Who should get the bulk of the work at catcher for the Red Sox?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from -EdithBunker-. Show -EdithBunker-'s posts

    Who should get the bulk of the work at catcher for the Red Sox?

    By Mike Cole/NESN
    When the lineups were announced on Tuesday night for the Red Sox' game in Baltimore with the Orioles, one thing noticeably stood out. Jason Varitek was in the lineup and catching for right-hander Clay Buchholz.

    It was a curious decision for a ballclub that spent much of the offseason and spring training insisting that Jarrod Saltalamacchia was going to be the starting catcher, especially considering it was usually Saltalamacchia who catches Buchholz.

    And now, here we are in the last week of April, with what could easily be called a catching platoon. With Varitek likely getting the start on Wednesday as well, you could even start to argue that Varitek is working his way back into the starting role.

    That makes sense, to an extent. Even with the loss on Tuesday on the heels of Buchholz's 12-hit outing, the Red Sox are still 6-3 in games Varitek starts. They had won his last five starts entering the series opener. You ride the hot hand; that makes sense.

    But, the Red Sox have to be careful how frequently they do that, especially early on.

    When the Red Sox stumbled out of the gates, a lot of the blame was placed on the pitching staff. And since it was Saltalamacchia doing the bulk of the catching, a lot of the blame was placed on him, although it's pretty safe to assume he was not calling for belt-high fastballs down the middle third of the plate.

    Slowly, as much of New England started to point at Saltalamacchia as one of the chief reasons for the aforementioned struggles, Varitek started seeing his name on the lineup card more often.

    With Tuesday's decision to start Varitek -- with Varitek likely getting the nod on Wednesday, too, with Josh Beckett on the mound -- it looks like Terry Francona is not afraid to give Varitek more and more starts.

    Even while the strongest Saltalamacchia defenders would have to acknowledge the success that Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka have with Varitek behind the plate warrants some sort of a split, having Varitek behind the plate for a Buchholz start has to send some sort of red flag.

    The Red Sox are walking a line when it comes to the catching situation. They're going to need to be careful of how much they play Varitek with it still being early in the season.

    For starters, if they think that Saltalamacchia is still going to be the guy going forward, he's going to have to play at some point. He's never going to get better at calling games while sitting on the bench, and he's not going to develop any sort of rhythm at the plate. And while the sample size is small, Saltalamacchia is starting to come around some.

    He struggled at the plate on Sunday in Anaheim, but he was the recipient of an absolute gem from John Lackey. In fact, in the last four games with Saltalamacchia behind the plate, Red Sox starting pitchers have given up just two earned runs. He also chipped in with four hits and three RBIs at the plate in that stretch, more offensive production than Varitek has had all season.

    The Red Sox need to continue to try and build on that sort of production with Saltalamacchia calling the shots. They need to do so for not only his sake, but for Varitek's as well.

    We've seen what happens to Varitek as the innings add up. He's a 39-year-old catcher, and not surprisingly, as the temperature rises, his production usually tends to drop.

    What good does it do anyone to continue to potentially harm Saltalamacchia's confidence, rhythm and development while simultaneously wearing down Varitek in giving the majority of the starts to Varitek?

    Varitek should www.nesn.com/2011/04/more-playing-time-for-jason-varitek-could-aid-red-sox-without-stunting-jarrod-saltalamacchias-growth.html" target="_blank">continue to get playing time, especially when Matsuzaka and Beckett are on the hill. But, the Red Sox must resist the temptation to go to the well of Varitek too much and too often -- for everyone's sake.

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from jete02fan. Show jete02fan's posts

    Re: Who should get the bulk of the work at catcher for the Red Sox?

    Morning E, it would probably be an easier decision if one of them were performing head and shoulders above, obviously they both have their difficulties, if you go with Salty, does he progress without holding back the pitchers?, if you go with Varitek, do you live with his pitch handling but not so good throwing?...of course it would be better if you were talking about riding the hot hand, but with both scuffling at the dish, and(at different points) behind the plate,which guy gives you the best chance to win daily?...experience has gotta count for something...guess i'd go with Tek til he shows signs of wear... 
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from slomag. Show slomag's posts

    Re: Who should get the bulk of the work at catcher for the Red Sox?

    Salty.  Not so much for his performance, but because the fans and media have developed an unhealthy connection between Varitek and the performance of the pitching staff.  That's not to say he doesn't contribute to their success, but we seem to be stuck in the notion that the pitchers are always going to stink without him.  The sooner we break that illusion, the better - if not for Salty, then for Exposito or Lavarnway or Federowicz or Wagner or whoever comes after.
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from Alibiike. Show Alibiike's posts

    Re: Who should get the bulk of the work at catcher for the Red Sox?

    Does it really matter? Who is our emergency catcher now that Mike Lowell is retired?
    Francona is really screwing this up. He needs to let Salatalamacchia catch full time at least until the middle of May. If he still has issues, send him down and bring up Wagner.
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from hill55. Show hill55's posts

    Re: Who should get the bulk of the work at catcher for the Red Sox?

    I'd let each starting pitcher decide. Pitching likely will make or break this Red Sox team so I would accommodate each starter's wishes. (Of course if all five starters want the same catcher, that's a problem because every catcher needs an occasional day off).
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from Alibiike. Show Alibiike's posts

    Re: Who should get the bulk of the work at catcher for the Red Sox?

    In Response to Re: Who should get the bulk of the work at catcher for the Red Sox?:
    [QUOTE]I'd let each starting pitcher decide. Pitching likely will make or break this Red Sox team so I would accommodate each starter's wishes. (Of course if all five starters want the same catcher, that's a problem because every catcher needs an occasional day off).
    Posted by hill55[/QUOTE]

    Negative. That's the problem already with this team, no discipline. Next thing you know, pitchers will want a certain middle infielder playing because they don't feel comfortable feeding one or the other on a DP ball. Or want to pick the guy who plays CF if he throws a lot of FO's.
    The manager makes the decision, if the pitchers don't like it, there are a bunch of guys on the farm just itching to get their chance.
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from Hammah29r2. Show Hammah29r2's posts

    Re: Who should get the bulk of the work at catcher for the Red Sox?

    I know, it's cause tek wraps his right hand fingers with white tape to make sure the pitcher can see his signals clearer..............(tongue firmly in cheek)
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from BaseballGM. Show BaseballGM's posts

    Re: Who should get the bulk of the work at catcher for the Red Sox?

    Salty.  Not so much for his performance, but because the fans and media have developed an unhealthy connection between Varitek and the performance of the pitching staff

    True.

    Also, please note that Buch's last outing with Salty was better than his very next outing with Varitek. Also note that Buch lobbied to keep VMart and, since trying to adjust to Salty and Varitek, has not pitched the lights out ERA season ball from a year ago.

    Note that Buch has had career issues with pitching to Varitek, where the gold standard, CERA, shows the large problems with looking at Varitek's fingers when he pitches and shakes off the calls or locations or pitch types that he won't throw at that moment.

    The hysteria over any catcher not named Varitek is a complete bugaboo. Salty doesn't move well to block, and doesn't throw well. But neither does Varitek. Salty just caught a shutout, on the "Magic fingers" theory. The hysteria is simply someting for a bereft talking points media and fanbase to bloviate about.

    Theo should have long since put a solid throwing and blocking defensive catcher on the roster. He should sill do that. But it's sill hysterical to watch what happened on the Left Coast, with Salty catching a shutout in between Varitek's magic fingers act, and pretend that the soap opera on catching is this critical final straw.

    Theo made this bed. Salty had issues throwing the ball back to the pitcher, muc less defend well as a catcher. He was a reject, just like Hermidia was. The odds are against rejects, even if the lottery is one every blue moon.

    Theo needs to either go wtih Salty, or send Salty to AAA to catch everyday and get a solid experienced good throwing and blocking catcher on the roster. Varitek has no business being more than a backup, if that. He can't move, can't throw, and can't hit. The magic fingers voodoo notion is pure bugaboo. He's experienced and has a good marriage with Beckett, just like Buch had a good marriage with VMart.

    Get over it, stop the soap opera, and make Theo accountable for his decisions. He either needs to go with Salty, or replace him with what would then be the only good defensive catcher the Red Sox would have had all season.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from Alibiike. Show Alibiike's posts

    Re: Who should get the bulk of the work at catcher for the Red Sox?

    In Response to Re: Who should get the bulk of the work at catcher for the Red Sox?:
    [QUOTE]I know, it's cause tek wraps his right hand fingers with white tape to make sure the pitcher can see his signals clearer..............(tongue firmly in cheek)
    Posted by Hammah29r2[/QUOTE]

    After his 4 page feel-good story, he should be be the top catcher in MLB.
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from DirtyWaterLover. Show DirtyWaterLover's posts

    Re: Who should get the bulk of the work at catcher for the Red Sox?

    Salty should get the bulk of the work. 

    Tek is at the end of his career.  Salty is a potential replacement.  If tek was 4 years younger, Salt would be down in the minors.  But Tek can't handle the work load.  So if Salt is seen as the potential replacement, he needs to get his work in.  He needs to get experience behind the plate.  He's not going to learn sitting on the bench.

    Plus, if you want a good catcher in the post season (making an assumption) then you start Tek - and play Tek in every post season game.  But, if that's the plan, then you have to limit his playing time otherwise he'll be blown out by the post season.

    It's not just about who's the better catcher right now.  It's about what you want at the end of the season, when the games really count.
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from JimfromFlorida. Show JimfromFlorida's posts

    Re: Who should get the bulk of the work at catcher for the Red Sox?

    I'd go get Ivan Rodriguez to catch with Tek. Yes they are both old but they both can get staffs to pitch.
    Yes the hitting may suffer but I'd rather the stafff be at top form every game rather than just at top form when Tek is catching.


    I'd leave Salty in AAA till July and if he finally gets it bring him up and work him in.
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from harness. Show harness's posts

    Re: Who should get the bulk of the work at catcher for the Red Sox?

    I believe that decision is Tito's - and not ours.
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from georom4. Show georom4's posts

    Re: Who should get the bulk of the work at catcher for the Red Sox?

    remy had it right last nite - tek and salty alternate now but as the yr goes on, Salty will play more given Tek's age and body wear
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from BurritoT. Show BurritoT's posts

    Re: Who should get the bulk of the work at catcher for the Red Sox?

    All the more reason to have another alternative.  Everyone is waiting for the day Varitek is too lame to even make it out of the dugout, and then what? When we need him most he will be on the DL, this is not good.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from harness. Show harness's posts

    Re: Who should get the bulk of the work at catcher for the Red Sox?

    This is why I advocated carrying 3 catchers.
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from BurritoT. Show BurritoT's posts

    Re: Who should get the bulk of the work at catcher for the Red Sox?

    Maybe not a bad idea but if two of the three combined can't perform at a MLB level it sort of becomes a waste.
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from ADG. Show ADG's posts

    Re: Who should get the bulk of the work at catcher for the Red Sox?

    Tek kind of stunk tonight. Multiple passed balls and his continued ineptitude at the plate. No matter what they so, you can't keep a .094 hitter on the field no matter how much he means to the pitching staff.

    How many runs has he COST the team through his lack of offense. 33 AB's and only 1 total run produced (0 Runs and 1 RBI). That is truly pathetic.
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from FarmFan. Show FarmFan's posts

    Re: Who should get the bulk of the work at catcher for the Red Sox?

    In Response to Re: Who should get the bulk of the work at catcher for the Red Sox?:
    [QUOTE]Salty.  Not so much for his performance, but because the fans and media have developed an unhealthy connection between Varitek and the performance of the pitching staff.  That's not to say he doesn't contribute to their success, but we seem to be stuck in the notion that the pitchers are always going to stink without him.  The sooner we break that illusion, the better - if not for Salty, then for Exposito or Lavarnway or Federowicz or Wagner or whoever comes after.
    Posted by slomag[/QUOTE]

    Perfectly stated slomag, Varitek catching will only hurt the team because his time has obviously come and gone.  We need to develop a catcher now and not wait another five years. 

     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from ADG. Show ADG's posts

    Re: Who should get the bulk of the work at catcher for the Red Sox?

    FarmFan - Thank you. Everyone things Tek helps the team out, but how much does he cost the team by his inability to produce any runs, his defense, and his inability to throw any runners out. 3 for 33 is a joke.
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from canetime. Show canetime's posts

    Re: Who should get the bulk of the work at catcher for the Red Sox?

    In Response to Re: Who should get the bulk of the work at catcher for the Red Sox?:
    [QUOTE]This is why I advocated carrying 3 catchers.
    Posted by harness[/QUOTE]

    our catching is a black hole and i doubt it gets any better.
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from harness. Show harness's posts

    Re: Who should get the bulk of the work at catcher for the Red Sox?

    If you lived in Seattle for a winter, I'll bet you'd doubt the existence of the sun.

     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from stormcrow7878. Show stormcrow7878's posts

    Re: Who should get the bulk of the work at catcher for the Red Sox?

    For those of you suggesting that Salty be sent down to catch every day and improve, you are talking about a guy with 700 games between the majors and minors behind the plate. This is as good as he is going to get. The BoSox need another catcher desperatly, because no matter how well Tek handles the pitchers, he is awful at every other aspect of catching AND he is one of baseball's worst hitters (now, he was a great player & one of my favorites during his day). This problem won't solve itself.
     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from Alibiike. Show Alibiike's posts

    Re: Who should get the bulk of the work at catcher for the Red Sox?

    Right now it's Pete or re-Pete. Not a lot of options here unless they go get another guy. Is Jason Kendall available? 
     
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