Apparently Jason Varitek misjudged his marketability when he decided to file for free agency in 2008. And apparently the Red Sox overestimated the availability of catchers when they started negotiating with Steve Boras. So the parties have arrived in January with nothing but embarrassment to show for their Winter’s labors.
On the balance sheet for 2009 many baseball fans can sympathize. Items we imagined as “assets,” such as real estate, are depreciated and immovable. We are not bargaining for anything except to break even and survive our economic winter. Some are bargaining just to hold on to those assets until another Spring Training.
So we feel your pain, Red Sox management and disgruntled catcher. We get that no one’s going to win on this negotiation. Do you? Can you just scale down your expectations like the rest of us? Can you complete the roster and be glad you have an experienced catcher and a satisfying job respectively?
We’re not asking a lot of 2009: a job, a house . . . a shot at the World Series. Help us make a piece of that dream come true.
With the signing of John Smoltz (Bravo Theo!), the Sox are nearly ready for another year of contention. The remaining business has been sitting on Theo Epstein’s desk since the season ended: the of signing Jason Varitek.
Considering that Scott Boras represents Tek, and the Red Sox walked away from the table when he tried to squeeze them with Mark Texeira, I can imagine what the obstacles are. But Jason Varitek is more important than his impudent agent.
So I make this appeal to the principals: Remove the middle man and settle this contract as two old friends would. Give a little on each side and make this contract a sign of respect from both sides of the negotiation.
Tek, your active years as a catcher are waning. Concede that the length of the contract should be moderated with incentives or options that prevent the Sox from getting stuck with a lame veteran. Loyalty is one thing, but guarantees that don’t concede the ravages of time on a catcher’s body are not realistic . Give your team a way out.
Theo, this man is the soul of your team. He’s the captain, for Pete’s sake. Let’s show him some respect and take a risk that we wouldn’t take for other players. He deserves some concessions that Ramirez or Crisp never earned. He deserves some security as a catcher who is on the downside of his career. Offer one more year than you feel safe in writing into the contract.
Of course I know nothing about what’s been offered and what refused. I’m just saying, don’t let this season start without Varitek, and, don’t, by any means, let Boras come between friends.
We love Tek as much as we despise his ruthless agent. We want him back, and we want him respected.