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Varitek talks moving slowly

Posted by Tony Massarotti, Globe Staff  January 22, 2009 12:38 PM

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Representatives for the Red Sox and Jason Varitek are continuing to talk in the wake of the catcher's meeting with owner John Henry last week, but the sides appear no closer to a deal than they have been for weeks.

But the nearer we get to spring training, the more likely that will all change.

While it is unclear whether the Sox have made a formal offer to Varitek, the sides have discussed parameters of a deal. Agent Scott Boras's negotiating history suggests that he would not accept any proposal until negotiations fully run their course, and the only deadline facing Varitek is the start of spring training.

Even then, Varitek could resist being in camp from the start, though that would go against some of his general principles and philosophies. In the past, Varitek has taken great pride in maximizing time with his pitchers during camp.

Red Sox pitchers and catchers are due to report to Fort Myers on Feb. 12. Physical exams are scheduled for Feb. 13 and the club's first organized workout is slated for Feb. 14.

According to one source familiar with the negotiations, Varitek has not given up hope of securing a two-year deal, though that outcome seems unlikely. The challenge for the team and player now comes in finding a deal that will satisfy all parties in the wake of the decision by Varitek and Boras to forgo salary arbitration, a process that likely would have earned the player a one-year deal worth $10 million-$12 million.

At the moment, with arbitration no longer an option, Varitek has little leverage and could be looking at a deal for a fraction of that amount.

(Editor's note: A clarification was made to this story on Friday afternoon. The story had previously indicated that it was "believed" the Red Sox had an offer on the table for Varitek. That wording has been adjusted. It is still unclear whether the team has made an actual offer, though there have been discussions about the parameters of a deal.)

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