If I were the GM of the Red Sox …
Rob Bradford emailed over to ask, “What would you do — just you — if you were the general manager of the Boston Red Sox right now, today, with Jason Varitek?”
First off, let’s get a few pieces out of the way.
1. It’s not my money (literally) but I am making this decision based on the fact that we know a $2 million contract, or $22 million contract, has zero impact on anything this team might do.
2. I don’t have to sign Tek for anything above league minimum if I don’t want to.
3. I don’t have a No. 1 catcher.
So here’s my press release/press conference …
The Boston Red Sox would like to announce the signing of catcher Jason Varitek to a one-year, $8 million contract that contains a performance/mutual option for the 2010 season. If Jason is healthy and performs to standards he has achieved in years prior to 2008, he can earn a total of $10.5 million during the 2009 season.
Depending on your viewpoint you could argue that there was a significant mistake made by the agent in this situation, or that the club erred in thinking Jason would accept arbitration, coming off a year we know he considered disappointing.
Jason has been the cornerstone of two World Championships in the past five years. We have always known and recognized him as a key component on and off the field as well as a risk mitigator for any new or young pitcher we brought into the organization. That he was voted in, by his peers, to the 2008 All-Star Game is a fact that should not go unmentioned. In a day and age when the game, and the Red Sox, have placed so much emphasis on a player’s offensive production, it speaks volumes to the ‘intangibles’ Jason has that they were openly acknowledged and recognized by his peers.
In the past 10 years the Boston Red Sox have finished in the top four in league ERA eight times (finishing first three times). We feel that is attributable to the talented staffs we’ve had, and to the fact that Jason has been behind the plate pretty consistently that entire time.
Our goal every year is to win the World Series; 2009 is no different. Anyone that knows baseball knows that we stand a better chance to win in 2009 with Jason catching and healthy, than without.
So rather than push this situation to a place that might have seen us ‘win’ the negotiation, save money, and screw someone that has repeatedly tried to screw us, we didn’t. We wanted to make sure players around the game understand that the Red Sox value their personnel for what they bring both on and off the field, as well as at the plate and in the field.
It is much more important that we win ON the field rather than off of it. Jason is a player we hope has aspirations to retire in our uniform, because we believe this is where he belongs.
We are always on the lookout to improve this club and recognize that while Jason keeps himself in better shape than any catcher in the game, he is nearing a time when catching 130 games a year is not a realistic
option, or the club’s best choice. That is the other reason we felt compelled to make this happen.
Jason has set a standard for catching the “Red Sox way” and both parties agree that part of his responsibility to the team during the 2009 season will be to bring along Mr. Teagarden as the Red Sox next catcher.
Oh and that was the other thing. We’d like to announce a trade. We have traded Clay Buchholz, Pitching Prospect B and Position Player A to the Texas Rangers for Catcher Taylor Teagarden. (Fill in whatever names you need to that makes that trade happen).