        Yo, that’s a Bozo comment, bro.

    • tfbuckfutter - Aug 14, 2012 at 8:05 PM

      This would be all well and good except for one thing…..who, exactly, do they replace those guys with?

      Theo left the farm system in pretty rough shape….or were you actually WANTING another season of Oakland and Kansas City retreads?

      • bigleagues - Aug 14, 2012 at 8:15 PM

        I don’t care if they win next year. They haven’t been a winning team in 1 full calendar year at this point. I’m getting used to it again. I just want the drama to be over with. I don’t even want to watch this team anymore. I’m forcing myself to do it out of some sick sense of fan loyalty.

        There is no excuse for their record to this point. NONE. That a guy who has been here for less than 18 months and came from a losing organization is calling for the managers head is ABSURD. They are stuck with A Gone for the time being. Maybe the Dodgers come calling again. If they do – TRADE HIM.

        It’s time to hit reset. Enough is enough.

      • bozosforall - Aug 14, 2012 at 11:20 PM

        Theo got your team its only two titles in nearly 100 years. Typical ungrateful New England crybaby you are, futtbucked loser.

    • mella21 - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:43 PM

      A lot of the red sox fans probably don’t want to hear the truth, but a plan of sacrificing the next few years is probably the most prudent. Giving the inmates all the power is the WORST idea possible, unless you thought the team was so talented that they could go all the way for the next few seasons.

      If you don’t, then a culture change must occur, and that doesn’t happen in 1 season when you get a new manager. It will take time to erase all the poison that’s being spread by the old guard who have their nose out of joint because the manager doesn’t understand ‘that’s not the way we do things around here’. SERIOUSLY? A player actually went to media and SAID that? How much more self important and unaware could you be? You’re the player, you play. You don’t manage the team. And if you have input, you give it to the manager, no matter how much of a horse’s behind Bobby V. is.

  18. j0esixpack - Aug 14, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    I love Varitek but if he couldn’t instill discipline and show leadership in the locker room last year during the fried chicken and beer meltdown why would anyone think he would as manager – even forgetting his absence of any managerial experience.

    I think the Sox need a change… Maybe an old bench coach. While they’d do better with a “player’s manager” without experiencing Bobby V they would never appreciate such a manager.

    Thus Bobby V and the 2012 season will make them stronger in the long run

  19. sawxalicious - Aug 14, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    I think it would depend on Varitek’s personality. In all likelihood, no one on this blog (myself included) has any direct knowledge of that. He might do a great job, but I would make sure to pair him with a wise veteran bench coach, a Gene Lamont type.

  20. jt2663 - Aug 14, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    I may be the only one in favor but I would fire valentine and make variety interim coach as a trial. May spark them, may not. Variety has the respect of the players and was an important piece of two world series wins. Anyone that dumps arid to the ground has my vote. He knows pitching staffs and we know we will score runs. If he sucks, we hire a new coach for next season. If not he goes in as coach next year and has some experience. Sox need a players coach.

    • bozosforall - Aug 14, 2012 at 11:25 PM

      They HAD a player’s coach (Tito)…and dumped him. This dysfunctional franchise is getting exactly what it deserves…as well as the crybaby fan base. The Red Sox will NEVER even remotely be as great as the Yankee organization…not even 100 more years from now.

  21. hushbrother - Aug 14, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    Has anyone asked Varitek if he WANTS to manage? Kind of a relevant question. Everyone seems to assume he does, and he always seemed like a good candidate to become one eventually, but who knows for certain whether he has any interest whatsoever in managing the Red Sox any time in the near future?

  22. cshearing - Aug 15, 2012 at 8:08 AM

    The problem starts at the top if you ask me. You have an ownership that hires a new GM, and then immediately undermines him to hire the manager he seems to not want. You think the team doesn’t notice that? Take it from a Dolphins fan; bad ownership is the hardest problem to fix.

  23. CJ - Aug 15, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    Varitek may not be the manager Boston needs, but he’s the manager Boston wants…

    Wait, that’s backwards. Oh what the hell, give him a shot and see what happens.

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