12-03-2010: Varitek re-signs, non-tenders, more Hot Stove


Varitek back for one more dance

The Red Sox brought back 39-year old team captain Jason Varitek on a one year deal worth $2M plus incentives. Given Tek’s lack of production the past two years, it’s safe to say that he would not have found that money elsewhere. But given the Sox’ catching situation right now, I think it’s a good idea.

I have Varitek projected at .221/.305/.377 for 2011, a wOBA of just .309. But historically, he has performed well at the beginning of the year. We could use a good April/May from him as we use that time to evaluate Jarrod Saltalamacchia a bit more. Let’s get something straight – Theo Epstein did not sign him to be our starting catcher. I also don’t think that we will enter 2011 with Saltalamacchia atop our depth chart. There will be another move because…

2011 Non-Tenders

This week was the deadline for teams to offer contracts to arbitration-eligible players, and a good number of them hit the free agent market yesterday. There are some catchers you might recognize on that list, including Russell Martin (former All-Star with the Dodgers) and Dioner Navarro. I think the Sox will be in on one of these guys. Just for fun, my 2011 projections for them:

Name AB H 2B 3B HR R RBI BB SO SB Avg OBP SLG OPS wOBA
Martin 492 132 22 2 11 72 60 70 77 11 0.268 0.366 0.387 0.754 0.350
Navarro 382 95 19 1 8 41 42 30 54 2 0.248 0.308 0.362 0.670 0.305

Martin is much better with the bat, but Navarro is superior defensively. Also, a caveat here. Martin’s projection is a neutral NL projection, and his numbers would likely suffer in coming to the AL East. Navarro’s is a neutral AL projection. There figure to be other bidders for the 27-year old Martin’s services, but the Sox did try to acquire him last week and if we want to, we have the money to sign him, and probably for far less that what Victor Martinez got. That scenario could turn out to be very good for us.

As for the Red Sox, they non-tendered Hideki Okajima, Andrew Miller and Taylor Buchholz. Just because the Sox released Okajima doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t return, but perhaps he wanted more money than the Sox were willing to risk. Both Miller and Buchholz were recently acquired, but given the number of quality bullpen options that were also non-tendered, their release is kind of understandable. They will also tender a contract to Jonathan Papelbon, rather than allow him to go to free agency. Of course.

It looks like Epstein is completely rebuilding this bullpen from scratch. Hope it works out.

Hot Stove Updates

The Red Sox met with Carl Crawford and agent Scott Boras this week. If not anything else, it shows that they are serious about signing one of Crawford, Jayson Werth or Adrian Beltre.

Beltre told the press that he would like to return to the Red Sox and he has an offer on the table, but that he’s going to wait a bit longer before deciding. Yeah right. Boras has his guys say whatever it takes to drive up prices. Everyone expected Beltre to go to Anaheim, so he throws a monkey wrench in by having Beltre say he prefers Boston. Angels Nation freaks out, and there’s pressure for the Halos to up their bid. That’s how free agency works, people.

The Sox added 34-year old veteran pitcher Brandon Duckworth on a minor league deal yesterday. He will likely be a swingman that can be stashed at Pawtucket. Break glass only in case of emergency.

The Red Sox apparently offered a three-year deal to Mariano Rivera, but he will probably re-sign with the Yankees for two years and $30M. Hey, it was worth a shot, right?

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2 Responses to 12-03-2010: Varitek re-signs, non-tenders, more Hot Stove

  1. Chris Maza says:

    The re-signing of Varitek compounds the Victor Martinez mistake. http://wp.me/p15q0r-3d

    • redsoxtalk says:

      I don’t see it as compounding anything. Please try reading my article before posting links to your own blog – I think the Sox will bring in a front-line catcher besides Salty to play in front of Varitek.

      They know he can’t be an every day catcher any more, and they know Salty is not ready to take on the mantle. It’s just that at this particular date, they can’t say anything else. Would you rather the FO come out and say how they don’t have any confidence in Salty going forward? What exactly would that accomplish?

      No, at this time they have to talk up what they have (which is not much) so that players agents won’t drive up prices on them. If they let on that they’re desperate, it hurts their leverage in negotiations. They have to let people think they’re content with what they have right now.

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