29 Jan 2009
I feel obligated to bring up what has become one of the most tedious negotiations in Red Sox history. In one corner you have an aging Jason Varitek, he of the poor decision making agent. In the other corner you have the Red Sox, a team not overly enthusiastic about entering Spring Training with Josh Bard and either George Kottaras or Dusty "No I’m Not a Stripper" Brown. Tony Massarotti of Boston.com says Varitek has until 8:30am Friday to make up his mind.
Look, the Red Sox need Jason Varitek and he needs them.
If it is pride getting in Varitek’s way, please, times are tough right now, and I’m only talking about in the world of baseball. On the other hand, if the Red Sox are trying to make some point to Varitek or his agent Scott Boras, then they hurting the team and that’s no good.
Just get a deal done. I had suggested 2 years for $15mm a few weeks back and while that seems much higher than the reported offer the Red Sox have made (his choice of a 1-year at $5mm or 1-year at $5mm with a 2nd year team option at $5mm or a player option at $3mm), it would seem to be a deal that both sides could accept. Even a 2-year, $12mm deal would mean that the Red Sox have a veteran receiver coming into camp along side Josh Bard.
WEEI reported today that Varitek was considering either sitting out the 2009 season or retiring all together. The "sitting out the 2009 season" idea is crazy as he only needs to sit out until June and then any team can sign him without giving up a 1st round pick. The retirement scenario is possibly more likely, but after getting divorced this past off-season, I have to assume his pockets are a bit lighter than they were this time a year ago and a few million more in income might help. Please, he likes playing baseball, right?
At the end of the day, I really don’t care the thoughts rattling around Varitek’s head. Just sign the deal and go play baseball for one more year (or two). Baseball spending is down about 50% this off-season and as such, he shouldn’t be too concerned with signing a deal that represents an annual pay cut of 50%. Especially with the lousy numbers he posted in 2008.
Just agree and go have fun Varitek. Otherwise, at 8:30am Friday morning, you might be looking for a new line of work.