Re: What happens to guys like Veritek?
posted at 12/17/2011 12:53 AM EST
In Response to Re: What happens to guys like Veritek?
[QUOTE]The Red Sox should have addressed the catching postion in the winter of 2009-10. 2010 was the year for Tek to be a mentor, not 2011 and certainly not 2012.
Posted by BurritoT[/QUOTE]
I was shocked when they paid him $5M for 2009. They had a nice chance to really stick it to Bora$$. (Don't believe anything softy says: I argued for pages and pages with harness over the signing.) I had hopes that Kotaras was the real deal. He had been pumped up as a prospect. He still might end up being a good hitting catcher. The VMart deal was an admition that they had little confidence in VTek as a FT catcher. We had a few catcher prospects in our system, but none really rose up enough.
The $5M/2 deal for 2010-2011 was strange in its length, and I guess the Salty trade maybe gave VTek some value as a mentor. His knowledge of the position, the opponent's batters and our staff might be unrivalled, but his arm went from barely accetable to horrid. I disagree with those that say he was too "wooden" to block bad pitches of make defensive plays. He wasn't that bad, and he made up for it in his handling of the staff.
I know you have heard me defend VTek's hitting a number of times, but I really think many posters do not realize the true state of MLB catching offense these days. As bad as VTek's hitting has seemed to be the last 3 years, he still hit 32 HRs, 41 DBLs, and had 103 RBIs in 698 ABs. Out of the 30 catchers with over 790 PAs over the past year, VTek placed 19th. These are almost all starting MLB catchers, and the list includes VMart and Napoli who are more DHs than Cs. VTek's OPS was better than Buck, Torrealba, AJ Pier, Russell Martin, Olivio, and more. Did you see what Buck got paid?
Yeah, a .216 BA and .306 is hard to swallow, but did you know over a third of all MLB teams had a team catcher OBP below .311 since 2009? 17 teams had a worse OPS than VTek had the last 3 years. 6 more teams were just 10 points or less better than VTek. Basically only 7 teams had a team catcher OPS 10 points or higher than VTek's. The numbers don't lie. He wasn't as bad as people think with the bat.
We can argue till the cows come home about CERA and a catcher's influence on individual pitchers, so I won't go there, but the numbers are well documented: we won more with VTek than others. Would we have continued to win more with him as he got older and older? Very probably not. Will pitchers learn to pitch better with Salty? Probably yes, especially if Bobby V allows him to catch everyone. I think we will be OK at the catcher position in 2012. I am worried about the CERA thing, but am hoping pitchers adjust quickly....guys like Beckett and Bard especially.
I'm sure VTek knows the numbers. He knows when he catches we win. It's hard to quit when you feel you are helping your team win, even if maybe your role influences the result in a smaller and smaller way each year. When you are a competitor like VTek, and your team wins 42 out of the 64 games you catch, you feel good after each win. You want to keep it going. Like a drug.
I'll always remember Vtek as a winner. His personal life is his own. We don't know what happened to cause his issues there. We don't know for sure what happened (or all that happened) in the clubhouse this summer. Probably everyone has some regrets and wishes for some do-overs, but I really think this whole "blame game" mentality is getting out of hand here, and in our society as a whole. Nobody is perfect, and harping on those worthy of blame is bad enough, but to heap piles and piles of blame on a warrior like VTek without sufficient evidence is just plain wrong. Nobody here knows all that went on. We may never know.
It's time to put it all behind us, be merry, and look forward to 2012.