2008 Offseason: Boras singing Varitek’s praises

This article doesn’t surprise me one bit. People are asking why we should pay Jason Varitek like a superstar when he hit .220/.313/.359 last year, a woeful 27% worse than league average. What is he worth to the Red Sox, exactly?

As usual, Boras’ interview comes off like a Homeric poem about Varitek. At the same time, Tek’s not the same as some veteran defensive specialist you could sign as a free agent. He’s the team captain, and much of the pitching staff depends on him. And he’s not just a defensive specialist; he’s caught as many no-hitters as anyone else in history. So I do agree that Boras is not just whistling Dixie here.

I think the Sox have to approach this negotiation as signing a part-time player (maybe 67-75% starter next year, and maybe 50% after that). If they increase his annual salary to $12M per year and prorate that by estimated playing time, I get a two-year, $15-18M deal with maybe a vesting option for $6-8M in year three. I think that’s both fair to the organization and respectful to someone like Varitek. That should allow him to finish up his career here, which he seems ready to do. The good thing is that Tek has shown in the past that he will kick Boras in the rear if he starts protracting the negotiations too much. So I think there’s a pretty good chance of this happening.


4 Responses to 2008 Offseason: Boras singing Varitek’s praises

  1. tigertidings says:

    All I can say with regard to Varitek is that I hope the Red Sox keep him. Boras has been signing his praises and recently mentioned that he’d be “perfect for the Tigers.”

    Do you think that Varitek is worth that much money? Or are you simply trying to be respectful? It might work for the Sox. I don’t think many other teams would offer Tek that much money, and if they did, well, they’d be asinine. I don’t see him being a good fit outside of Boston.

  2. redsoxtalk says:

    Hi, thanks for your thoughts. Yes, I heard that Boras is pitching Tek to Detroit. He likes to get multiple bidders in so that it drives up the price.

    Honestly, I don’t think Varitek is worth that full contract, but very few free agents are these days. He’s 38 and the team captain. Varitek knows the Boston pitchers inside and out and obviously has the full confidence of this staff, and whoever comes in after him will have their work cut out for them in terms of winning over the pitchers. In that respect, yes, Varitek is most valuable to the Sox.

    At the same time, I think he will bounce back some from this down year, so he’s not hopeless offensively. I think there are some teams out there who might consider getting him for 2 years at maybe $5-6M/year, if the Sox let him walk. Pairing a veteran like him with a young and talented rotation could be worthwhile for some clubs.

    The way I look at it is that Varitek is coming off of a 4-year, $40M contract, so he would not want to take a huge paycut. If you view him as a part-time/platoon guy (which he may have to become soon), you could argue that he’s actually not losing out that much.

  3. redsoxtalk says:

    Varitek has filed for free agency, giving the Sox 15 days to hammer out a contract, or he can negotiate with other teams.

  4. redsoxtalk says:

    More from the meister of inflated contracts:

    That’s all well and good, but good luck finding anything in the same zip code as 4 years and $52M. Posada is still a good hitter, while Varitek is all intangibles.

    My early 2009 projections:
    Posada .290/.379/.491 with 15 HR and 65 RBI
    Varitek .239/.332/.394 with 13 HR and 52 RBI

    And that makes them equivalent how? John Buck might be a better comparable in terms of production.

    Supposedly Boras is talking to the Tigers and the Dodgers about Varitek. The Sox will let Boras pitch Tek to other teams, then they will pay whatever it costs to keep him for 2-3 years. I don’t expect that to go much beyond $6M/year.

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