In a phone interview yesterday, agent Scott Boras said Varitek “is in a position where he’s ready to play” this season. But Boras added that the longtime Red Sox [team stats] catcher, who has been offered a minor league contract to attend spring training with only a slim chance of making the team, “had not made any decisions.”
And with pitchers and catchers required to report to camp tomorrow, general manager Ben Cherington said he isn’t anticipating any additions to the roster.
“I guess I expect that he won’t be here,” Cherington said. “That’s something, again, we’ve agreed with Jason to continue to talk and let him make that decision. He needs to make it on his own, and I respect that.”
It seems Varitek has two choices: Come to camp with the Red Sox and serve as little more than insurance against an injury to Jarrod Saltalamacchia or backup Kelly Shoppach, or join Wakefield and New York Yankees catcher Jorge Posada on the list of recent retirees.
Herald -Tek next to bid adieu?
Jason Varitek: the catcher nobody wanted. What a shame.
And what an awful offseason for him. It started with his team collapsing and more than one person pointing a finger in his direction over his lack of leadership. He hoped to return to Boston, but nobody at Yawkey would return his calls. He looked for a job elsewhere, but Baltimore was the only team that showed any real interest in bringing him aboard; but they opted for Tyler Teagarden instead. He held out hope that his old GM might bring him aboard, but that call never came. Then, to help the guy save some face, Boston gave Varitek a pity minor league invite. 2007 has to feel like a century ago in the Tek household.
If I was advising Varitek -- and, Jason, I'll do it for a quarter of what you pay Boras. Let's be honest, he isn't exactly working out for you right now anyway -- I would gently put my hand on his back, look him in the eye, and tell him to hang it up. Whenever Varitek retires, the Sox have a job in the organization for him. That's a promise they've made him. I can't imagine Varitek has plans to live life away from the diamond anyway, so why not get started on his new career?
Sure, the dollars won't be the same, but it has to be better than taking bus trips from Rhode Island to Rochester and Buffalo, just so you can throw on the armor every day. He'll have to put in some work in the lower levels, but Varitek will find himself on a major league bench before too long. He'll just be holding a clipboard instead of a bat.
On Page 2, Wake only wanted to play for one team
“All right,” Wakefield said, “but do they play in Boston?”
“There is nothing that I want more than for this team to win,” Wakefield said, eyes watering and voice cracking, “and it’s hard sometimes to take yourself out of the decision process. But in my heart I feel that, by retiring, I’m giving them a better chance to do that.”
Herald - Wake waves goodbye
You won't find a classier human being on a baseball diamond than Tim Wakefield.
Sometimes, the way a player leaves the sport says more about them than the way they played. Wake loved the Red Sox. That's apparent. And when he realized that the organization was better off without him, instead of signing elsewhere he hung up his cleats.
I hate to see him go. I really do. But I'm glad that it's a decision that he made, and that he's retiring on his terms. He wasn't retiring for lack of offers, like Varitek may be forced to do. He's retiring because of a lack of one offer: Boston's.
And I'm sure it pains him to end it this way; especially when he's so close to that wins record. But, as he stated, this is for the best. Best of luck, Timmy, in whatever you do next. You will be missed.
Rest of the links:
Herald - Knuckler’s one of kind | Home away from home for Sox fans | Bobby V ready to work | Globe - A few facts and figures on Wakefield | Final out recorded | Wakefield was unique, and at times, great | CSNNE - Saltalamacchia unsure if Varitek will return | Wake bids emotional farewell | WEEI - Wake: 'The hardest thing I've ever had to do' | ESPN - Transcript: Wakefield's retirement speech | Video: Lester talks about Wakefield