Jason Varitek – 33 – Boston Red Sox

I don’t usually post twice in a day.  I usually gather my thoughts and make the most of one post.  However, today I’m making an exception for a very important reason.  At least, it’s important to me.

Jason Varitek is the catcher for the Boston Red Sox.  He is also the captain, one of only three named captains since 1923.  Today, the management of the Red Sox offered Tek (as he’s affectionately known throughout Red Sox Nation) a one-year deal to play for them next season.  This is probably due, in no small part to a) his dismal offensive season last year wherein he hit .220, the lowest total of his career and b) his age since he will be 37 by the time next season starts up.  This is important because catcher is one of the most in my opinion physically demanding positions in the game and a full 1/3 of Hall of Fame catchers have played only until age 37 (at least based on some quick analysis on which there is available data).  I’m also certain that Varitek’s agent, Scott Boras, will no doubt be seeking something much lengthier in terms of contract, as well as, more lucrative.

Thus, I’d like to say a couple of things:

  • Jason Varitek has been an absolutely terrific player for the Boston Red Sox.  He is in every way a captain both on the field and in the clubhouse.  You can see his immense concentration with every pitch.  He’s caught four no-hitters, more than any other catcher EVER in baseball history.  I think that the Red Sox are being prudent in their offer, but I think they could’ve at least afforded two years given that there’s not a lot on the market and they don’t have much in the farm system…to my knowledge.
  • I think that Jason Varitek is nearing the end of his career, and I’d love to see him finish it in a Boston uniform.  However, I understand he might want to latch on with another team and play another couple years.  Any team would benefit from Tek’s vast knowledge of how to guide a pitcher through a game.

With all that, he’s been a 3-time All-Star, a Gold Glove recipient, and he’s come through with some clutch hits in some tight situations for the Red Sox.  I don’t necessarily think he’s a Hall of Famer, although his career stats stack up to a certain degree with some of the greats.    All I know is that he’s a great player and he deserves at least a couple more years to show why.  I also think that the Red Sox should alter their somewhat draconian rules for retiring a number when Jason does finally leave and make sure that his 33 goes up on the facade in right field as soon as possible.  He deserves at least that much.

See you in the funny papers!

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