Change-UpJuly 01, 2008
How's That Contract Year Working Out?
By Patrick Sullivan

Taking cues from Andruw Jones, Jason Varitek is sucking some pretty good suck in 2008, his contract year. He's batting .222/.304/.373 on the season, good for a 77 OPS+.

The man that endeavors to be baseball's highest paid catcher in 2009 hasn't hit a lick this season. Not from the right side, the left side, at home or on the road. His .272 BABIP might portend improvement down the road but look a little closer. Applying THT's Line Drive percentage formula of LD% plus .120 of batting average, Varitek might actually be a little over his head on balls in play (his LD% is 12.2).

With a reputation for clutch play and leadership, it's particularly interesting to check out how Tek has performed in June with David Ortiz on the Disabled List. Heck if we want to discuss intangibles and evidence of doing the things teams need over and above what might be asked of you, let's compare him in June to the Unclutch Overlord himself, Nancy J.D. Drew.

          AVG   OBP   SLG
Varitek  .122  .205  .176
Drew     .337  .468  .848

I know the catcher position is thin in MLB these days, but the Sox better think long and hard before capitulating to the "but Posada got paid" line of crap the Boras camp throws at them this off-season.


That line looks unrealistic for a hitter that plays most of his games in Fenway! He should batting 9th, or have the DH hit for HIM. I imagine Dice-K, Beckett, and Colon could hit better.

Hey Patrick. Fellow Bostonian here. The problem is the Sox have no one in the minors ready to help out, and I say that even as my boy George Kottaras dongs his 15th AAA HR. The way I see it, the question is, do you think Varitek should be a starter next year, or do you think he should be a $10 million starter? As poor as he's been offensively, I think his defense and game calling skills preserve his spot in the lineup for at least a year or two more. I would even pay him a ridiculously high salary, but you might differ. If Tek demands more than that, which he certainly might based on Posada's deal, than geez, the Sox brass have got one tough decision to make. Time to revive those Saltamacchia trade rumors?

Okay, Varitek had a bad MONTH at the plate...he is not having a bad season!

He had an .809 OPS in April, and an .913 OPS in May. He fell into a slump in the month of June with a .404 OPS.

Lets not jump off a bridge just yet!!!

Saltalamacchia? Laird? Teagarden? Ramirez? The Rangers have catchers to deal, now or this winter. Seems like Teagarden might fit well, good game caller who draws walks.

No offense, but this is a sabermetric site. I would expect that if you assert a player's game-calling and defensive skills as justification for maintaining his spot in the lineup over replacement value, you should provide some evidence for the Red Sox to do so. While the Sawx have vast resources at their disposal, they do have limits, and perhaps paying somebody $10 million or more on the basis of his intangibles may brush up against those constraints.

The Red Sox are run by the smartest people alive. They pick a number and don't go over it for anything. If Varitek continues to stink up the joint, I could see them offering him a one year contract for decent money, but no way they give him another long term deal.

Couldn't agree more. The Sox will have a solid number for 1 year and one for a 2 year deal. They will not offer more than that.
BTW, how's that Posada deal working out for NY?

"BTW, how's that Posada deal working out for NY?"

Hard to say, given that it's 1/2 a season into a 4 year deal. Considering the options to replace him, I'm still ok with the deal. Yes, he was hurt this year. Yes, he's an old catcher. But the man can still hit. Let's see how the deal looks in a couple of years (and yeah, I know it might look very bad).

One wishes they hadn't traded Navarro (sigh). Now I'm reduced to hoping that Montero is actually a catcher (unlikely), that Cervelli is more than a backup (unlikely) or that Romine is special (no idea?). In the meantime, give me Jorge, even as he ages.