Sunday, October 26, 2008


Everybody in baseball wants to get paid. Some want to be paid for what they have done and others wish to be paid for what they are likely to do. Uberagent Scott Boras wants to get paid, too, and will paint as rosy a picture as possible for Jason Varitek. Teammates naturally support each other's desire to get paid as well.

First, the "why you must resign ' The Captain' " for megabucks

  • All-Star catcher
  • Red Sox .597 winning percentage with him catching this season
  • Key cog in 2004 and 2007 championship run
  • Caught four no-hitters
  • Game winning homer in ALCS Game 6
  • Legendary preparation
  • Leadership
  • Experience
  • Intangibles
  • Limited alternatives within the Red Sox current control
  • Young pitchers in developmental stage (Masterson, Bowden, Buchholz)
Next, why the Red Sox have to think very, very hard about the extent (money) and duration (years) of contract

  • 1273 career games catching*
  • Zero batting win shares this season
  • Declining win shares trend
  • .220 batting, .672 OPS this season, 100 points lower than career
  • Four for thirty four in postseason this year (.118)
  • Striking out with increasing frequency (the "lying eyes" factor...pitchers with good fastballs can simply throw it by him at this point)
  • Throwing out runners at a declining percentage
  • Winning percentage data reflects differential between Wakefield and other starters
  • Bottom quintile in OPS among catchers with 400 at bats.
  • How big is the market for aging catchers with declining production and high salary?
*Catchers' offensive performance statistically declines after 1200 games caught.

ESPN Magazine came out with their NBA player and team ratings using a matrix of Players, Coaches, GMs, Statheads, and Fans and arguments why each have different perspectives. I am sure that concerning respect within the game, Jason Varitek comes out very high. The question remains however whether intangibles outweigh the inexorable burden of the physical toll that catching exerts, the alternatives, and the 'reasonableness' of his contract demands.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tek is, without a doubt, struggling brutality at the plate. But to let all that knowledge go somewhere else is a crime. They should keep him, but have him play more of a coaching role. If he can teach what he knows to an up and coming catcher everyone benefits. Lets face it the man is a genius behind the plate.