Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?

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    Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?

    Jason Varitek is an above-average 2nd/3rd string catcher; the real question is "what do you do with the roster slot(s)?"

    Apparently Ryan Lavarnway has captured the imagination of those on the board.  He's a great prospect; and that's what he is.  He is not going to get  better sitting on the Boston bench; he will start next year in Pawtucket and if we're all lucky, learn the strike zone a bit and get some plate discipline. 

    If you think he's a starting catcher on a championship team, wow.

    Salty is a starting MLB catcher.  You may or may not like him in that role; but I don't think he's a top area of concern. 

    Which leaves Jason.  Good citizen, good spare part, looked to hit a little better this past year than the '09/'10 seasons.  Could come *very* inexpensively - and importantly, not require a lot of FO attention.  And the reality is that once Lavarnway / someone else is ready to join the team, he is easy to get rid of.

    Read that part again; it's important.  Tek would be easy to get rid of.  I doubt we'd see a huge clubhouse stink about it.  GM lets him know it's time to retire, or they will give him his release.  Either way is fine.

    He is cheap depth, and not at all in Lavarnway's path of progression.

    Other comments in thread:

    * The Red Sox HAVE BEEN scouting and trying to draft catching.  Perhaps you've heard that there are 31 other MLB teams?  It's not easy.  They had to part with $2.5M to sign Nick Swihart, who was in love with UTexas and is a good prospect.

    * Much as I enjoy 'Tek to have around as cheap depth and being a decent guy, he was captain on a team with a bad clubhouse, so how does that exactly make him good coaching material?  Maybe a pitching coach .... sure worked for Dave Duncan.

     
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    Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?

    In Response to Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?:
    [QUOTE]Varitek caught (started) 40% of the 162 games. His impact in team wins/losses was huge. It has been for over a decade. Moon , terrific work. It's appreciated. I never bought into minimizing the disparity to .25 - .50 because the W/L record says otherwise.
    Posted by harness[/QUOTE]

    I'm a big fan of Tek's and I would be fine with him returning as our B/U...The reality is whenever we try to arrive at his impact on the club the sample is skewed by two facts. Varitek always catches Beckett and never catches Wake. Also with the pennent on the line, with Varitek behind the plate, Beckett lost twice to the O's when we needed a W and Lester with the rookie behind the dish gave us a quality start...

    During the month of Septmeber when we needed our pitching staff to step up...Varitek had little positive effect, that's a fact...
     
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    Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?

    In Response to Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back? : I'm a big fan of Tek's and I would be fine with him returning as our B/U...The reality is whenever we try to arrive at his impact on the club the sample is skewed by two facts. Varitek always catches Beckett and never catches Wake. Also with the pennent on the line, with Varitek behind the plate, Beckett lost twice to the O's when we needed a W and Lester with the rookie behind the dish gave us a quality start... During the month of Septmeber when we needed our pitching staff to step up...Varitek had little positive effect, that's a fact...
    Posted by Beantowne[/QUOTE]

    Where in the lineup will the Red Sox hide Varitek's wiffle ball bat? A corpse can steal 2B on Varitek, who couldn't throw out a newborn.

    Varitek's value was never higher than it was after the 2007 season. He should have been gone. Time to let go of baseball card bubble gum nostalgia.
     
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    Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?

    I have always been a big backer of Tek but age and wear and tear have take their toll. He was great in his prime but now is the time to move forward on the catcher position and look to the future. No one player on the team, including pitchers, should be given too much credit for wins and losses. Wins and losses are team numbers.
     
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    Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?

    In Response to Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?:
    [QUOTE]My question is this. After the 08 season, he was a Class A Free Agent. He and Boras were asking a crazy amount of money. Theo said fine, he did NOT offer him arbitration, go ahead and test Free Agency. There was not a Team, who offered him a contract. 31 GM's in baseball did not offer him a lesser offer, maybe not what he wanted but something. It puzzles me why would a guy who handles pitchers like he does, did not get anything from other teams. Especially ones that had young Pitching Staffs. Why? It would be worth a couple of Draft Picks, for a Catcher of his caliber. Never understood this. If you remember Henry flew to his house to sign him, to a cheap contract. I guess 31 GM's did not get it.
    Posted by bobbysu[/QUOTE]You don't quite have all the details right.

    The RS after 2008 did not make Varitek a financial offer, the offered him arbitration.

    That arbitration offer because Tek was a Type A would require the team signing him a first round pick plus whatever Boras' demand were. Because the arbitration award was estimated to be as high a $10M for one year, nobody wanted to get involved with Varitek.

    While that situation certainly defined boundaries on Varitek's market vale, it was far from a read that nobody was interested in his services, only that the perceived terms were not of interest. He ended up signing with Boston for two years for less than the estimated arbitration award would have been. 
     
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    Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?

    In Response to Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?:
    [QUOTE]....The question here is do we want Varitek back...maybe the better question is do we really want Salty back...I don't. If that means Lavarnway learns on the job just like Salty go to this year, then so be it. I don't think anyone has been as atrocious defensively behind the Sox plate, or even as lazy as Salty. Catching in Boston should be a premium position just like Shortstop. Yet, both positions are not on the team's importance list when it comes to filling those spots. They used to be important--Fisk,Tek....Burleson,Nomar,Cabrera....now they are merely positions for the Sox to fill with lower priced talent. Defense is not a priority for either spot. It's part of why the Sox are not in the playoffs. Well said, danny. I'dlike to add that I'm not sure how good VTek is as a teacher.  We hoped VMart would leaarn from the "master". We hoped Salty would learn quickly from the "master". VMart got no better after 1.5 years. Salty got worse. I also think Lavarnway can be no worse than Salty behind the plate.
    Posted by moonslav59[/QUOTE]

    To what end? The Red Sox have a hard time of letting go of fading players. Cut the cord now, and move on. If he didn't provide leadership, then strip his captainship, and the only way that happens is if he's not on the team anymore.


     
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    Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?

    In Response to Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back? : I'm a big fan of Tek's and I would be fine with him returning as our B/U...The reality is whenever we try to arrive at his impact on the club the sample is skewed by two facts. Varitek always catches Beckett and never catches Wake. Also with the pennent on the line, with Varitek behind the plate, Beckett lost twice to the O's when we needed a W and Lester with the rookie behind the dish gave us a quality start... During the month of Septmeber when we needed our pitching staff to step up...Varitek had little positive effect, that's a fact...
    Posted by Beantowne[/QUOTE]

    Well said. Plus he will 40 for the 2012 season. Do you really want that on a team that faded down the stretch due to injuries? Lavarnway has nothing left to prove at AAA. 

    Let Varitek go find a job elsewhere. He won't. Just like Wakefield.

     
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    Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?

    I'm a big fan of Tek's and I would be fine with him returning as our B/U...The reality is whenever we try to arrive at his impact on the club the sample is skewed by two facts. Varitek always catches Beckett and never catches Wake. Also with the pennent on the line, with Varitek behind the plate, Beckett lost twice to the O's when we needed a W and Lester with the rookie behind the dish gave us a quality start...

    During the month of Septmeber when we needed our pitching staff to step up...Varitek had little positive effect, that's a fact...
                          

    True, though investing time and money in 40 plus Varitek even as a BU would be a joke!         

    You also failed to mention that Varitek is a passed ball machine with no arm strength (Vlad can steal 3rd on him). You also failed to mention that Varitek, even as a BU, is a vitual auto out for the final month or two of every season!

    The team is a massive budget 3 year disaster without competent leadership upstairs or downstairs. Varitek needs to be shown the door since he has such a giant ego that he won't retire.
     
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    Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?

    I ask again, unless the Reds get him signed before he hits FA, why not Ramon Hernandez. Outside of Boston he thought to be every bit the pitcher's catcher that Tek is, he can hit better tha Tek, could catch 4 out of 5 starts for a 20-25 game stretch with ease and he is much better at controlling the running game. 

    He costs the RS maybe $1M more. He's 5 years younger than Tek (which in baseball years is huge). He can play 1B which is a plus and probably means he could catch Wakefield (the other lingering long tiime RS). And a new manager can start without a captain (Dick Williams is somewhere smiling). 

    I am not in a twist about Tek as a back-up and haven't been like some when he exercised his option for 2010. In a world where everything goes right he is more than a league average back-up. 

    But IMO Hernandez is a very attractive option and far more likely to be able to catch 50-60% of the starts if that's the way the RS went. Tek can't do that IMO, his body will betray him. It doesn't make Tek a bad guy, just in baseball years and in particular catcher years a very old guy.

    I like the idea, if we have the money left over when finished filling higher priorities. 

    People think I am attached to VTek and Wake. I am not. I don't really even like Wake that much. My point has always been that these guys are back-ups. They are cheap. They are effective in the role of back-up. Until we have someone better, I'm not ready to say good bye. It's not easy finding better back-ups for $1-2M. I do not think we have a lot of money left over to spend on our #7 starter and the catching position since we already have Salty and Lavarnway, in fact, I don't know if Theo will even spend the million maybe needed to bring VTek back. He may just go with Lava and Salty. I don't think he will spen on getting Ramon, but I do like him.
     
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    Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?

    In Response to Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?:
    [QUOTE]IT IS TIME TO LET HIM GO... WE HAVE 2 CATECHERS 
    Posted by bballfan99[/QUOTE]

    We don't have 2 catchers. 
    Salty regressed not progressed. 
    Lavarnway is a DH.

     
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    Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?

    Lavarnway will be an interesting situation. Now I don't begin to claim that I can access all the fundamentals of catching from observation and certainly would not claim to have been able to do that based on the 12 or so innings Ryna caught in MLB this year.

    But the folks in the know have said that Lavarnway's game in terms of the job of catching needs work. In fact this seems to be more of a highlight of his minor league scouting reports than it was for Weider in Baltimore or even Salty in Atlanta. So it is very real. And there is no reason to assume that Lavarnway's initial impact on pitching would not be equal to or greater than the much maligned VMart given those scouting reports.

    So if you take any heed in that, what we have in Lavarnway is the potential to have the rare combination of plus-plus offense in a catcher. Does it serve the long term interests of the RS to turn him into a PT MLB catcher/DH to get his projected offense here half a season or season faster versus spending under two percent of the 2011 player personnel budget on a veteran back up?

    Just another fascinating hot stove question.
     
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    Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?

    Varitek is washed up and is unable to perform over last month or two of a season, even as a backup. He is a liability in multiple facets.... 

    Even when you are corrected, you still continue with the misrepresentations. I told you already that VTek had an .852 August OPS (about .130 higher than his 2011 season OPS), but you keep trying to convince people he was "unable to perform" for the last 2 months. He also had 5 total bases in his first 11 PAs of September, then had less than 20 PAs the rest of the season. So, basically, you are talking about his last 20 PAs of the season or 6 games.

    You are the master of the small sample size judgements.

    Also, almost the whole team slumped at the end, but you want to blame if all on our back-up catcher and 7th starter. You have no clue. 


    Nice to see VMart doing well splitting season time behind one of the best young catchers in the AL. Terrible Epstein mistake, among many.

    You mean 26 games for VMart and 136 for Avila.  I guess you could call that a split. I call it being a DH and filling in when the catcher needs a rest.

    I'll still take Papi's DH 2011 season over VMart's DH 2011 season, plus Papi's contract was shorter.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from moonslav59. Show moonslav59's posts

    Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?

    You also failed to mention that Varitek is a passed ball machine...

    You can't even get your Sox bashing right. That would be Salty with all the PBs and WP (even in non-Wake games), not VTek.

    You also failed to mention that Varitek, even as a BU, is a vitual auto out for the final month or two

    What you failed to mention is that VTek slumped in only his last 6 games this year or 20 PAs. His OPS, HRs, and RBIs were all above his season averages from August 1st to Sept 8th.
     
    From August 1st to Sept 8th V'Tek did this:
    PA  AB  R  H  2B  3B  HR  RBI BB   BA  OBP  Slg  OPS
    54   50   7  11  1    1    4     11   4    .220  .278  .460  .738

    That's a 600 AB rate of 48 Hrs and 132 RBIs.

    From our BAC-UP CATCHER!  For God's sake!!!!

    You guys think this league is loaded with starting catchers with OPS over .723?  It ain't!!!

    V'Tek is the back-up!

     
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    Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?

    In Response to Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?:
    [QUOTE]Lavarnway will be an interesting situation. Now I don't begin to claim that I can access all the fundamentals of catching from observation and certainly would not claim to have been able to do that based on the 12 or so innings Ryna caught in MLB this year. But the folks in the know have said that Lavarnway's game in terms of the job of catching needs work. In fact this seems to be more of a highlight of his minor league scouting reports than it was for Weider in Baltimore or even Salty in Atlanta. So it is very real. And there is no reason to assume that Lavarnway's initial impact on pitching would not be equal to or greater than the much maligned VMart given those scouting reports. So if you take any heed in that, what we have in Lavarnway is the potential to have the rare combination of plus-plus offense in a catcher. Does it serve the long term interests of the RS to turn him into a PT MLB catcher/DH to get his projected offense here half a season or season faster versus spending under two percent of the 2011 player personnel budget on a veteran back up? Just another fascinating hot stove question.
    Posted by fivekatz[/QUOTE]

    That's the huge question:

    Do we let Lavarnway catch FT so he can learn the position and possibly sacrifice our gazillion dollar staff along the way, or do we impede his progress as a catcher and let him DH near FT next year and save $12M on the budget?

    I realize his top value would be as a great hitting catcher who does a decent job behind the plate (in all areas, not just CS% and PB%), but I'm not ready to hand our staff over to him at this point. To me, he's either our FT DH (with 3rd catcher duties-or possibly as a #2 if we had a durable catcher who can catch 135 games well) or he starts in AAA as the FT catcher and tries to learn fast.



     
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    Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?

    40.
     
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    Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?

    No.  We haven't won a single playoff game in three years with Captain Tek on the roster despite having one of the highest payrolls in MLB.  His alleged leadership had absolutely no positive influence on the September slide.  His .176 post All Star break and .077 September average weren't exactly beneficial.  He can't hit or throw - time to go. 

    Definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. 

    Tek's post All-Star break average over the past three years: .176, .059, .157 is vomit-inducing.  That's half the season where he's not producing at the plate at all.  Like it or not, you need some offensive production from your catcher - especially when that catcher is incapable of preventing runners from getting in scoring position. You could get more offensive production after the All-Star break from a National League pitcher --- literally. 

    Who cares about the comparison to Salty?  Salty's not the answer either.  Varitek had the advantage of catching Beckett and Lester a lot (59% of the innings), while not having to catch Wakefield/Lackey (Salty had to suffer through 85% of their innings).  You think that was an advantage?  Catching Wakefield one game is like three games on a catcher's body.  And yet, somehow, Tek has always managed to skip Wakefield's starts going back a long, long time (which is a good thing, of course).

    Yet the starting pitching was abysmal in September.  Where was Tek's influence when Beckett and Lester were crapping the bed time and again in September?  NO IMPACT WHATSOEVER.

    Age 39 is like 100 in catcher years.  He had some excellent years for us and contributed mightily to our championships - thanks for the memories Tek.  But now he's just a charity case along for the ride (and $) - just like Wakefield.  If you can't hit higher than .157 over the past three seasons after the All-Star break, you don't deserve a ML job.  If you can't hit higher that .129 over the past FOUR (!) seasons in September and .174 over the past SEVEN (!) seasons in September -- aka crunch time -- then it's time to go.

    The month of September KILLED this season.  We don't need players who are simply incapable of performing in September and have a track record of failing time and time and time again in September (as a .174 avg. in SEVEN seasons running is proof positive).



    Just my solicited opinion.
     
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    Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?

     I haven't wanted Varitek back since the end of the 2006 seson. Maybe he'll continue in baseball as a coach or a manager---though as a captain the clubhouse seems to have become something of a disaster---but his days of blocking the path of some promising minor leaguer should be over.
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from moonslav59. Show moonslav59's posts

    Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?

    Ok, then when the staff falls apart next year, make sure you look at the kids who took V'Tek's place...the place he has "blocked" them from for years.

    I'm sure you'll blame it on the new manager or pitching coach, or say all our staff must be injured or something.

    If we start the year with Salty and Lava, then expect higher ERAs from nearly everyone next year. Whoopie! We'll have a better CS%. That should win us enough games to compensate for a sharp rise in runs allowed.


     
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    Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?

    In Response to Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?:
    [QUOTE]No.  We haven't won a single playoff game in three years with Captain Tek on the roster despite having one of the highest payrolls in MLB.  His alleged leadership had absolutely no positive influence on the September slide.  His .176 post All Star break and .077 September average weren't exactly beneficial.  He can't hit or throw - time to go.  Definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  Tek's post All-Star break average over the past three years: .176, .059, .157 is vomit-inducing.  That's half the season where he's not producing at the plate at all.  Like it or not, you need some offensive production from your catcher - especially when that catcher is incapable of preventing runners from getting in scoring position. You could get more offensive production after the All-Star break from a National League pitcher --- literally.  Who cares about the comparison to Salty?  Salty's not the answer either.  Varitek had the advantage of catching Beckett and Lester a lot, while not having to catch Wakefield.  Yet the starting pitching was abysmal in September.  Where was Tek's influence when Beckett and Lester were crapping the bed time and again in September?  NO IMPACT WHATSOEVER. Age 39 is like 100 in catcher years.  He had some excellent years for us and contributed mightily to our championships - thanks for the memories Tek.  But now he's just a charity case along for the ride (and $) - just like Wakefield.  If you can't hit higher than .157 over the past three seasons after the All-Star break, you don't deserve a ML job.  If you can't hit higher that .129 over the past FOUR (!) seasons in September and .174 over the past SEVEN (!) seasons in September -- aka crunch time -- then it's time to go. The month of September KILLED this season.  We don't need players who are simply incapable of performing in September and have a track record of failing time and time and time again in September (as a .174 avg. in SEVEN seasons running is proof positive). Just my solicited opinion.
    Posted by mikezep61[/QUOTE]

    Definition of insanity?

    MOONSLAV

    Mikezep61...army strong!
     
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    Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?

    Varitek was washed up after the 2007 season, when Law said the Sox should dump him. Same for Wakefield.

    Theo kept Wake and Tek...Sox haven't sniffed the World Series since.
     
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    Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?

     The staff fell apart this year on the captain's watch. I'll take my chances---and give my support---to whomever takes his place. All ballplayers get old and their time to leave the game comes. That happened to Varitek a few years ago but he didn't get the message.
     
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    Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?

    In Response to Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?:
    [QUOTE]Ok, then when the staff falls apart next year, make sure you look at the kids who took V'Tek's place...the place he has "blocked" them from for years. I'm sure you'll blame it on the new manager or pitching coach, or say all our staff must be injured or something. If we start the year with Salty and Lava, then expect higher ERAs from nearly everyone next year. Whoopie! We'll have a better CS%. That should win us enough games to compensate for a sharp rise in runs allowed.
    Posted by moonslav59[/QUOTE]

    Moon - So how did the staff do this year when it counted under Jason 'C' Varitek? You can present all the stats you want, but how did September go?
     
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    Re: Are You Sure You Don't Want Varitek Back?

    Red Sox record with Tek catching in September: 3-6

    Miller -   2 starts - 17 earned runs in games (WHERE WAS TEK'S VALUE???)
    Lester - 1 start -    9 earned runs in game   (WHERE WAS TEK'S VALUE???)
    Lackey - 3 starts - 17 earned runs in games (Now Tek knows how Salty feels)

    Beckett - 3 starts - 1-2 record w/ 4.24 ERA)

    So not only was Tek's hitting non-existent in September, but his alleged influence on the pitchers was non-existent as well (despite being the catcher in 4 starts from our number one and number two pitchers).

    Besides Jon Lester and Josh Beckett who was a great pitcher before he came to the Sox, which Red Sox starting pitchers have progressed under Jason Varitek's tutelage over the past few years??? 

    I'm not asking if Tek was better than an even more inferior 2nd or 3rd string catcher, but I'm asking how many starting pitchers over the past few years have actually benefitted from pitching to Tek?  Certainly not Dice-K.  Certainly not Lackey.  Certainly not Brad Penny.  Certainly not John Smoltz.  Certainly not Miller.  So who? 

    You can't say Buchholz since he's preferred to pitch to Victor Martinez and Salty (and done quite well).  Proof positive:  over his last 8 starts in 2011, Salty started every one of Buchholz's starts (the Red Sox went 7-1, and Buchholz gave up 0, 2, 0, 2, 3, 5, 1, & 1 earned run). 

    So how come Tek can only succeed with horses like Lester & Beckett?  If he's as good as his press clippings, how come he hasn't been able to have a positive impact over any other starting pitcher besides Lester & Beckett in the past few years?  In fact, a very easy argument can be made that Beckett has underachieved and not fulfilled his potential as a starting pitcher for the Sox.

    It's a pretty easy argument to make that Beckett is going to have to lose his binky and become a professional by pitching to someone other than his buddy (who he wants to keep gainfully employed in this tough economy).  Lester will bounce back and have a great year regardless of who's catching his pitches. 

     

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