Remind me again why this game counts?

Is Wilson Betemit expendable?
Open Thread: To buy or sell at the deadline

A select list of catchers who are having a better season than All Star Catcher Jason Varitek™, based on VORP:

A.J. Pierzynski
Kelly Shoppach
Jorge Posada
Chad Moeller
Victor Martinez
Toby Hall
Mike Redmond
Mike DiFelice
Sal Fasano
Ramon Hernandez
Kevin Cash
Chris Stewart

A list of catchers who more plate appearances who are having worse seasons than All Star Catcher Jason Varitek™:

Jose Molina
Kenji Johjima

I understand that the players want to honor those they respect with a spot on the All Star team. I understand that the players may despise A.J. Pierzynski. But frankly, it’s embarrassing to baseball when they promote a mid-season exhibition game under the slogan “this time it counts” while allowing the players to vote a catcher who is hitting .218/.300/.358 over 273 plate appearances and who has nabbed just under 18 percent of would-be base stealers this season on to the All Star team. It shouldn’t count.

Open thread on something entirely different coming later.

Is Wilson Betemit expendable?
Open Thread: To buy or sell at the deadline
  • jsbrendog

    who’s got the trademark on all star catcher jason varitek ™ lol

  • andy

    He’s on the team because he threatened to punch anyone that didn’t vote for him in the face while he kept his mask on.

  • dan

    But… but.. but VORP doesn’t count heart. What about all the blood, sweat, and tears he’s shed for the Red Sox? Huh? How do you account for that?

  • Chris

    Poll on ESPN asked who least deserves to be a starter for the AL team:

    5) Which AL player least deserves to be starting?

    50.5% Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
    38.3% Derek Jeter, Yankees
    3.2% Joe Mauer, Twins
    1.9% David Ortiz, Red Sox (voted to start, but will sit because of injury)
    1.6% Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
    1.5% Josh Hamilton, Rangers
    1.0% Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
    0.8% Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox
    0.6% Manny Ramirez, Red Sox
    0.6% All deserve to start

    So 50% of people think that the AL leader among 3B in OPS doesn’t deserve to start? I can understand voting for Jeter because he’s having a bad year, but he’s no worse than the other SS options.

  • E-ROC

    LOL, Kevin Cash is better statistically than Jason Varitek. How sad is that?

    • Mike A.

      And he can catch a knuckleball too!

      • E-ROC

        I wonder if Chad Moeller would have a better VORP than Varitek if rated through 80 games.

        • E-ROC

          nevermind, i’m blind.

  • Henry Chinaski

    Humberto Sanchez & Bruney pitch one scoreless inning each in the GCL… know it’s wrong thread but will be a few hours till real DOTF is posted and I need to start some drinking now

    • mustang

      That’s a no no.

  • Jamal G.

    Actually it turns out that the players voted for Joe Mauer as their #1 guy. But it turns out that when a players is selected by both the fans and players the most times the the guy with the second most votes by the players earns the reserve spot, in this case Jason Varitek. It still is bad that he was even second on either list.

    As to that ESPN poll, the same people who comment on the Daily News website are the same type of people who comment and vote on polls on, fucking idiots.

  • Jamal G.

    I don’t mean to kick them while they’re down and everything but what are the Red Sox going to do at that position in 2009? I made the notion last night that Ivan Rodriguez and Rod Barajas are the top two offensive options in the upcoming Free Agent market. George Kottaras is is not a Major League starting option offensively. As to the trade market you would think that Texas would fleece Boston knowing how desperate Theo Epstein & Co. are. It is going to be interesting.

    • stefan

      Signing Posada to that contract (and consequently driving up the asking price for free agent catchers) was one of the better moves by Brian Cashman, wouldn’t you say?

  • Jamal G.

    Jason Varitek has thrown out attempted base-stealers at a 17.8% (8/45) rate, that is third worst in the AL and fifth worst in MLB among twenty-three qualified Catchers. Their bullpen sucks and Daisuke Matsuzaka is walking people at a 5.88-BB/9 rate and a 0.74-GO/AO ratio, fuck him, fuck Jason Varitek.

    • Whitey14

      You can’t make silk out of a sow’s ear Jamal. I’m much older than you so I’ll explain that very old saying. Jason Varitek can’t take bad reliever and turn him into a good pitcher. Boston has many bad relievers and it’s up to Farrell to make them better, not Varitek. All Varitek can do is call the pitches he wants, they, including Dice K, either hit the spots or they don’t. Never to my knowledge has a pitcher left Boston and bad mouthed Varitek’s ability to call a game. As for his arm, in my opinion, it’s always been week, this is nothing new. We always accepted it as fans because he called such a good game and the pitchers respected him so much.

      If this had been posada having the bad 1st half, but making the team, you’d probably all agree that it was a bad thing, but I doubt you’d be digging deep to find the stats to support your argument this way.

      • kris

        “If this had been posada having the bad 1st half….”

        Exactly. This is a Yankees blog you fool. They never pretended to be impartial. Again, you are reading a blog by Yankees fans. If you are so outraged, why are you still reading it?

        • Whitey14

          Kris, I totally expect it to be partial to the yankees here, but I also expect good, knowledgable fans to be fair and honest as well.

          You can call me a fool all you want, if that makes you feel good, but I never claimed to be outraged, and you know as well as I do that if the issue was with posada it would already have been dropped. Nobody would be pulling out stats to prove he didn’t belong on the team.

          Get over it, he’s on the All-Star team, no matter how wrong it is.

  • A.D.

    If Tek wanted to do the right thing he should bow out of the game, I don’t care who the hell voted him in, but seriously, this is worse than some of the time Cal Ripken got voted in

    • Whitey14

      I said this in a recent post and I’ll say it here again. If you can find one case of another player having done this in the past then I’ll agree he should do it. There is almost always a player who gets elected that has no business being there so why should he be the one to set precedent? Just because his is the most heinous case? As an analogy, I don’t recall Palmeiro giving back his Gold Glove from the year that he played 27 games at first base? These guys all have contractual bonuses for making All Star Teams and I don’t think anybody feels that Varitek isn’t trying his hardest even when he’s slumping. I hope he gets in the game and drives in the winning run and the A.L. representative gets the home field advantage in the World Series so they can kiss his hairy bean bag.

      I do, of course, realize the chances of that happening are slim. I’m just bored with all the Varitek bashing. Everybody, including himself, knows he’s having a shitty first half, but he didn’t put himself on the team, his contemporaries did. If you ask me, that’s quite an honor and not one I’d expect him to throw back in their face by refusing it.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos

        If we ask you, it’s quite an honor. If you ask us, it’s some hot bullshit. Even you have to admit that this is a bit much. Even as a Red Sox fan, you have to question the integrity and perspective of the MLB players if their votes say all of the following things:

        1) The two most overrated players in baseball are Play-Rod and Jeter.
        2) The two players I’d most like to build my team around are Play-Rod and Jeter.
        3) 2008 Jason Varitek is an All-Star, and outside of Joe Mauer, no other AL catcher is having as good a first half as he is.
        4) The two players least deserving of their All-Star spots are Play-Rod and Jeter.

        Add those four things up and the only conclusions that can be drawn are:
        1) Baseball players are stupid asses,
        2) Baseball players are really smart, see things that the rest of can’t possibly understand and we’re stupid asses,
        3) Baseball players are jealous of Play-Rod and Jeter’s success and thus are consumed with alternating admiration and hatred of them, and at the same time have an unexplained attraction to Varitek, and the phenomenon is limited to those three players, or
        4) the anti-Yankee/pro Red Sox drumbeat of the MSM has seeped into the heads of Baseball players, and so everything a Yankee does is denigrated and everything a Red Sock does is exalted, even if it leads to taking positions that are ridiculously stupid, like saying that Play-Rod doesn’t deserve an All-Star start but that Jason Varitek deserves it more than 30 of the other 33 options.

        Did I miss anything?

        • Whitey14

          tommiesmithjohncarlos–I’ve already posted about a dozen times that I agree Varitek doesn’t belong on the team. I don’t think I can be any clearer. I’m not defending the players for selecting him either. But I’m defending his right to accept the spot that was given to him because nobody else has ever turned one down.

          Nobody’s claiming the players are smart, or dumb, but they voted for the guy they wanted. Do you honestly think they scoured the stats any more so than the average fan? Most of them, just like the fans, voted for who they like.

          I crapped on the voting process last week because I think it sucks all around, but the fans and players have both proven they can’t be trusted to take care of the voting properly so where do we turn next?

  • Paul

    I agree that Varitek doesn’t belong based on this year and it’s hard to justify him based on last year’s performance (which is often done). But to make arguments based only on VORP, which admittedly doesn’t take defense into consideration, is less than persuasive. As one example, using just the Yankee catchers on the chart, anyone who suggested to Girardi and Cashman that they should keep Chris Stewart or Chad Moeller over Jose Molina would be laughed out of town. Stewart was DFA’d recently and anyone who saw him catch when he was with the Yanks can see why.

    Molina is such a good receiver (a concept that the stat heads can’t fathom) that Mike Mussina wants him as his personal catcher. His resigning was a great move — especially as we’re bringing alot of young pitchers up and he can help them alot.

    When I was a kid, two of the best catchers going were Andy Etchebarren and Jerry Grote. Neither could hit a lick, but they handled pitching staffs that achieved terrific results and both made All Star teams. Johnny Bench (no defensive slouch himself) once said that if he and Grote were teammates, he would be playing first base.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos

      Yes, VORP doesn’t consider defense. That doesn’t help Varitek’s case, because his defense sucks. And no, you wouldn’t get laughed out of town for suggesting that we keep Moeller over Molina, because Moeller has actually been just as good, if not better, behind the plate as Molina, and he’s not the offensive black hole that Molina (or Varitek) are.

      Calling Molina a good receiver is far more laughable… he’s been average. And average or bad defensively + horrid offensively = not worth a roster spot. If Cash DFA’d Molina and kept Moeller, I wouldn’t shed a tear. Mussina’s avidity for him (and the fact that we desperately need to keep Mussina’s improbable voodoo going) is really the only thing keeping him around. But, as you recall, Mussina has had other “valet” catchers before (Nieves, Flaherty, Fasano, etc.)… the reason they keep coming and going is because they all suck, and eventually, he finds a new “groove” with a new valet, just like the Sox catchers would when Varitek is replaced. Valet catchers have existed forever, but it’s dumb to make a valet catcher a fulltime starter.

      And Johnny Bench’s comment means nothing. He’s not a GM. Trust me when I say there’s no way that he’d have been at first if Grote was a Red… if you can get plus offensive production at the C spot, you do it and don’t think twice.

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos

    Hey Ben, I need you to do some research:

    Are 2008 Jason Varitek and 2008 Billy Wagner the worst All Stars ever, or just the worst of the past 25 years?

    And I’m not counting obvious “we have to fill the Royals roster spot, let’s take Gil Meche” procedural exceptions or “Cal Ripken is the greatest American ever because he keeps showing up to work even though he sucks ass” logical exceptions, just real, actual all-stars. Varitek clearly has the best PR firm in history (I’m looking at you, Peter Gammons…) It’s shocking to me that MLB players could poll Derek Jeter as the most overrated player in baseball and then turn right around and put Varitek on the All-Star team. I haven’t been this disgusted since 2 Girls, 1 Cup.

    Also, in light of Play-Rod’s comment about not participating in the Home Run Derby because he doesn’t want to fuck up his swing… if that’s true, if I’m Theo Epstein, I’m REQUIRING Varitek to hit in the Derby; that punchless swing seriously needs to get fucked up.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos

      And in case anyone took umbrage at my Cal Ripken comment, according in 2001 he was the AS starter at SS with an OPS of .594 at the break.

      He was elected at 3B, but some schmoe named “Play-Rod” magnanimously flip-flopped with him to let him take the field at SS for his final game. And some schlub named Chan Ho Park threw BP to him during the game and let him turn around an eephus masquerading as a fastball into the seats, earning him the game MVP and thus making people forget how awful he was at the end of his career and how his stupid “record” probably crippled the Orioles ability to assemble a competitive lineup (because no GM or manager would put him on the bench where he belonged…)

    • Ben K.

      I wouldn’t necessarily lump Wagner in with Varitek. While he’s been terrible lately — 7.15 ERA since June 8 — on the season, he’s got a 2.50 ERA and 42 Ks in 36 innings to go along with 20 saves. The players and coaches voting for the All Stars like those numbers.

      I’ll look into some of the worst All Stars who don’t fit the “we have to pick a player from this team” mold.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos

        I knew calling Wagner “bad” was an exaggeration… but you have to admit, of all the “lights-out” relievers in the majors today, his lights are “in” pretty damn often. Every year he looks like the most dominant closer in baseball for three of the six months and looks like Bad Armando Benitez for the other three, and Mets and Phillies fans have just been crossing their fingers that the bad months come during the stretches they don’t need him too often.

  • Paul

    Tommy — Can you explain why Moeller was cut by the Nats (who have Will Nieves on their active roster) and why he cleared waivers once already this season? Do you know more about catching than 30 MLB GM’s put together?

    When you say that if you can get plus offense at C you do it without thinking, I recall a pretty fair manager named Earl Weaver who had Andy Etchebarren catching alot of big games over Ellie Hendricks, despite Hendricks being miles better as a hitter. Ditto for Dick Williams catching Dave Duncan over Gene Tenace.

    If you want to go further back, Yogi Berra didn’t become a Yankee regular until Stengel had Bill Dickey tutor him, and Yogi then turned into one of the best and smartest catchers in the game. Or more recently, one of the reasons the Yanks gelled in 1996 was that they let Mike Stanley go and replaced him with Joe Girardi.

    Have a nice day . . . .