Friday, January 16, 2009

The Captain meets The Owner of the Ship

So, it has been said that the captain, #33, V-Tek, Jason venerable Varitek is meeting with John Henry, the principal owner of my beloved Red Sox for better or worse. John Henry has supposedly flown down to Atlanta to speak with Jason upon Jason's request to meet with him.

First of all, let me just say after Jason's paltry just above the mendoza line batting average of .220 and in that year, declined in virtually every offensive category imaginable, he has the audacity to decline arbitration which would have guaranteed him somewhere in the $10-12 Million range for one year.

Jason has always been a defensive catcher first which is fine with me. You can't expect to have a Muderer's row 1927 Yankees lineup out there every year. And for all you baseball fans out there defense and pitching always trumps offense. However, Jason does have his flaws in that realm as well. He caught only 16 base runners stealing over 131 games and more than 1,000 innings logged. But in baseball, production is what gets the money and well, he didn't show any production. There are numerous stats that all catchers with age naturally decline becasue of the extensive wear they put their bodies through being in one of the most physically and even mentally demanding positions. That may be.

When people talk about Jason, they don't say, "Wow! He has incredible power!" or "He has a phenomenol arm!" or even "He's blessed with unbelievable speed." You always hear them talk about intangibles, how he handles a pitching staff, that he's always prepared and does his duediligence with the hitters his pitchers will face and how he is respected in the clubhouse and when he speaks, people listen.

I will never forget hearing Curt Shcilling after being one out away of throwing a no-hitter against Oakland on the road... he said he shook off Varitek and threw what he thought would get him that last out and he kicked himself for not trusting Varitek. Or How Beckett became a 20 game winner listening to Tek instead of trying to throw it by everyone every pitch. And lets be honest, do you really think that the power nibbler otherwise known as Dice-K would have been as successful without Varitek? You nly need to look back to the 2001 and 2006 seasons when Varitek was hurt in each of those two years and the pitching staff was woeful. He makes a difference.

In his 10 years with being with the Red Sox, he was traded in 1997 to us with Derek Lowe for a guy you may remember: Heathcliff Slocumb... best trade Dan Duquette ever made aside from the Pedro deal. They made the playoffs 7 out of 10 times and two World Series!! and 2 of 3 years they didn't make it he was injured and well, chalk the third year up to Woeful management and The Kerrigan Experiment. I'm just saying.

Since the season ended, I have said the following. Give Jason an incentive ladened contract worth like 6 million guaranteed a year for two years. Add incentives like a million if he makes the All-Star Team, a million for every 20 game pitcher, a million for advancing through each round of the playoffs, a million if he bats .280 where he could make easily $10 Million or more per year. And hope that their two Minor league catchers can be ready in two to three years.

I see this meeting having two outcomes as it is ONLY John Henry and Jason Vartek, no Theo, No Larry Luccino and thankfully NO Scott Boras. One, John Henry saying, "Hey, we would love to have you back at this number and he accepts" or two, to tell Jason they really valued his service but we are moving on. I hope Jason can swallow his pride and be the captain we have come to love and put the TEAM first.

I mean we have got some pretty good pitchers for our rotation next year: Beckett, Lester, Dice-K, Wakefiled, Smoltz, Masterson, Buckholtz. Lots of promise and it would be great to have an intelligent, hard working, blue collar, in your face, I got your back Gold Glove caliber veteran catcher behind the dish.

Jason called the meeting... I think he wants back. I have my fingers crossed.

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