Logic prevails — Back comes the Captain
Really, would it have made any sense if Jason Varitek wasn’t coming back to the Red Sox in a two-year agreement that will hopefully allow the catcher to retire wearing the uniform of the only team he’s ever played for?
It’s too bad it had to drag on this long, but this is where this thing should have been headed all along.
Yes, I know Varitek had a terrible year at the plate. I also know that the Red Sox, as presently constituted, are a better team with Jason Varitek than they would have been without him. His intangibles are real. Ask any pitcher who has ever thrown to him. Just a coincidence that Varitek is the only man in baseball history to catch four no-hitters? Perhaps, but perhaps not.
With this veteran-laden staff, Varitek was the perfect guy to lead again. Perhaps there will come a time when the Red Sox can hand the keys over to their catcher of the future. But that man isn’t even in the organization right now.
Varitek will be 37 in April, but very driven to have people stop talking about his age and his sharp decline with the bat. No matter what Varitek does offensively in 2009, it will be hard for it to be worse than what he did last year.
Why did he turn down arbitration? We still don’t know exactly. Maybe he was scared off by the way the Red Sox re-signed Doug Mirabelli last winter, only to cut him in Spring Training. Maybe having two years guaranteed was a necessity.
It no longer matters. The Red Sox and Varitek found a way to keep a good thing going for a couple of more years.
It would have been surreal for the Red Sox to get to Spring Training without Varitek.
“To me, he’s the backbone of the team,” Manny Delcarmen said today. “Throughout this whole thing, I thought it would be kind of weird not having him in the clubhouse and not having him there to yell at me for not pitching inside. I’m sure a lot of guys feel the same way. Everyone is happy that it’s over. I could not even picture the clubhouse without him in there.”