Can Varitek Stomach A Pay Cut And A Bench Role?

Jason Varitek has five days to decide if he wants to finish his career with the Boston Red Sox.


Are you hoping he stays or goes?


Tek re.jpg 

(photo courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)


On Monday, the Red Sox picked up Victor Martinez’s $7.5 million option for next season and G.M. Theo Epstein made it clear that Victor is expected to be Boston’s primary catcher.


“We’re going to really look for Victor to be an everyday catcher for us next year,” Epstein told reporters at the General Managers’ meetings in Chicago. “We feel like that puts us in the best position to win with Victor catching as much as he can. The other spot we’ll have available is for more of a traditional backup. We’ll see what Tek’s decision is before we move forward.”


The Sox notified Varitek that they will not pick up his $5 million option for 2010, but the 37-year-old captain has a player option to return for $3 million.  Tek has already made more than $62 million in his big league career so money shouldn’t be an issue.  The question is, can Varitek stomach the thought of being a backup?


For most of the past 12 years, Jason has been a great player and leader for the Red Sox.  He’s a 3-time All-Star, a Gold Glove Award winner, and the only catcher in baseball history to be behind the plate for four no-hitters. 


He still does a solid job behind the plate, but he’s become a liability at the plate.  This season Varitek batted .209 with 14 HR and 51 RBI.  After the all-star break, his numbers were atrocious as Tek batted .157 with 1 HR in 42 games.  At times it was painful to watch.


Who knows, perhaps in a reserve role there will still be some life in Varitek’s bat at the end of the season. 


I suspect that Varitek will exercise his $3 million option and stay with Boston for one more year.  For starters, he’s not likely to make more money elsewhere and I can’t think of a contending team that would make him its primary catcher.


For more than a decade, Varitek has received consistent raves for his ability to call a good game. 


This seems like a simple call to me.


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