Nick Cafardo and Mike Vega are in Baltimore with the Sox as I get a few days off. But with Jason Varitek catching last night, it will be quite interesting to see what the Red Sox lineup is tonight. The catching situation seems like a good topic of discussion for the blog.
Josh Beckett, as you know, has been Cy Beckett in his last three starts with Varitek behind the plate. My guess is Varitek starts tonight and that Jarrod Saltalamacchia returns tomorrow to catch Jon Lester.
The roles have been reversed, with Varitek now the starter and Saltalamacchia the backup. Varitek has started eight of the last 14 games.
Three questions come up:
1. Varitek is on a pace to catch 75-80 games. At 39, can he handle that load?
2. What of Saltalamacchia? The Red Sox spent all winter and spring pumping up his value and proclaiming him their man. Now, midway through April, he’s lost the job. That is pretty much what happened in Texas the last two seasons. What direction does he take now?
3. How long can the Sox get away with this? Varitek is in tremendous shape and he’ll give the Sox everything he has. But the odds of his staying healthy are long. You have to assume the Red Sox are giving serious thought to obtaining a catcher.
Meanwhile, doors are swinging open for prospects such as Luis Exposito, Mike McKenry, and Tim Federowicz. The Sox are begging for somebody to step up and grab this job.
The Sox have the least productive catchers in the game right now (.151/.235/.192). Yes, it’s a small sample size. But a .426 OPS? Yikes.
What’s your take, whom do you want catching? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments section.