Captain transitioning to mentor
We’ve heard about this scenario for a couple of years, but now it sounds like it will finally happen. Jason Varitek, who made the transition to back up catcher in the middle of the 2009 season, will now become an official mentor for Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Peter Gammons was among those to report today that Varitek is about to re-sign with the Sox for one year at $2 million. This is a different dynamic than when Varitek was backing up Victor Martinez, a star hitter who had already reached veteran status.
Saltalamacchia is 25 years old and hasn’t come close to reaching full potential. He can not only work regularly with catching instructor Gary Tuck on tricks of the trade, but also Varitek. When Saltalamacchia arrived last year, Varitek was focusing on getting his right foot healthy. Now, it can become a true veteran-prospect catching tandem.
Look for Saltalamacchia to get the bulk of the playing time, but Varitek should be a nice fit against a lot of left-handed pitching. Both players are switch-hitters.
It will be interesting to see if general manager Theo Epstein acquires another veteran catcher as insurance this winter in the event that Saltalamacchia has problems with either his production or his health.