Red Sox invite Varitek to camp; he's weighing it
Posted on: January 13, 2012 4:11 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 10:50 am
Respected longtime Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek has been invited by the team to come to camp as a non-roster player with only an outside chance to make the team, and Varitek seems likely to decide between accepting that invitation or retiring, people familiar with his situation said. Mostly out of respect for the iconic Varitek, they let him know the door is open, and they are giving him time to decide. Varitek, 39, who's played his entire big-league career in Boston starting with one at-bat in 1997 and helped them win two World Series, does not appear to be considering looking for a job elsewhere.
The Red Sox fairly have made clear to him that if he did come to camp, he'd serve mostly as "protection'' in the event one of their two catchers, Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Kelly Shoppach, is hurt. Ryan Lavarnway is seen as Boston's catcher of the future but is expected to start the year in Triple-A Pawtucket.
This is probably a tough call for Varitek, a great Red Sox who didn't have a bad year last year when he hit .221 with 11 home runs and 36 RBIs. Interestingly, the team was 42-22 in games started by Varitek, and 48-50 in games started by their other catchers, predominantly Saltalamacchia. The staff ERA was 3.57 with Varitek, and 4.62 with Saltlamacchia. But Varitek's throwing isn't what it was, and the Red Sox chose to sign Shoppach.
The respect for Varitek is such that Red Sox people would love him to work for the team in a non-playing capacity once his career is over. He just isn't sure it is just yet.