The Varitek spin machine is working overtime

You must be this tall to win the MVP
Open Threat Thread: Can a blogger get some hot stove action?

Scott Boras must be getting desperate.

Over the weekend, the Boston Herald ran a story alleging Yankee interest in Jason Varitek. Michael Silverman wrote:

A $50 million contract worth some $13 million a year is not in the offing for Varitek. It should require something closer to a two- to four-year deal worth $10-11 million a year to sign Varitek. He is coming off a four-year, $40 million deal.

Teams expected to be in on the bidding include the Tigers and Angels. Do not dismiss the chances of the Yankees going after Varitek as doubt remains about whether Posada’s shoulder, surgically repaired last season, will allow him to catch in 2009. . . .

I dismissed this one. I figured that either Silverman was trying to rile up Red Sox fans or that Boras was attempting to scare the team into believing that someone might actually be interested in Varitek.

Today, I realized it was the latter as the Boras machine ramped up its work. Playing off of a post by Curt Schilling, Ken Rosenthal attempted to excuse Varitek’s bad 2008 by pointing to a divorce and a viral infection that went unreported for the entire duration of the season.

Meanwhile, Rosenthal drops this gem: “The impact of Varitek’s defense and leadership is not measurable. Nor is the impact of his physical and emotional difficulties last season.”

The impact of Varitek’s defense and leadership may not be measurable, but that’s a point up for grabs. What is measurable is the fact that he hit .220/.313/.359 in nearly 500 plate appearances. What is measurable is that he’s shown a fairly significant decline since his career years in 2004 and 2005. What is measurable is that, as a catcher turning 37 a few days after Opening Day, time and history are not on Varitek’s side.

Now, I’m in no position to comment on Varitek’s unreported injuries. Maybe he actually was injured, and maybe the Red Sox and the Boston media managed to miss that fact for an entire season. Or maybe Varitek, his friends and agent are trying to portray his grit and leadership as the defining characteristics in the hope that some team will give him a woefully overvalued contract.

But no matter the truth, I don’t want to see Varitek anywhere near the Yankees. He’s old; he’s pretty useless from an on-field perspective; and he’s one of the few Red Sox I actively would not root for were he to end up in the Bronx. The Yanks don’t need him; they don’t want him; and they have more pressing needs on which they plan to spend.

You must be this tall to win the MVP
Open Threat Thread: Can a blogger get some hot stove action?
  • Matt M.

    so a divorce is suddenly an excuse for a poor season.

    someone please note the tabloids about unclutchy mcclutchstein himself AROD.

    • Mike A.

      Hah, that was my first thought when I read this post.

  • radnom

    Do not dismiss the chances of the Yankees going after Varitek as doubt remains about whether Posada’s shoulder, surgically repaired last season, will allow him to catch in 2009. . . .

    Clear media garbage BS.

    I don’t want to see anyone even discussing this in any comments below this one.
    We are better than that.

  • Relaunch

    The only player I hate as much as him is Youkilis.

    • AlexCT

      i want to throw up every time i see him at the plate with the rat on his chin and his fairy dance batting routine. There is no one in baseball i hate more than him.

      I bought a Joba Chamberlain jersey maybe for no other reason than the fact that Joba pitches high and in to him. Gotta love that.

    • Chris C.

      “The only player I hate as much as him is Youkilis.”


      Let’s see…… probably had no problem with Boggs and Clemens coming here, would probably welcome Jake Peavy, a guy who singled out NY as a place he wanted to stay away from, and would probably welcome a bum like Manny Ramirez with open arms.

      But you hate Youkilas and Jason Varitek?
      Why? Because they remind you of the kind of players the Yankees used to have back when they won championships?

  • pat

    jason varitek doesnt learn pitching staffs,he teaches them- Scott Boras

    • Chris C.

      “jason varitek doesnt learn pitching staffs,he teaches them- Scott Boras”

      Not for nothing, but this is the same kind of hype that Yankee fans used to defend when talking about Derek Jeter.
      Apparently, intangibles begin and end with DJ.

      • Ben K.

        Most intelligent Yankee fans mock the intangible tripe about Jeter too.

  • DP

    In related news, the Yankees have shown interest in offering Schilling a 3 year deal. Completely unreported by the media was that he missed the entire 2008 season because he was campaigning for John McCain.

  • Ol Dirtay

    Let’s sign him and then shoot him out of a huge cannon into the sun. He’s under contract, he’d have to do it, right?
    I’m sure the Union would have something to say about it but I think if we sign CC to a huge contract it’ll offset our murdering Varitek.

  • Joe Fitz

    I don’t think you need to worry about the Yanks offering Vaitek a deal.

    • Chris C.

      Varitek is over the hill.
      But I don’t understand why people hate him.

      Anyone who grabs Schilling by the neck and shoves him against a clubhouse wall has got my respect. This according to witnesses, is exactly what V-Tek did after Schilling accused reliever Scott Williamson of “wimping out” and not pitching through an arm injury.

      • Ben K.

        Did he do that with his mask still on?

        That’s why Yankee fans hate Varitek.

  • jsbrendog (rocks)

    i pray the sox sign him to a 5 yr deal. that’d be so awesome

    • Lanny

      Fat chance.

  • jsbrendog (rocks)

    ps and then i hope they trade waaty to much young talent to texas for a catcher

    • Manimal

      Last time I heard it was Buchholz + two of Justin Masterson/Nick Hagadone/Michael Bowden for Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

        Buchholz OR two of Justin Masterson/Nick Hagadone/Michael Bowden

        • A.D.

          Personally (if I were the rangers) I’d prefer Masterson + Bowden, but the Sox essentially balked at that offer anyways

    • Spaceman.Spiff

      I’d rather see Melky trying to catch Joba behind the plate than Varitek trying to not be a hole in our lineup. At least that way the humor will be intentional…

      • Lanny

        melky could give him a run to see who’s a worse hitter

      • A.D.

        Melk actually had a worse OPS+, but he would be cheaper

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

    Jason Varitek = “Mr. June”

  • Four Train

    This story would have me concerned if I believed that there is any amount of truth to it. I would be more inclined to believe that the Yankees are considering offering 5yrs/$50 Mil to a sack of broken rocks, an entity equally likely to kill our team at the plate next year as is Varitek. Yet, the broken rocks will probably strike out far less (smaller strike zone).

    As for things that worry me, let’s start with A.J.B. getting a multi-year deal . . .

  • Tripp

    How measurable is it for Rosenthal that the Sox have been contacting the Rangers for one of their catchers?

    Seems like the Sox have a whole lot of faith in Varitek for two-four more years.

  • A.D.

    This report makes signing AJ Burnett to a 5 year deal look like a good idea

  • B.George

    I would rather watch two girls one cup for the rest of my life then to see Jason Varitek in pinstripes…even though it is media garbage the thought of this gives me the shakes.

    If Kevin Youkilis ever ends up in pinstripes I would committ suicide…..seriously.

    Does anyone notice that whenever Youkilis gets touched by the baseball he screams in agony for ten minutes???

    • Lanny

      I’m guessing you would be the first to cheer if he was in pinstripes and got a big hit.

    • Chris C.

      “If Kevin Youkilis ever ends up in pinstripes I would committ suicide…..seriously.”

      Oh, please. Cut the dramatics.
      Youkilis is exactly the kind of player the Yankees should be going after.
      The dude is the total package as a baseball player.

      I’ll bet you’d have no problem welcoming in Manny Ramirez though, right?

    • Chris C.

      Does anyone notice that whenever Youkilis gets touched by the baseball he screams in agony for ten minutes???

      I notice that he placed 3rd in MVP voting, plays a flawless 1st and 3rd base, and is on base all the damn time. THAT I notice.

  • mooks

    Isn’t he a type A free agent?

    Anyway, moot point, he is basically back up material at this point in his career, he isn’t going to be a productive starting catcher from this point on.

    Assuming he wants to keep playing (i.e. getting paid), its going to have to be time for him to realize he is going to be one those journey man type defensive catchers from here on out.

    Anyone that gives anything more then a one or two year deal (and that contract should be incentive laden) is probably being blackmailed by Boras who must have dirty pics of the said GM with farm animals.

    The Bosox, might, might overpay him for sentimental reasons, but Epstein doesn’t come across as that type, and you can find plenty of defensive catchers out there, or just get some minor league journey man back up if your desperate.

    Hell, Pudge is still out there.

  • Ed – sign CC immediately

    Varitek could go Detriot, what was rumored to be. Molina is better than him defensively anyway.

  • JimD

    Actually, the illnesses (not injuries) were reported. Varitek lost time in the line-up three different times last season: When the team returned from Japan he was ill; He was sick again in April for a week when the flu hit the clubhouse and lost a considerable amount of weight; and he was sick again in June with strep throat for another week.

    To say that they went “unreported” is not accurate, but then if you don’t follow the team, you wouldn’t know. It only takes a bit of searching however to get it right:

    • Ben K.

      Curt Schilling said they were unreported. Don’t blame me; blame the proselytizing guy on the Red Sox.

    • AEH

      Ben, Schilling’s phrase was “people don’t know.” Rosenthal changed it to, “unreported.”

      Reading that, my reaction was the same as JimD’s: maybe ‘people’ don’t know generally, if they dont’ follow the Sox closely, but I remember those illnesses well. During the bout of flu especially, everyone kept commenting on how Varitek looked like walking death. I got the impression at the time that he probably came back too soon.

  • JimD

    To say Varitek’s illnesses (they were not injuries) were “unreported” is completely inaccurate. They were more than reported in the Boston media as all things Red Sox are!

    He was ill after they returned from Japan:

    From the Herald at the time:

    “On Saturday night, before the exhibition game against the Dodgers before a record crowd of 115,300 at the Los Angeles Coliseum, Varitek fell into a deep sleep on a trainer’s table and unknowingly broke into a cold sweat that briefly drew the concern of the team’s medical staff when they couldn’t awaken him.”

    He was out for a week with the flu in April and lost a bit of weight:

    He was out for a week + with strep throat in June:

  • B.George

    Totally off topic but did anyone watch Gammons on sportscenter? It seems everytime they bring up Sabathia to the Yanks he seems to sweat and tries to say that he is going to Cali trying to say the Dodgers “contacted” Sabathias agent. I wonder if he will have ton console Theo with an extra blow jay once we get CC

    • B.George


  • JimD

    Okay…no blame!

    Curt has wayyy too much time on his hands these days, but at least you gotta give him a little credit for stickin’ up for his batterymate!

    • pat

      Actually no, no we don’t.

  • Phil McCracken

    So his divorce and viral infection were the reasons he couldn’t catch up to 90mph pitches?

    I don’t buy that.

    Its also kinda funny listening to a washed up Schilling try and talk up a washed up Varitek. Maybe they can share bunks in a retirement home.

  • JimD

    Forgive for the second post…I got an error message after posting the first!

    • steve (different one)

      damn Sox scum!!! how dare you double post!

      just kidding…

  • Peter Lacock

    Varitek will never play for anyone but Boston.

    Jorge will be the Yanks everyday C for several more years.

    Jeter will be never play anywhere but SS and of course will retire from NYY. He hasn’t played anywhere but SS since he was a child making any transition near impossible. He is what he is. Accepting it now will make it much easier.

    Pettitte will sign a one year contract with NYY. The amount has to be negotiated and it will take about a month. Whether it’s 10 million or 16 million is meaningless. When you speculate on how good or bad he will be next season remember his off season and spring training were ruined by Clemens and also remember how wrong you were about Moose. Andy is a great Yankee lefty and I believe he will be improved because he believes he will be improved. That’s why he didn’t take any time to think about it but instead immediately said he wanted to come back and open the new stadium.

    Cano will not be traded. Right now he’s really pissed because he knows he’s better than the new AL MVP. He has something to prove.

    AJax will not be traded.

    Hughes will not be traded.

    Manny will not be signed by NYY.

    Adam Dunn will probably never be a Yankee but for sure he won’t be right now. In 5 or 10 years if he’s still hitting HR’s and the Yanks have an unlikely need for a DH they might try him out.

    The only way Jake Peavy will be a Yankee is if all NL teams and the Angels decide they don’t want him. I put it at .000000000001%. The only thing we know for sure is that he won’t be a Padre unless he becomes a priest.

    The chances of the Yankees signing Teixeira are about the same as Peavy. Swisher is now our 1B and any player will tell you, having a position to call your own makes your mind right. Any player will also tell you having your mind right is 90% of the battle.

    Here’s some sage advice for everyone to consider. Don’t believe everything you read. Journalists are taught to take ‘creative license’ and write the story from beginning to end even though they have no or few facts. Some call this jumping to conclusions. Journalists are also required to write stories on a periodic basis even though there is nothing to write about. They also have a need to write stories that people will read. This is called a job and they are wonderful at it but most of it is fiction. I don’t believe anything I read unless it’s a direct quote and much of that is debatable.
    Here is a rule of thumb: If you read 2 stories, one is completely false and the other one is either also completely false or at least partially untrue. Now you just have to figure out which one sentence out of the 100 you just read contains something useful.

    • Relaunch

      I’m pretty sure most people here don’t believe all the rumors they read.
      On the other hand, your analysis is pretty comical. I like your explanation for Petttite
      “Andy is a great Yankee lefty and I believe he will be improved because he believes he will be improved”
      Please keep on posting. You make me laugh.

    • Chris C.

      “en you speculate on how good or bad he will be next season remember his off season and spring training were ruined by Clemens”

      And this season could be even worse.
      If you don’t think Pettitte could be hauled into court by the trainer who is getting sued by Clemens which I believe begins in March, then you’re kidding yourself.

      And don’t give me this “Clemens” nonsens anyway. When Pettitte was standing on the mound in August and September in must-win games for the Yankees, and getting lit up like a Christmas tree, it wasn’t because he had Roger Clemens on his mind, or that he didn’t do enough reps in January.
      It’s because he’s 36, and isn’t the pitcher he used to be.