Contract extension for Varitek in the works?

There’s been some discussions going on in the media recently about the Red Sox getting some contract extensions done before the season begins. I’m all for it, provided they are reasonable deals. Among the names I’ve heard as candidates for extensions include: Terry Francona, Jason Varitek and Jonathan Papelbon.

I listed these talks in order of importance. Francona is a great manager for the Sox. Is he the best in-game manager in baseball? No. But is he incredibly good at handling the players, the press, and the front office here? Absolutely. Without equal. So I say throw him a 3-4 year extension at about $3-4M per year. The Sox don’t overpay like some of the teams out there, and Francona gets a huge raise. Win-win.

Next up, the captain himself, Tek. Varitek is unquestionably the position player who contributes the most outside of his batting line. His scouting and preparation are legendary, and they give invaluable confidence to our pitchers in addition to a tactical edge. Even at age 36, Tek is still a serviceable catcher and an above-average bat at his position. However, that looks to change within the next year or two. A player of Varitek’s stature demands a deal worth at least $8M a year, if he’s willing to take a pay cut. And in the wake of Jorge Posada‘s monster 4-year, $52.4M deal this year, I don’t know if that’s reasonable to expect.

Tek seems to be open to an extension, and why wouldn’t he be? Playing for a two-time World Champion in a place like Boston is a dream job for most players. Sean McAdam seems to think he wants a deal longer than two years, possibly four. And with Scott Boras as his agent, you know things will get dragged out. On the bright side, Varitek has gone over Boras’ head in the past in the interest of getting a deal done.

The Sox don’t have a lot of other options in the cupboard. Dusty Brown, George Kottaras and the like are not going to be ready for Fenway for a long time. Kenji Johjima will likely be a free agent after 2008, but Tek stays in very good shape, he says and does all the right things, he is our captain. And that is worth a lot. I’d be willing to go two years and $22-24M on him, and at the end of 2010, if he can still squat, we can talk about another deal then.

Papelbon is without a doubt our closer of the present and the future. There’s no way we should fail to pay him a fair amount for what he does, but there’s also no reason to sign him long-term until we get to arbitration. I know a lot of teams have been doing it this year; it’s fashionable to sign your Troy Tulowitzki or your Ian Kinsler real early. But what if you sign a guy, and an injury ends his career that year? You’ve effectively locked in money you didn’t have to commit yet. I’m all for giving Paps a generous raise (to $1M or so) on a one-year deal. Then maybe next January, lock him up.

8 Responses to Contract extension for Varitek in the works?

  1. Pat says:

    Good insights. Good post. It will be sad when the Tek era ends.
    I like the idea of a 2 year contract. I think we will be feeling the pains of the Mike Lowell contract in his final year, and I think that would be especially true if we signed Varitek for more than 2. I can easily imagine Theo giving him a big three year contract which is a bit upsetting, but understandable.

  2. Jon Campbell says:

    Definitely. Varitek is the Rock of the Redsox. Without him our chemistry would be off balance.

  3. redsoxtalk says:

    Yeah, he’s really a huge part of this team. I hate to write so negatively about Varitek’s likely playing ability in 2-3 years, but it’s necessary to think about the club’s future.

    If a third year becomes the difference between re-signing Tek and letting him walk, that’d be a tough situation. Maybe if he demands 3 years, we should let him play out this year and come back to the table in November, before the free agency filing date.

  4. Pingback: Francona extended « Red Sox Talk

  5. bosoxgirl says:

    I agree it will be a sad day when the wrath of Tek has finally come to an end. I don’t even like to think about that. I agree as much as I would like to see him with a four year contract I don’t think that will be a good idea.

    I know he will stay in the awsome shape he is in, but who knows how his body will take the constant up and down and crouching. I could see him doing another four easily, but lets not put them all together in one contract, but lets give him what he is worth to our team. He is by far the most valuable player I think on the team, we all know his hitting was down, but he brings a force to the team that is unbelievable, and I personally hope he is around for another 8-10 wishful thinking? yeah probally, but I can hope can’t I??

    On a personal note, I just went to Ft. Myers to see them. I only live 3 hours from there. It was great, they all look good. I missed Shilling didd’nt see him there, any one know why? I read he was doing practices early in the a.m.. Maybe thats why?

  6. redsoxtalk says:

    Bosoxgirl, thanks for reading and your comment. I don’t think it’s Varitek’s fault at all, but the human knee was not built to spend that much time crouching wearing heavy gear. He’s had a great career, and he deserves those two rings as much as anybody.

    Well, Schilling’s shoulder has him on a rest and rehab program, meaning he’s not doing most of the usual stuff with the team. He’s just doing stretching and strengthening exercises, plus possibly some very light throwing. I’m not even sure if he’s down there right now.

  7. bosoxgirl says:

    Not a problem, I love to read anything Red Sox. No it’s not Teks fault at all he has done an awsome job, but that knee will eventually start giving him problems. I don’t want to see him ever leave, but I know it will happen and I will cry.

    Shilling was there, I don’t know if he was when I was there, really would of loved to met him and tell him how valuable he is to the team and wished him a speedy recovery. I want to see him pitch.

  8. bosoxgirl says:

    Happy to hear of Francona’s contract…. He is such a great Coach.

    I had to laugh when I was at Spring Training, I was trying to get a picture of Terry and he had his back turned and I did not think I was speaking that loud when I said “Ok Terry turn around and give me a smile” just talking to myself when he turned and looked at me and smiled, I got a great picture of him. He is just an all around great guy. I hope he is with us forever.

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