Thursday, December 2, 2010
Red Sox Signing of Varitek Too Focused on the Past
This seems like a move based more on the past than the future. Yes, Varitek has great intangibles and knows a ridiculous amount about the Red Sox pitching staff, but he is old, injuries are probable and his offensive production is questionable at best. It also leaves Varitek and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (who both have lots of question marks) as the only two catchers on the Red Sox roster. I'm assuming this means that the Sox organization believes that Saltalamacchia can start, because Varitek sure as hell can't. The last time he played over 100 games, in 2009, he barely hit over .200. Bill James, the baseball writer and statistician, projects that Varitek will only hit .228 this season with 9 homers. That's if Varitek can stay healthy enough to play in the 72 games that James predicts he will play in. The projected average also seems a bit high, as Varitek will wear down as the season progresses, even as a backup.
You can't deny that Varitek has great intangibles. He is a great clubhouse presence, knows the pitching staff well and can help teach Saltalamacchia, and is the Red Sox captain. $2 million really isn't a lot to spend, so the Sox could be saving money with the signing. However, there comes a point in time when teams need to let beloved players go. Varitek has been a great player for the Red Sox, but it doesn't seem smart for the Red Sox to have resigned him. There were other better options, such as Miguel Olivo, on the free agent market.