DANA POINT, Calif. — Scott Boras may be eying Jorge Posada’s 4-year, $52.4 million deal as a benchmark for Jason Varitek’s future deal in free agency.
Boras spoke extensively about Varitek at the GM meetings here today.
“It’s probably representative age-wise and it’s also representative of what a player on a winning team for very different reasons obviously can do,” Boras said. “You aren’t going to have many catchers with those performance levels, a 60-percent winning percentage on a franchise which has won two championships, caught four no-hitters. I can go on and on. The idea of it is there aren’t many players in the marketplace who lead a team like Jason Varitek can and that’s got to be his value. In many ways his marketplace is unto himself.”
Asked whether it would be tough for Varitek to go to the NL and learn pitchers, Boras countered, “Jason Varitek doesn’t learn pitching staffs. He goes there and teaches them. I think that’s what he does. He gives them approaches, a comfort level. He helps them understand and gives them instruction on how to get their best skills on the field without a great deal of change.”
More from Boras: “When you talk about Jason’s ‘down year’ I’d have to take exception to the terminology based on his assignment, which was 70-80 percent defensive. The Red Sox won 60 percent of their games when he caught. I think over the last five years that’s the same when you’re looking at what they did when Jason wasn’t catching, they were under .500. So when you’re talking that he got them to the playoffs, advancement of pitching staffs under his tutelage — [Jonathan] Papelbon, most recently [Justin] Masterson and [Jon] Lester — I just think you have to go to those players and say what’s the importance of his role? What’s his level or preparation? Position players come to me and tell me what he does and that he must sacrifice some time in the cage. I think Jason Varitek was coming into the first week of June he was hitting .280 or .290. I think he was in the top 10 catchers in offensive numbers. Jason Varitek is paid to lead and help his team win. In past negotiations with Boston his offense was really a very small part of his value to the franchise. There are many examples of this in the marketplace. Go back to Javy Lopez and Pudge Rodriguez. Javy hit 43 home runs. Pudge caught for a world championship team in Florida and Javy got a three-year, $8 million-a-year deal while Pudge got a four-year [deal for $10 million per season] and had nowhere near [Lopez’s] production. And the reason is the Florida pitching staff improved immeasurably under Pudge, as did the Detroit pitching staff when he got there. When the Red Sox win their ballclub makes a lot of money and their value appreciates. Jason’s largest role is about winning and you can say that for Posada too. Posada was injured most of the year and the Yankees didn’t win.”
Boras and Theo Epstein have meetings planned tomorrow.