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What about Tek?

January 15, 2009

There have been huge volumes of discussion this winter about someone I’m very close to and care a lot about. There is much division in Sox Nation about bringing – or not bringing – Jason Varitek back and what he really means to a staff, and a team.

It’s simpler than some might think if you reverse engineer this.

Let’s take the “No Tek” approach. There are three (for simplicity sake) possible outcomes.

1) The staff gets better with two new catchers and excels and they win a ton of games.
2) The staff stays somewhat similar and no one excels or declines to any serious degree
3) The staff is worse, some guys stay somewhat the same, a bunch of guys have inconsistent seasons.

The “X factor” in all this is John Farrell. Were it not for John I don’t think this discussion would be happening, Tek would be signed and he’d be tasked with bringing along the next catcher for this franchise. John is the best pitching coach alive (though Dick Bosman and Mark Connor rank right up there, and Bob Welch was awesome). John brings a ton of things to the table that few others do and if Tek is not back his workload will triple (at least) and he’ll have much more coaching to do and preparation as well. I think John makes outcome No. 3 less likely but he alone will be hard pressed to make No. 1 happen without major contributions from behind the plate. Any staff will/would/does have issues making No. 1 happen without a catcher behind the plate that knows lineups and prepares to the degree Tek does. I’d be interested, and my inclination is to make a bet, that in the last 15 years the amount of teams that have won World Series with a brand new No. 1 starting catcher, or a duo that splits catching duties, both new to the team, is minimal.

Actually I’ll check that out right now…

1995
Atlanta: Javy Lopez (after 80 some odd games in 1994) and Charlie O’Brien (VERY veteran presence).
Cleveland: Sandy Alomar (veteran who had been there) and Tony Pena (Vet).

1996
Atlanta: Javy Lopez and Eddie Perez.
New York: Joe Girardi (AH! First year with team, but a very game-oriented veteran catcher, known for commanding a staff) and a young, very young Posada. I think Leyritz might have caught some games.

1997
Florida: Charles Johnson (third year with the team) and a young Greg Zaun.
Cleveland: Sandy Alomar (Vet).

1998
San Diego: Carlos Hernandez (Second year with team) and Greg Myers (Vet).
New York: Jorge Posada with Girardi now backing him up

1999
Atlanta: Eddie Perez/Lopez and Greg Myers (Perez and Lopez had been there a few years at this point).
New York: Posada with Girardi

2000
New York: Posada caught about every frickin’ game.
New York Mets: Piazza, in his third year with the team, backed up by Todd Pratt (veteran who was very well known for his game calling. Having known him since 1988 I can promise you he was into handling a pitching staff).

2001
Arizona: Damien Miller in his third year backed up by Rod Barajas.
New York: Posada backed up with some Joe Oliver and Bobby Estellela.

2002
Anaheim: Bengie Molina in his first year, backed up by Shawn Wooten.
San Francisco: Benito Santiago (his second year with SF), with Yorvit Torrealba.

2003
Florida Pudge Rodriguez in his first year backed up by Mike Redmond, who had been there a long time.
New York: Posada (shocker!) backed up by Flaherty.

2004
Boston: Tek and Dougie
St Louis: Matheny in his fifth year backed up by a Molina brother.

2005
Chicago: AJP in his first year, backed up by Widger.
Houston: Ausmus in his 5th year.

2006
St Louis: Molina now starting after a few years, backed by Bennett.
Detroit: Pudge in his second year, backed by Vance Wilson

2007
Boston: Tek and Doug again.
Colorado: Y Torrealba in his second season.

2008
Philadelphia: Ruiz and Costa both in their third years
Tampa: Navarro in his third season.

It’s not exactly the best study, but in the past 14 years, of the 28 World Series teams, three have made it with their starting catcher being a first-year to the organization guy, none with rookies as starters and no team with two new catchers to the organization.

And make no mistake about it, this team is about winning the World Series. Can it be done without Tek? Sure it can.

But in my opinion it’s going to be far harder to win without him than with him. I don’t care if the new guy hit .350, the issue is behind the plate.

This staff can win, it has immense talent but three are so many factors that are going to be thrown into the mix that a guy like Tek can help smooth out.

Dice is spending most of the spring away from the team. Penny, Smoltz, both will be on different schedules. You’ve got a stable of young arms that have matured under Farrell AND Tek that having Tek back there would, again, in my opinion ONLY, only continue that progression.

There are quite a few new arms here that will take some getting used to, and no one that I have ever thrown to gets into a pitcher and his rhythms better than Jason. Add to that his reputation – which is not a myth, guys around baseball know Tek is good and know how much the staff loves throwing to him – and how many other catchers get talked about in that sense? Few.

The thing I can speak from experience to is getting to know your new catcher, and getting comfortable. They are two very different things. I put a ton of time and effort into getting comfortable with a new catcher more so than anything. Rhythm is such a huge part of the game to many pitchers, me included, that I needed to be in a flow and did not want to be out there shaking off and calling time outs during games.

Could Josh win 20 without Tek? Absolutely. Could Lester continue to get better? I bet he will. But that, and so many other things are much easier roads to travel WITH him catching as opposed to him not catching.

If a month into camp there is trouble with the staff synching up and getting comfortable with the catcher, then what? I know that questions been asked and answered internally and I am 100 percent sure they know what they want to do, but I am just speculating and hoping to see Tek back here.

So then you go the other route, with Tek …

1) The staff gets better, Tek hits .220 again.
2) The staff gets better, Tek hits .250.
3) The staff gets better, Tek has another 2004 like season.

That’s the only three outcomes I can see happening. Obviously much hinges on health and some things outside the teams control, but this staff WILL NOT get worse with Jason catching, it just won’t. There is too much time, effort and preparation on his part to become ‘worse’ as a game caller and staff-handler. Oh, and another thing, all of you defensive folks talking about base stealing and runners being caught, that’s a horsecrap stat because stolen bases are taken off pitchers, not catchers. Baserunners steal because pitchers don’t hold, or don’t pay attention, or aren’t quick to home. With the rare exception catchers throw out baserunners when given enough time. Tek’s times to second base weren’t down last year, or the year before. Runners stole off the staff, they almost always do.

My bet is Jason does NOT hit .220, maybe not .290 but I would take any bet that has me with him hitting closer to .290 than .220. After talking to him and hearing him talk about his body, his swing and his mind-set, I’d be real comfortable saying he’s a guy much more likely to hit .265 with 20 HR than .220 with 10.

In my mind it’s going to be the piece that finishes the puzzle for this team. Thinking of an October rotation consisting of a healthy Beckett, Smoltz, Lester, Penny and Dice with Paps at the back end and Tek running the show is going to make ANY team – ANY team – in the post season hope for another match up until they absolutely HAVE to meet Boston.

Addendum Something that went unmentioned, and probably shouldn’t have. Scott Boras is the reason this situation exists, of that there can be no mistake. He obviously advised his client to refuse arbitration, believing he was going to work his magic, and that failed. I don’t think for a second Tek would absolve himself of blame here either, ultimately it’s his decision.
I am past that part of it, because it is meaningless at this point. He refused arbitration, Scott failed to get a multi-year deal, it’s January 16th, he hasn’t signed, the Sox don’t have their #1 catcher. I just was making the observation that I think both sides want this to happen, Boston for the ‘right price’, Tek for ‘a price’ that isn’t league minimum and !!!!WARNING THIS IS A PERSONAL OPINION ONLY!!!!! maybe a shot at a 2nd year if he performs well. He wants to be here, they want him to be here and they have been able to take significant money off the books. It’s a win-win for both sides if you get Tek and Theo in the same room imo.

Related Links:

Speier: Can Varitek Escape His Predicament?

How Arbitration Effects The Captains’ Future

Red Sox and Varitek Reach A Crossroads

84 Comments leave one →
  1. Ryan permalink
    January 16, 2009 12:26 am

    Tek turned down a guaranteed ~$10m for one year, he knew that his new price would be a 1st round pick + money. Right now their is absolutely no market for him. What do you want the Red Sox to do, just say here is the $10m anyways even though there is no one else who wants you?

    I appreciate what he has done for the team, but eventually the cord is going to have to be cut. It would have been nice if we had him here to split time time with a young kid for a year, but not everything works out that smoothly.

  2. Mostly_running. permalink
    January 16, 2009 1:34 am

    Sign him up. Pay him what he’s worth as a player now <4m, and give him the same money to coach in the future. Build the contract around his intangibles and let him prove himself at the plate. When that’s done, overpay him to coach out of respect for what he’s done for the team and the game. Maybe he’ll be a big league pitching/bench coach some day soon, a manager down the line?

  3. Mike permalink
    January 16, 2009 4:19 am

    Curt,

    Tek’s woeful year at the plate was hard to accept as the team struggled to put runs on the board, especially in the off-season. When Manny left it was all too obvious that the Sox needed an elite bat to protect Ortiz (especially with Lowell hurt). But in my opinion, too many people made Tek the scapegoat for a deficit in overall team offense. Other than Youk and Pedroia, nobody had a banner year at the plate.

    The best analogy I can think of is 2006 when the Sox signed Josh Bard to catch Wake and let Mirabelli go to San Diego. After a dreadful Spring Training and poor start to the season, they realized the value of a trusted agent catching a pitcher he’s in snych with and ended up trading back for him and giving him a police escort to the stadium.

    If Miarbelli was that important to the team because of his ability to handle 1 pitcher, how INVALUABLE is Tek for his ability to manage the entire staff, develop young pitchers, and lead in the clubhouse? He’s definitely worth keeping.

  4. January 16, 2009 5:48 am

    Curt,
    It does take two to tango. The Red Sox were willing to bring him back at the same salary for a year. Probably still are but he and his agent wanted a multi year contract. I wonder if they still do? Neither the team or most of those who have watched him over the past year are willing to invest four years. I could see one year with incentives. He is not going to get what the Sox first offered him either. Boras made the wrong call on this one. There is a lot of pride that he is going to have to swallow.

  5. Tim permalink
    January 16, 2009 6:51 am

    Jason Varitek is a mediocre defensive catcher, is incapable of throwing out baserunners no matter the situation, has no pop left in his bat and is highly overrated as a game caller. Anyone watching Red Sox games on a routine basis notes how Beckett, Lester, Dice and Pap call their own games. The “shake off” rate among these pitchers w/ Tek calling the game is pretty darn high for such a ‘learned’ backstop. But I must compliment Tek on his handling of the kids like Clay Buchholz. Boy his veteran leadership really made a difference when watching Clay literally meltdown on the mound in painful fashion and for all to see on NUMEROUS occasions last year. Such a calming influence that Tek ….. hah hah hah hah
    The issue isn’t Tek coming back. If Tek wants to tuck his greedy little tail between his legs and settle for a 3 million contract after he foolishly passed on an 11 million offer from the Sox months ago Theo will find a roster spot for him. The much higher priority for the Sox though is to stengthen their catching corp with youth and competence. If that is achieved the Sox will be just fine with or without Tek on the roster.

  6. LJ Sandwich permalink
    January 16, 2009 8:11 am

    Gee, Schilling lobbying for his old buddy. What a shocker! You may have a different perspective this year as a fan. I’m sure you’ll be as I happy as I was watching him bat from the left side and hopelessly wave at pitches out of the strike zone. Call me silly, but somehow, someway, scores of major league pitchers thrive and progress without having the benefit of pitching to the legendary Jason Varitek.

  7. matt permalink
    January 16, 2009 8:22 am

    Tek is a great guy and leader. His mentoring abilities are 2nd to none. I think one or maybe 2 more years is about all he has left until he goes into coaching. I believe Tek will hit about .260 with 15ish HR’s.

    The part you are missing is that every player is an individual. Red Sox nation wants Tek to turn the “next” catcher into a 2nd coming of Tek. This WON’T happen. It’s absurd to think so.

    One more year! if he should hit .275 or better, 2 more years! if not, well then we should concider cutting the ambilical cord!

  8. fruitgirl permalink
    January 16, 2009 8:32 am

    Thank you!!!! You are the voice of reason in this bitterly anxious Red Sox Nation. Your stats and comments will be absorbed into the masses to get them through a few more days/weeks as Spring Training approaches. Keep writing this great stuff Curt, you are an angel. Long Live The Captain!

  9. January 16, 2009 8:37 am

    Interesting thoughts here, Curt. Yeah, you really gotta consider what Tek does as a defender and how much he takes away from opposing offense with his critical thought and preparation. I’ve not really considered it before as you put it here. Good stuff, thanks for the post.

  10. Sam permalink
    January 16, 2009 8:38 am

    great blog Curt. we need to have Tek back, its a given. hopefully more than 1 year, maybe 2 or 3 until he doesn’t want to play more. he plays lots of games and is respected in baseball. I don’t see us going to postseason games with out
    him. maybe they are just finalizing a deal, and we will find out soon.

  11. Ron permalink
    January 16, 2009 8:57 am

    Curt,
    I think by your numbers it is four catchers in their first year.
    1 – New York: Joe Girardi
    My Comment – what is to prevent us from picking up a veteran.
    2 – Anaheim: Bengie Molina
    3 – Florida Pudge Rodriguez in his first year
    4 – Chicago: AJP in his first year
    Additionally – didn’t all four of those teams actually win the World Series that year?

  12. BeantownMBA permalink
    January 16, 2009 9:29 am

    RE: “My bet is Jason does NOT hit .220, maybe not .290 but I would take any bet that has me with him hitting closer to .290 than .220.”

    Outstanding post, Curt. I’m legitimately impressed by your knowledge, thought process and research. I hope you’re right about ‘Tek, and I pray he does come back – however, I’m ready to take your bet…

    My math says that the breaking point is .255. I’ll bet $100 to each of our favorite charities. If ‘Tek bats over .255, I’ll donate $100 to ALS in your name. If he’s under, you donate $100 to Shriner’s Burns Institute for Children in mine. You up for it?…

  13. BTP permalink
    January 16, 2009 9:47 am

    You know, if Tek would agree to stop trying to be a switch-hitter and just focus on hitting as a righty, this might have already been resolved.

  14. J. J. permalink
    January 16, 2009 9:51 am

    Excellent. Jason Varitek is a very unique player, there are not many out there like him. He is hard to categorize because he is not just a straight player only, he does different things for the team, and whatever he does..works. We need to hang on to him, or I don’t see us winning any post season games for a long time. Sorry, but that is my only disagreement with the blog.

  15. Monica permalink
    January 16, 2009 9:55 am

    yes, the sox need to sign Tek asap. let’s get a move-on. we want tek.

  16. January 16, 2009 9:56 am

    Curt, I disagree with you regarding Varitek’s value. (even though you know far more about baseball than I do!)

    From my perspective, the Red Sox offense is not good enough to hide Varitek’s salami bat. He’s going to be 37 years old in April and is coming off a season where he batted .201 left handed with a .293 OBP – the side which he predominantly bats. From July 1st to the end of the season, Varitek only had 17 RBI. Also, there’s a lot of mileage on him from all the games he’s played.

    If he’s so good behind the plate, why couldn’t Varitek get through to Clay Buchholz or Craig Hansen last year? Both of those kids have great stuff, but it couldn’t be harnassed.

    I understand that Varitek is prepared and knows the hitters, but with John Farrell there, Varitek’s “intangibles” seem to be overrated.

    Also, regarding base stealers, it is a track meet on the basepaths with Varitek back there. Why did Kevin Cash, who mostly caught Wakefield, throw out more runners attempting to steal than Varitek? Cash threw out 30%, Varitek 20%.

    I appreciate all Varitek’s done in the past, but he looks washed up.

  17. Dirt Dog permalink
    January 16, 2009 10:05 am

    That’s some very good research there Curt.

    I think the average baseball fan doesn’t realize that the catcher is the single most important daily player on the field.
    Bringing in a new catcher on this team would be like wearing a fur coat and tennis shoes. This team is all dressed up but doesn’t look complete without the right pair that has a good fit.

    Give me an outstanding catcher behind the plate and a weaker bat than the opposite any day of the week.

  18. KFish permalink
    January 16, 2009 10:21 am

    Good morning, Curt. It’s great to read this post. I love what you have to say. I think a lot has been made about trying to quantify the “intangibles” Tek brings to the game. I don’t know that you can put a number on it, but I think listening to those who actually play with him and throw to him and work with him day in and day out give the most accurate idea of what those qualities are worth. I have never heard any team member say anything that wasn’t extremely positive about his contributions. All the other folks, sportswriters, fans, etc., can only guess at his worth. Those of you who know him know these things best. I’m happy to have your opinion.

    In your opinion, knowing the organization, the process, probably more about Scott Boras than the rest of us, Tek himself, and what has already transpired in the negotiations, do you see him signing soon? I know you say you hope he does, but I am curious to know what the hold-up is. Maybe we’ll never know, but I thought I’d ask you what you thought.

    Thanks again and try to stay warm today. It’s still -7 up in Maine…

  19. Steve permalink
    January 16, 2009 10:58 am

    Curt, you make good points. The question though, is not if the Sox want Tek back, it’s what Boras and Tek will take to sign. The Sox offered arbitration, which would have guaranteed him at least $10 million next year, and the Sox almost certainly would have made it a 2-year deal worth $18-20 million. He turned that down flat. I can’t imagine the Sox (or *any* team going beyond that).

    So it’s really not a question of the Sox’s interest anymore, it’s Boras and Varitek’s.

  20. jay destro permalink
    January 16, 2009 10:59 am

    did boras give you this?

  21. James permalink
    January 16, 2009 11:01 am

    Yes Curt, we know you love Tek. I’m sure the other pitchers love him as well.

    Being that this is a business, the Sox are playing the Boras game in reverse. Instead of Boras waiting for all the offers to come in and then trotting out the “mystery team”, the Sox are letting Boras and Tek find out that there isn’t a big market out there for catchers who have an average of .238 over the last three years regardless of the way he handles the pitching staff.

    The Sox could very well get him back, but I think that it will be at a rate much lower than Boras convinced Tek he would get. Turning down arbitration may not have been his best financial move.

    As for your bet on the average, Tek would have to hit over .255, something he hasn’t done since 2005. I have faith that he’s great for a pitching staff, but I don’t see him ratcheting up the BA above that level.

  22. MUNGHERO permalink
    January 16, 2009 11:09 am

    No one would be able to quantify the “intangibles” of Tek better that you, Curt, so thanks for that. I wouldn’t mind even a bit more expo on the division of labor between Farrell and Tek if you could do it.

    I would feel better having Tek around for a couple more years, and I have to think that the FO would feel the same way, but the issues now are really:

    – Is Tek too proud to take less than the Arb offer he walked away from?
    – How much does the FO really want to spend on a glorified Assistant Pitching coach?

    I’m in the minority of people who think Tek can put up .275, 15HRs, but even so, will he be able to keep Iwamura, Upton, Crawford, Damon (?!) honest on the bases?

  23. Chris permalink
    January 16, 2009 11:11 am

    Curt,
    There aren’t that many Sox fans that are arguing with the scenarios you have presented. I think Theo & most fans would all agree that they want Jason back. The point you seem to be forgetting, and it’s the same point that Ryan mentioned in the first comment, is that Jason turned down the club’s offer to come back. From everything I’ve read, veterans almost never take a pay cut in arbitration. Therefore, he basically said “No” to a one-year $10-$11 million contract. What is Theo supposed to do at this point? Four years ago, Jason didn’t give the team any kind of discount, nor do I feel he should have. That being said, Jason tried to play his cards and lost badly. Why should the Sox now have to go crawling back to him and offer him more than his market value? I think posting an entry like this without going into the obvious contract detail just doesn’t make much sense. Everyone knows what he means to this team, it’s not about that at this point. I feel without addressing the circumstances that have put him in this situation just isn’t giving the entire story.

    I just want to add, I am one who appreciates you giving your opinions to questions when asked.

  24. January 16, 2009 11:29 am

    You know, it’s sad that this decision has come down to the cost-benefit analysis of a player as beloved as Tek. There’s a reason he’s the captain and a reason he’s so well respected in this league and in this town. But with his numbers last year, he can’t expect “Posada Money” has it has been reported Boras is looking for. However, I don’t like the idea of letting him go. So, I’ve thought of a compromise.

    What Tek is worth – subjectively

    Bat: minimum (~$0.5M)
    Defense: $1M
    Intangibles: $2.5M (Maximum I think that stuff is worth)

    So Tek should (in my opinion) accept a deal for $4M with heavy performance bonuses based on his batting (OBP and SLG separately as well as PAs/Innings) where he’d be able to earn up to $11M. (For, say, an OBP > .400 and SLG > .500, PAs > 500). Then, if Curt is right and ‘Tek bounces back to have a nice year, he makes a ton of money. If not, he doesn’t. Also, if he decides to move over to a player/coach (which I agree would be great if he wanted to do it – same with you Curt) you adjust his salary accordingly.

    Cost-Benefit – sad. Perhaps the saddest thing is that I can’t think of a Boras contract off the top of my head that turned out to be a great contract. Even Tek.s wasn’t great. So giving a Boras contract just never seems worth it.

    -Bax

  25. January 16, 2009 11:40 am

    The bottom line is, Tek and Boras turned their noses on $10 million believing there was a greater demand out there than there is. They made the mistake, not the Red Sox.

    The Red Sox shouldn’t re-sign him just because he’s “Tek”, they should re-sign him because they believe he’ll bring value to the club. I think Theo brings a much more rational mind to this than Tek’s friends, fans or teammates would.

    I’d like to see Tek back with the team. But not at a ridiculous price for the Red Sox. Tek lost the opportunity to make money he really doesn’t deserve any more when he walked away from that $10 million.

  26. MitchNB permalink
    January 16, 2009 11:43 am

    Varitek has regressed into just a “smart guy behind the plate”. He can’t hit….he can’t run…he can’t throw. I’d rather get some new talent behind the plate. The risk/reward with Varitek just isn’t worth it anymore! And it would be sweet to shed another Scott Boras guy from the roster!!

  27. Rene permalink
    January 16, 2009 12:05 pm

    I don’t see many options by which the Red Sox can facilitate a Jason Varitek return unless he is willing to take a steep pay cut and accept a major decline in the amount of innings caught. Last year he sulked and whined about being pinch hit for in a playoff game, though to that point a bag of balls might have had a higher OPS. The problem lies herein, Jason can no longer hit, 3 years of sub .240 batting and sub .300 OPS clearly tells us this. Jason also can not perform adequately on the defensive end as he is almost completely unable of throwing out a base runner, and is looking more and more the old guy holding on too long as balls roll to the backstop at an ever increasing rate. I’m sorry Curt, I respect your opinion, but mine differs. I think we need youth on this team, and every catcher is inexperienced until they’re given a chance. In fact that very same thing was said of Jason back in 1999, and that year he and Hatteberg led the team to the AL wild card with 92 wins. It’s really all subjective, but I think Jason’s time here is done, he made his bed and now he has to accept the consequences.

    Fact is, he’s not worth nearly what he thinks he is, and no amount of pontificating or legend are going to change that. Jason fell victim to believing his own hype, and until he comes around to accepting who he is as a player TODAY then I don’t see him suiting up anywhere. Past performance be damned, this is a business and you can’t give Jason 10 million based on nostalgia, and if he comes back for any less he’s disruptive and bitter. I’m not up for a year of that. Goodbye Jason, thanks for the memories

  28. Scott permalink
    January 16, 2009 12:12 pm

    I have to agree with a previous poster, less sarcastically, that he didn’t seem to be a big help with Clay last year, he really regressed! With bringing on Smoltz and Penny, there doesn’t even seem like there’s room for Wakefield when everyone gets healthy, much less that Clay or Bowden get a shot this year, so the need for Varitek coming back in that regard is lessoned.

    I have heard alot of excuses about his poor play last year, but bottom line is he was GROSSLY overpayed last year, and then he turned down a guarenteed 10M???

    I can see bringing him back at 1 year at 3 or 4 million, because of what’s he means to the franchise, anything more than that is just getting beat up by Boras 1 more time! If we aren’t going to give the kids a shot at this point, why not move 1 of the young pitchers for Montero and Salty, and say goodbye to Varitek, seems like sound logic at this point. I think we are all in agreement that Bard, and the other C’s in the system are not the answer at this point!

  29. Zack permalink
    January 16, 2009 12:16 pm

    ” I would take any bet that has me with him hitting closer to .290 than .220. After talking to him and hearing him talk about his body, his swing and his mind-set, I’d be real comfortable saying he’s a guy much more likely to hit .265 with 20 HR than .220 with 10.”

    come on lets be serious, he played the same number of games in 2008 that he did in 2007, there were no reports of him being banged up or anything, thus nothing effecting his batting ability. hes 37, caught an average of 130 over the last 10 years, closer to .290? come on.

  30. Scott H permalink
    January 16, 2009 12:19 pm

    Great job Red
    Sox! Im sick of scott boras robbing teams blind with average players getting superstar salery. Time we ban agents from doing more dammage to the game.

  31. January 16, 2009 12:37 pm

    I think the Sox do need to re-sign Tek. The main reason being: they need a catcher, and there aren’t any better options out there. Beyond that, he does a great job with the pitching staff. His batting average may not be great, but a lot of teams have that one black-hole player in their line up. In the Red Sox case, it happens to be their catcher.
    Or, they could tell Boras to s(rew off. I’m okay with that, also. After his shenanigans from the past few years (announcing ARod’s opt out announcement and Manny’s defection) I kind of hope that the Red Sox don’t sign any Boras client. I’d rather root for a team with principals.

  32. Ken E. permalink
    January 16, 2009 12:41 pm

    Hmm….Curt’s statistics concerning the lack of world series wins with teams with 1st year catchers or rookie catchers would support his arguement if these situations were fairly COMMONPLACE. I would think that most of the 30 teams DON’T field teams with those conditions. Only a few teams can make the playoffs regardless of who they have behind the plate. Curt’s agruement would doom the world series hopes of any team that may pick up Tek even if he can handle their pitchers.

    Ken E.

  33. January 16, 2009 1:06 pm

    Curt,

    From a 90 – 100K / Year person to a multimillion dollar a year millionaire such as yourself, can you talk a little bit about the millionaire’s mindset during this contract negotiation?
    I’ll also say this, I’m not knocking ball players at all, trust me I’d love to make that kind of money, but I’ll never understand what it’s like to make that kind of money, and to me with Tek being the backbone of the Red Sox for 11/12 years now, how could you even think about going somewhere else, where is the loyalty these days?
    This is a guy who’s made 56+ Million Dollars over the course of his career
    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/profile?playerId=3760
    01 – 1.8 Mil
    02 – 3.5 Mil
    03 – 4.7 Mil
    04 – 6.9 Mil
    05 – 8 Mil
    06 – 10 Mil
    07 – 11 Mil
    08 – 10 Mil

  34. Dori permalink
    January 16, 2009 1:12 pm

    I think if one more person says or posts it’s time to cut the cord I will lose it.
    First and foremost, as far as I am concerned, Jason Varitek deserves way more respect from the front office than it appears he is getting (Boras aside). That being said, I realize that we are not privy to all the behind the scenes discussions that may or may not be occurring but the plain and simple truth is there is no one out there any better right now and Tek is worth the money. From my standpoint, he works harder, is smarter, and is more committed than the average player.

    Thanks for the positive post, Curt. There are a lot of us who think Tek deserves to play it out with the Sox for what he has been and for what he still is. He can still be an impact player, and there is no doubt in my mind that he will work with a new guy to bring him along. He knows he can’t play forever. But can anyone really picture that man in any other uniform? He deserves better than this from Red Sox Nation collectively. How soon they forget….

    Dori

  35. Gerry permalink
    January 16, 2009 1:13 pm

    Thanks, Curt. Wish you were at the Arizona Sports Institute getting ready for a mid-season return, teaming up with Smoltz and Wake for an OK Corral redux. I agree fully that Jason is the Sox best option, and think a 2/1 deal, with incentives,and which gradually transitions him into coaching should appeal to Tek and FO; a generous contract which honors his tenure and accomplishments, while acknowledging the realities of age and recent stat. Beyond his contributions as catcher and mentor, the goal needs to be keeping Tek in a Sox uniform for years.

    It MUST be remembered that, like Manny, there was little thought of not bringing Tek back . . . until Boras demanded a long term, Posada type new contract, even with Tek batting .220 and Posada on the DL at the time. That man is a fool, all the damage he has done to his clients, so many teams, the game itself. The Red Sox had no choice but to say no to such a demand and, in order to let Tek know they wanted him back, offer arbitration. People forget that the offer of arbitration was a $10-12M RESPONSE to Boras’ demands. Like yourself, Tek is a local hero, and we want him back, even while we want Boras banned in Boston.

  36. January 16, 2009 1:40 pm

    What’s with all the complaints about ‘Tek’s Caught Stealing percentage, anyway? Bedsides what you point out, Curt, about the role of the pitcher in whether or not a guy takes off for second, I have to think people who complain about that are just repeating what they’ve heard, and have never looked at stats from past years. ‘Tek hasn’t “declined” in CS% at all. That stat hasn’t changed by more than a couple of percentage points in either direction since 2004! No one was worried about a weak arm when Varitek signed his last contract for 4 years, 40 mil. No one was worried about it when he won his Gold Glove in ’05. And it hasn’t changed.

    I’d like someone to find me another catcher anywhere whose CS% has been that consistent over five seasons. Or who’s been so consistent in any defensive category, for that matter. ‘Tek really is a rock back there, now as much as ever, and yes, he deserves a contract that shows a bit of respect for what he’s done, as well as what he’ll continue to do.

    (Mazz has some interesting comments today too, by the way, about about how hard it’s getting to believe Theo when he says he’s comfortable taking this pitching staff into Spring Training with Bard, Kottaras and Brown.)

  37. January 16, 2009 1:44 pm

    Curt, that was a solid analysis of options for the Red Sox and Varitek to consider.

    there have been a lot of great counter points posted here also.

    Having said that, one poster pointed out something that is contrary to the points you make about Tek’s value to the Sox. Why in the world are so many pitchers so frequently waving off his signs? I don’t get that… having watched you rarely wave Tek off that so many others, including some of the ‘rookies’ are waving him off. That discredits Tek’s value to the team if the pitcher insists on calling his own game AND TEK ALLOWS THEM TO DO IT. It used to be a rare time that a pitcher would wave Jason off. Have the activities in Jason’s personal life distracted him from game preparation? Sure seemed like it.

    Convincing Red Sox fans that Jason Varitek has subjective value to the Red Sox is preaching to the choir. Should Jason be respected and be overpaid as a result of what he has meant to the team? Perhaps so. Did that result in the offer of arbitration out of respect to him? An insightful PR move? Both? Look at what happened in Atlanta over the John Smoltz defection.

    Other posters have pointed out that being an advocate of Captain Tek at this point is truly irrelevant to the discussion. The bottom line is that Varitek and Boras have maneuvered themselves into a corner that could well result to a substantive degree the end of Jason Varitek’s career if Varitek/Boras cannot agree to a contract with the Red Sox.

    This situation is of Jason Varitek’s decision making and has little to do with his real or perceived value to the Red Sox.

    Captain Vartiek… where art thou?

  38. Wek permalink
    January 16, 2009 1:55 pm

    The problem is definetely not going to be money if it’s in the 5 to 10mil range. If Tek does in fact bats .250+ then he’ll be to prove he still has some pop and will be playing for what he’s worth. If he doesnt then it’s just a mere 10mil that the Red Sox would be willing to give for mentoring and whatnot to the young kids. The real issue is, is signing Tek really worth a draft pick? Even if Tek bounces back I dont see him batting above .250BA, 15HRs, 65RBIs anymore in his career.
    Curt if you were Theo, would you give up a draft pick for someone who base on the last few seasons of his career, isn’t going be of much help to the team offensively? If so, why not just get a really good defensive catcher that is a veteran that can also provide mentoring to the young kids and would probably cost fraction of Tek’s salary?

  39. donna permalink
    January 16, 2009 1:58 pm

    Whenever Boras is involved, there is trouble. Why an upstanding decent captain of a baseball team such as ours has a snake like Boras for an agent…well I don’t know. Obviously, he gets a lot of money for his clients, but there are other agents who don’t hold their clients hostage & make good deals. Too many Red Sox players have this sneaky liar as an agent. Alright, Tek didn’t take the arbitration, because Boras made him believe he could get a bigger & better contract somewhere else. On the other hand, who is employing who here? 4 years ago, Tek had the last say and told Boras to get the deal done to stay in Boston. My instincts say he will stay for a year or two which is the right thing. Let’s hope. Maybe he should shop around for a new agent. Curt, can’t wait to hear you on the Big Show next week! Happy New Year.

  40. Ken permalink
    January 16, 2009 1:58 pm

    What about bringing #38 back in June for another big October….?

  41. January 16, 2009 2:03 pm

    //First and foremost, as far as I am concerned, Jason Varitek deserves way more respect from the front office than it appears he is getting//

    How so? The team offered arbitration which would have brought him $10 million. That’s pretty darned respectful if you ask me.

    He has definitely declined. Anyone who doesn’t see that is fooling themselves. Doesn’t mean there isn’t still a place on the team for him, but it DOES mean he should have been a lot smarter than he was when he decided to decline arbitration.

    //How soon they forget….//

    That’s offensive to me as a Sox fan who thinks the Sox are being smart here. No one has forgotten what Tek has accomplished with this team. But he shouldn’t be given a multiyear, big number contract just because of what he did in the past.

  42. Marc Goldman permalink
    January 16, 2009 2:31 pm

    You make a strong case and closed on the key point. Money and years. And the elephant in the room is Boras. This isn’t the first time Scott Boras has given a client bad advise, it isn’t the first time he has given it to Tek.

    While the two aren’t mutually exclusive, the RS really do need to groom another catcher. You make the case that you’d bet on .290 with high production over last years stats, but Jason’s age and games caught are yet another elephant in the room.

    The Rs seem to have most of the leverage here unless the think they can’t do business without Tek. Whatever they do they need to find the next catcher this year and start his maturation process.

    While it seems dubious because Tek allowed Boras to foolishly leave what was a likely $10M on the table because arbitration is going to be in time delay with current market if the two sides could get to a fair figure a vesting option would be in order. 38 you certainly know more about this but aren’t vesting options based on games played rather than results in those games?

    There is no joy in this at any rate.

  43. Komish permalink
    January 16, 2009 2:34 pm

    Curt,
    The reason Tek is not signed is because of Boras. He pissed the Sox brass off with the Texieria disappointment and unless Tek steps in and demands Boras to get him back in Boston for a year at less than the $10M offered in arbitration he will not be back. Boston will take the number one draft pick and move on. I think the Sox missed out on a very good veteran backup catcher to complement Varitek in Gregg Zhan. Zhan is a very good lefty hitter, who could have complemented Teks weak hitting from the left side. Clearly if Tek hits right he is much better and not an issue. His lefty stick has lost its bat speed his attack muscles have suffered with age and his back side collapses on him, he is a grounder to second every time if he doesnt swing and miss. Defensively he is fine and an veteran presence on the field that knows the AL hitters best. Zahn also has AL hitter experience and would have been great if he caught two games in five and Tek three games. The two would have been a great tandem. Boston walked away from Lowe as soon as Boras snookered them with Texieria. Boston is going to get their revenge at Teks expense. Tek has fallen off offensively just like Rich Gedman did. Gedman lost his bat speed and tried to find it with Hariniak’s help but it was age that caught up with him similar to Teks hitting situation. If Bay switches agents to Boras, he wont be back after next year either. Boston is done with Boras clients.

  44. Mike permalink
    January 16, 2009 2:50 pm

    So you’re setting the over/under at .255?

    It’s nice of BeantownMBA/#12 to offer to make it a charitable bet, but I’m greedy (er… I mean, I need to feed my family) so I’ll take this bet for straight cash. You name the amount.

  45. Bob permalink
    January 16, 2009 2:50 pm

    Why doesn’t anyone ever talk about Tek’s situation hitting.
    He is far worse than his 220 avg reflects with the bat.

    I many pitchers who were better situational hitters than Tek.

    Put Ellsbury on thirdbase (down by 1 run) with less than 2 outs.
    The last guy I want to see at the plate is Jason Varitek.
    If Varitek is coming to bat the other team will not pull in their infield
    because they know Tek can not lay off the high fastball. He is no longer capable
    of catching up with a high fastball and he continues to chase balls out of the
    strike zone.

    All that is needed is a fly ball to the outfield or a ground ball to the right
    side of the infield to score the run. When you see this situation remember this
    post because Varitek will do 1 of 2 things 95% of the time. He will either strike
    out or popout to the left side of the infield. A majority of the time it is to
    thirdbase (foul-out) and it does not score the run.

    I can live with the 220 average, but I cannot live the dumbest hitter I have ever seen with the ugliest swing I have ever seen.

    He had a chance to take arbitration. He passed so I do not want to hear about him being the good soldier.

    I would rather have the picks and pass on Tek, but no team is dumb enough to give
    Tek the money he wants and give up a top pick.

    If we cannot get a young catcher in a trade, offer Tek 2 million for 1 season
    with a ton of incentives.

  46. January 16, 2009 3:01 pm

    Curt

    I can’t believe you and the majority of Sox fans are thinking with your hearts and not your heads. The Sox need a catcher of the nature of a Teagarden or Saltalamacchia that can play the position for a good number of years. Varitek has been sub-par not just last year, but the past three years (.238/ .255/ .220),so what makes anyone think he’ll snap out of it should the Sox pay him way too much money. He was overpaid his last contract. It’s now time to move on.

  47. FredCDobbs permalink
    January 16, 2009 3:09 pm

    Curt,

    Anyone who is a supposed Red Sox fan who is saying “ha ha” toward Tek is ungrateful for his play during the recent Sox Golden Age to say the very least. The guy has been one of the best catchers in MLB for 10 years. I personally value that.

    I hate Boras just like everyone else.

    Have Tek’s intangibles been so disussed over the years that they are overrated, al a Jeter? Yes. Is there a significant value on these unquantifiable contributions? Yes.

    I say sign him for one year at 5 or 6 mil, with a team option for a 2nd year, and give the team a period of time to find the next great Red Sox catcher.

  48. marie permalink
    January 16, 2009 3:23 pm

    curt,
    no one loves tek more then me….
    autographed pics of him all over my living room, macfarlane action figures, bobble heads, baseball cards, christmas ornaments…. but even i realize he’s just being GREEDY cause of SCOTT BORAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    THIS GUY IS RUINING BASEBALL PERIOD!!!!!
    you can see the difference in contracts for players who really want to play here in boston and scott boras clients……..
    tek had a horrible offensive season last year and the previous year too….
    me being such a tek fan it was even harder to watch, but seeing the money he wants the sox to pay for him after such a horrid season is even worse to watch!!!
    he had a guarantee but he didnt want it…. i was thinking his price would of gone down at least 5 million a year…
    i think the problem with contracts is they just lay out the money for u, u guys should have to earn it with incentives and then we’ll see some really competitive baseball!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    to give tek the kind of money he’s looking for would be an insult to pedroia and youk (who lets face it on the open market they’d of gotten a hell of a lot more) but they enjoy playing in boston, enjoy the fans, enjoy who they work for and the fans of boston don’t forget loyalty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    we love tek to death and owe him a debt of gratitude, but that’s it!!!!
    he’s gotten well paid for his time in boston….. lets face it , the economy stinks!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    when r the players gonna care about the fans? don’t forget we pay for these salaries with the $4.50 hot dogs and the $5.00 soda’s and families can’t even afford to go anymore, between the tickets , refreshments, parking… c’mon now, you guys r way too greedy!!!!!!!!!! and then to top it off if your at a card show u want another #$150 for an autograph…………
    it’s sad if tek isn’t back , but it’s his own fault, no one told him to go out and cheat on his wife and y should we have to pay for his divorce and alimony!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  49. Steeltown permalink
    January 16, 2009 3:27 pm

    Curt,

    I would love to hear your take on the upcoming Steeler game.

    Steel-town

  50. Al R permalink
    January 16, 2009 4:30 pm

    Excellent article pro and con for signing vs not signing Varitek!! That said, I think everyone is missing the point. Both sides benefit if he signs. It’s what they want.
    The questions is for how much? Are the Red Sox low balling him? Is Boras advising Jason that he will still get 10 million per year? Can the Sox and Boras even deal in good faith right now? What is the middle ground? It’s easy from a fans point of view to say sign him for two or four or six million but do Jason and Boras think he is worth more?
    With their payroll flexibility the Sox can afford to wait and see what develops.

  51. sdl1 permalink
    January 16, 2009 5:51 pm

    If it wasn’t for Boras, Tek would’ve been re-signed long ago. Eventually, both GMs and players are going to realize Boras does more harm than good and his name is going to be mud on both sides of the table.

  52. David permalink
    January 16, 2009 6:00 pm

    Marie (#48), that last sentence in your post….what a stupid and inappropriate thing to say! Don’t make assumptions from rumors you read on the internet!

  53. Tyler permalink
    January 16, 2009 6:04 pm

    Cyn, how is it “respectful” to offer him arbitration, knowing it will shoot down any offers from other teams because of his Type-A status? They didn’t do it out of the goodness of their heart! They didn’t offer Kotsay arbitration and yet re-signed him.

    The Sox are flying all the way to Texas for Teixeira, flying down to Georgia to watch Smoltz pitch….well, it’s about time they did that for Varitek. THAT is respect! finally!!!

  54. January 16, 2009 7:02 pm

    When it’s time to go, it’s time to go. That’s the beauty of the Patriots system. They didn’t wax nostalgic about Troy Brown. Even though he still wanted to play, he wasn’t good enough anymore. They even released Ty Law when they felt his value wasn’t comparable to the money he was making.

    The reason pitchers shake off catchers is part subterfuge, so as to not establish a pattern for the opposing team to guess what pitch a guy will throw in certain situations.

    I’m not much for the sabermetrics, but one of my favorite new stats is VORP – value over replacement player. For example, Kevin Youkilis’ 2008 VORP was 53.6. Jason Varitek’s 2008 VORP was -2.1, basically meaning any substitute would’ve been better than him.

    Goodbye, Tek. Thanks for the memories.

  55. Gerry permalink
    January 16, 2009 7:07 pm

    Great point Al. Even if the Sox make a generous offer, recent history indicates that Boras will merely use it to try to squeeze out a little more? That would end it all, right there, after what Boras did with Teix, Manny, A-Rod, Drew, etc. And that would end Tek’s career . . . no place to go.

    Only a few larger market teams need to back out of playing Boras’ game, stop being his victim, and he will dry up and blow away. It’s not that players don’t deserve to be well paid, it’s that Boras is creating a class system in which those he deems worthy get outrageous deals, and everyone else gets the crumbs. As long as teams continue to be suckers (one born every minute says Boras), like the Braves with D.Lowe, then Boras’s laissez faire methods will ruin America’s game to his personal advantage. Sounds like the stock market, banking, real estate, S&L, petroleum and other industries, doesn’t he.

  56. Allen W permalink
    January 16, 2009 7:33 pm

    I guess this may constitute “evidence” that Boras may be detrimental to the game – not only to owners/teams but also to players.

  57. January 16, 2009 9:05 pm

    Totally agree with #3 Mike. Because so often, you don’t know what you had until it’s gone. Look what’s happened at shortstop when they tried to upgrade after Nomar. Renteria didn’t fit, and the two best guys since Nomar were little O and Gonzalez. Really, I don’t want another “upgrade” to a Lugo in the catcher’s spot. Hope they can work something out with Tek.

  58. Judy permalink
    January 16, 2009 9:28 pm

    The Red Sox made him an offer, he’s the one who turned it down. He’s your friend, maybe you should be trying to convince him that he still needs the Red Sox instead of trying to convince us that the Red Sox still need him.

  59. Bookem Dano permalink
    January 16, 2009 10:24 pm

    Dump Tek, game over. Trade Bucholz for one of the Texas catchers and that’s that.

    I really hate those sentimental signings that drag out until the player is worse than most AA level minor leagers, and we’re all hoping he gets one more hit as they bring him up to the plate in his wheelchair. We should have ZERO over age 40 players… and speaking of, I’ll bet Wakefield ends up with a double digit ERA as he chucks up nuckleballs at a speed that just barely tops his age.

    And finally, Curt, your game’s over too. You were “THE MAN” in 2004, epic performance, and should have won the MVP for the world series, but that’ll never happen again, not even if you switch from beer-oids to steroids. And speaking of steroids, who wants to bet Manny hit the juice when he went to LA?

  60. Matty permalink
    January 16, 2009 11:29 pm

    Curt:

    As with yourself – the historical value of Jason Varitek is unquestioned. Can’t imagine either of you (or Dave Roberts, IMO) EVER buying a beer for yourselves within the boundaries of the Nation and if you do it’s a travesty.

    Mr. Varitek needs to understand, however, that after the arbitration refusal and the changes in the market, the BoSox CANNOT offer him anything but a one year deal (maybe a performance option) at anything greater than $4 million and probably more in the $2 million category. If he will now take that, fine, but for a guy to refuse ~ $10M to then take 20% of that from the same team would be shocking.

  61. January 17, 2009 1:47 am

    Great Post Curt. I like your insight. I hope Jason comes back. He does a great job with the pitching staff. He will be OK. Curt what Is your Favorite memory in your career and Why?

    Jeff
    Beaufort SC

  62. Steven Hupfer permalink
    January 17, 2009 2:43 am

    Curt,
    I absolutely agree with all of your observations. 1st Boras screwed this deal up bigtime. Nobody in their right mind is going to give Tek what Boras asked for. Yes it was ultimately Teks decision but with Boras as your agent and his silver tongue I can understand Teks challenge.
    2nd Just like you said about knowing the pitching staff and getting into the flow of a game. He will only help the staff this year and another catcher will definitely hinder. Its a great compliment coming from you talking about Tek being one of if not the best in prep and calling a game.
    The reason the Sox didnt sign him yet is because they knew nobody was going to give Tek that deal. I also believe that Tek is looking to the future and being part of the organization for years to come. I think thats the reason Henry is down their talking to him and not Theo just for that fact. To talk about the future and his involvement in the organization. Only Henry can talk to Tek about that.
    Some Sox fans want to cut bait and for those that do really have no concept of how important a catcher pitcher relationship is. Is Tek worth $10m for 2 years….stat wise no way in hell….organization wise….cant put a price tag on that one. Now it just comes down to business and Boras is an idiot. Because of what Boras did this year salary cap is being talked about more than ever. So a couple years from now when it finally does happen everybody can look back and thank Boras.
    Tek will be signed with a fair contract laden with incentives and an option for a second year. This I guarantee. Tek doesnt need Boras anymore after he signs as Tek will be done in two years and moving into the Sox organization. Go sox.
    PS Curt are you going to retire or give it another go. I would love to see you give it another year imo. Cheers!

  63. Eric D permalink
    January 17, 2009 6:16 am

    If anyone thinks Tek is going to show-up at spring training with egg on his face, they are sadly mistaken. All Major League ballplayers have huge egos! This alone will prevent Tek from taking the 2-4 Mil the Sox may offer him at this point. Do you think he wants to hear all his peers telling him he should have taken the 10 mil he was originally offered? I think NOT! Will the Sox still give him the 10 mil he was originally offered in arbitration? I think NOT! This creates a stalemate that cannot be solved, therefore, we will not see Tek wearing the “C” in Boston any longer. He was a very good catcher for the Sox, yet I now question his dedication to the team he supposedly loved so much.

    As a side note, I wish everyone would stop using the, “that being said” or, “having said that” phrase. It’s totally redundant and completely unnecessary seeing as it’s obvious that you just said it. I know Curt likes to use this phrase on occasion, but does that mean everyone and their uncle has to use it as well? It’s highly irritating and it doesn’t make anyone sound any smarter, so let’s leave that phrase at the doorstep, shall we?

  64. January 17, 2009 8:31 am

    After how Boras has screwed the Sox over multiple times this year, I’d rather us go through 2009 with a minor league catcher and work on our bats than to allow Scott Boras to draw one more cent from us. JD Drew is the highest paid player on the Sox right now, how is that possible? And Ellsbury apparently has Boras as his agent now, so we can expect some shenanigans with him in the future.

    I am amazed at how many people like to come here anonymously and rag on Curt, when I’m certain were they to meet him in person they’d turn into starstruck teenagers. The disrespect of some people is really irritating. It’s the same mentality that led to people booing Papi in the playoffs.

  65. David permalink
    January 17, 2009 9:20 am

    I think you pretty much summed it up best, Curt: do you want this staff with this much talent in the hands of an on the job training catcher? NO!
    You’re dead on right: Beckett and Dice-K and Lester and Co. will be as good with or without Tek. But, ask them who they’d rather want have there.
    Ferrell’s job will be infinitely harder if he not only has to coach this staff but also hold the catcher’s hand throughout the season while apprenticing him.
    Tek is like a second pitching coach from a different place on the field. He’s behind the plate with Ferrell in the dugout.

  66. Tom Mc permalink
    January 17, 2009 11:16 am

    My gut feeling is Tek will dump Borras and make a deal with the people that have he has been working with for the best years of his, mine and Red sox nations.

  67. Brian permalink
    January 17, 2009 1:11 pm

    Curt,

    Wouldn’t a one year deal for 6-7 million, with a vesting option for a 2nd year at 110 starts make sense. Sure it’s a pay cut from the abitration number, but if he stays healthy and plays well he’ll get the second year. Good for him and for the team. Why wouldn’t the sox want him back if he plays over 2/3 the games with adequate production at the plate. If he continues to struggle and it effects the win/loss column, then Bard (are who everelse they bring in) can start to take a bigger roll and the Sox are not on the hook for 2010.

  68. January 17, 2009 9:13 pm

    #60 Matty – $2 million? I assume that’s referencing Gammons’s comments the other day, but can you really want to see your team re-sign their long time leader for the the same salary they’re giving his backup? If this were a small market team with no fan base and in desperate straits, I’d see that. But it’s the Red Sox. A bit of respect for their own team captain won’t kill them. A low-ball salary like that would be a slap in the face, after what they’ve been handing out to long shots, backups and health risks.

    Certainly they can offer something better. They offered arbitration simply because of the draft pick issue, and he declined it because he wanted more than one year. That does not somehow limit what they can offer now.

  69. Babe Ruth permalink
    January 18, 2009 1:05 pm

    Nomar Garciaparra.

    There is no loyalty to players in this organization.

  70. billybosox permalink
    January 18, 2009 5:38 pm

    This is a great post Curt. A lot of good points. And there are no fans like Sox fans, tons of great and educated opinions as usual in response.

    I do disagree with you Curt on the .290, however, I also see Tek bouncing back, but more like .250-.260. 15 hrs is a good guess. Now to you fans that are going on and on about Salty and Teagarden and Montero, what is it exactly that you expect from them?. None of them are proven and none of them are even projected to be incredible all around. They all have their weaknesses to. However, since the primary job of a catcher is to call the game, and Varitek is one of the best ever, he has an invaluable strength. I am not saying to forget about the young guys but as Curt’s study shows all the young guys had veteran presence to guide them, we need Tek back. Not only does bringing him back help with the transition by his guidance toward a young guy, but you have to think that if the Sox have Tek signed, they don’t look as desperate at the trade table with Texas or Arizona. Therefore, they have more leverage and therefore, the price drops.
    Best case scenario we have Tek starting next year with Salty or Montero as backup. Even without Wake in the rotation Tek still only catches 100 to 130 games and he is there to guide Salty. Now, I know everyone is an individual but Varitek can lead by example and teach Salty how game preparation should be done. I heard a story once and I’m not sure if it’s true but there was this young pitcher named Curt Schilling and he was a little stubborn in his ways and didn’t quite understand how to become an elite pitcher until a man named Roger Clemens had a talk with him in a training facility and kind of showed him the way. The rest is history. Maybe you could tell us how correct this is Curt. But even if it’s not Salty is projected to be a hitter, his weaknesses lie in his defense and intangibles. If Tek could show him how to stretghen that weakness then you can imagine how much more he could help our beloved Sox.

    Bottom line I want to see the Sox bring back Tek. No incentive crap. Give the man 2 years at 8-10 per and a third year option. Find a way to trade for Salty or Montero. Hopefully without trading Bucholz, and gradually groom Salty or Montero to be the starter and transition Tek into a coaching role. This man deserves to retire in a Sox uniform, he deserves to wear it proudly as a coach for years to come, and eventually he may even deserve 33 on the wall with the legends. And by giving him a 2/1 deal that brings us to at least 2010. And if the young guy doesn’t work out we go get Mauer.(free agent after 2010) Either way we give Tek what he deserves and keep him around for many many years to come. The only way this happens though is if Theo and Tek sit down and talk without Boras.

  71. billybosox permalink
    January 18, 2009 5:49 pm

    Curt, just wanted to add that I think it’s great that you are so sociable with us the fans and that I was writing my last post and watching “Great Sox Memories” on NESN. They showed clips from 04 and when you came out with the Sock, it doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen it in the last 4+ years it still gave me goosebumps. Please know that we are groomed by our fathers and grandfathers to be a Sox fan and for most of their lives they had nothing to stop and celebrate. Therefore the have a way of forgetting the past and looking to the next year because they had to and they have passed this from generation to generation. So it is easy to say “well what have they done for me lately” about Tek or any other player, but I would like to take the opportunity to stop and smell the roses and say thank you for everything again.

  72. parker permalink
    January 18, 2009 10:50 pm

    the weei banner sucks. your commments suck. you suck. shut up and use a current photo.

  73. January 19, 2009 10:49 am

    Curt, I have been a Tek fan for many years. He is the “man”. His value behind the plate is not measurable. The Red Sox have to to what ever it takes to bring him back!!!!!!!!

  74. matt r. permalink
    January 19, 2009 12:08 pm

    redsox fans are dumb!!!!!!

  75. matt r. permalink
    January 19, 2009 12:11 pm

    ANYONE WHO DOESNT AGREE WITH CURT DOESNT GET POSTED!!!!!!

  76. matt r. permalink
    January 19, 2009 12:12 pm

    CURTS A STUPID REPUBLICAN!!!!!

  77. TONY M permalink
    January 19, 2009 1:06 pm

    WITH ALL DUE RESPECT TO TEK AND EVERY OTHER PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE. ONCE IN A WHILE TAKE A LOOK AT HOW LUCKY YOU ARE. I WOULD VENTURE TO SAY EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD WOULD TRADE PLACES WITH YOU BUT HOW MANY PEOPLE WOULD YOU TRADE PLACES WITH. FIRST OF ALL YOU’RE DOING SOMETHING YOU LOVE WHILE THE GREATER MAJORITY OF US ARE DOING WHATEVER IT TAKES TO PAY THE BILLS AND JUST SURVIVE. I LOVE BASEBALL WITH A PASSION AND THE 1 OR 2 SOX GAMES I CAN GET TO PUT ME IN HEAVEN. YOU SHOULD BE PAID WELL BUT I THINK IT SHOULD BE A SERIES OF 1 YEAR CONTRACTS WITH HIGH INCENTIVES. YOU PRODUCE, YOU GET MONEY. WHEN ROBERT E LEE WAS BROKE AND OFFERED MONEY FOR THE USE OF HIS NAME FOR THE UNIVERSITY HIS COMMENT WAS “I CANNOT BE PAID FOR SERVICES NOT RENDERED”. WORDS TO THINK ABOUT

  78. Susan permalink
    January 19, 2009 4:52 pm

    to parker: Why do you go to the WEEI website if you think it sucks so bad. Go away you stupid troll.

  79. Komish permalink
    January 20, 2009 2:13 pm

    If NYY and Boras really want to piss off Boston brass, get Boston to make an offer, then Boras can take the low ball offer for the Captain to NYY and sign Tek for a bit more and have him split the Job with Possada. Boston also wouldnt get the number one draft choice from NYY because they forfeited it with the previous type A signings. Stealing the Captain would have the RedSox Nation jumping off the Tobin when the dust settles rather than saying let him go….The Brass better think this through….

    Its also interesting Hedi Whatney still has exclusive information on Tek when she was rumored as having the June road trip affairs with Tek that broke up his marriage. This from a inside NESN source that said she was warned twice to stay away from the players. You would have thought he would have learned to stay away from her by now after the trouble she caused him.

  80. sdl1 permalink
    January 20, 2009 3:28 pm

    To Matt R…

    I disagree with Curt on a lot of things…and I am far from being a Republican…I have never had a post NOT go trough…

  81. January 21, 2009 11:00 pm

    This will be printed every day

    Jason varitek 198. 2 hrs rbis n/a His abs will continue to be horrible he has the worst contact and line drive pct which show he cannot getaround on the ball. Ok he went trough a divorce that doesnt make your bat slow down for 3 years. The red sox will sign tek Only to give up on him by middle of may an that is strecthing it iam sorry curt but you of all people shouldnt protect him just cause you chose wrong pitches and you had more faith in him than any other pitcher is messed up.

    Please open your browser’s tool window and click on the ‘Spell Checker’, thereby activating it and saving us from wasting 45 seconds of our lives.

  82. Rob Bailey permalink
    January 23, 2009 12:16 pm

    How was Yorvit Torrealba playing in his second season in the 2007 World Series with the Rockies when he was the backup to Santiago 5 years prior?

  83. Rob Bailey permalink
    January 23, 2009 12:20 pm

    Wait, nvm, I think it’s second season with the Rockies. I just had to reread it. Think I got it.

  84. January 24, 2009 9:54 am

    Curt, I hope you pitch the 2nd half with the Red Sox and I think the Red Sox should get Tek back AT ANY COST. Do whatever you have to do to sign Tek & PLEASE while you’re at it get Alex Trezza. Tek is great but I’m afraid he’s going to retire or go into coaching soon & Trezza is ready to step up. GIVE HIM A SHOT! He’s got the agility, ability to lead,great batting average & is a team player. Last year he set CanAm League records If you don’t know Trezza check out his stats. Trezza had a very productive season for Worcester last year at the plate and as catcher. He ripped a three-run home run in his first at-bat in a Tornadoes uniform, was one of four Worcester hitters with at least 10 Home Runs and 50 RBIs Trezza also homered in both ends of a doubleheader vs. New Jersey on 6/24 and finished up the season strong by knocking in 28 runs in his final 32 games. Trezza threw out 32.2% of attempted basestealers, including 20 of the last 43 men (46.5%) that tried to swipe a base against him. A team leader and a gamer, Trezza was the only Tornadoes player to appear in all 94 games in 2008. That set a new Worcester record for games played in a season and tied a Can-Am League record as well. THE RED SOX NEED TREZZA! redsoxkid.mlblogs.com

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38 Pitches

Curt Schilling's Official Blog

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