The blustery blabbermouths at radio station WEEI in Boston reported today that the Red Sox offered veteran catcher and team captain Jason Varitek a piddling one-year deal at a presumed cut-rate salary. MLB.com picked up the story and it was the number one item on the front page of their website yesterday. Neither source could get a comment from Varitek's main cog and representative, super agent Scott Boras.
The folks at the Boston Globe's Extra Bases blog, however, cashed in one of their Boras Bucks and got the alleged info from Scotty:
Scott Boras, the representative for free agent Jason Varitek, told the Globe's Nick Cafardo this afternoon that the Red Sox have not begun any negotiations with the 36-year-old catcher.
What does this all mean? Someone's lying. Most likely, it's the Red Sox whose pants are on fire. Their best interests are in keeping news on the hush-hush and rumors quashed like so many bugs underfoot.
In the end, the only way both parties can be happy is if Varitek goes back to the Sox. I'm not going out on a limb here by saying that there is a very tiny chance 'Tek gets signed by another team; his entire existence is defined by being the Red Sox catcher and captain, and if the Sox ever want to break in a catching prospect, what better way than learning from Varitek?
He won't get Posada money ($13 million a year) and he won't get four years, but for a ridiculously wealthy team like Boston, isn't $10 million a year for two years worth it? At his advanced age, it's kind of hard to predict how he'll perform next year, but Fangraphs has both Bill James and Marcel projections for Varitek in '09:
- James: 395 AB, .238 BA, .334 OBP, .392 SLG
- Marcel: 429 AB, .233 BA, .325 OBP, .385 SLG
Erm...maybe he's not worth $10 million a year. At least those projected numbers are an improvement over his miserable 2008 stats. Still, I predict the Sox will work something out with Varitek, if only to keep his leadership and his, ahem, intangibles.