The Red Sox don’t need Jason Varitek. They have Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Kelly Shoppach. Meanwhile, Varitek has had no known interest from any other team. Things look grim for his future.
But the Red Sox are at least offering him a temporary lifeline: Jon Heyman reports that they’ve offered a minor league deal with a spring training invite. Though there is some debate here: Ian Browne hears differently: that there has been no invite yet and the team is waiting to see what Varitek wants to do.
The smart money is that — if there is an invite now or soon — it’s out of courtesy, so that Varitek has someplace to report and to work out in February, giving him a few extra weeks to figure out what he’s doing or to latch on with another team. But given his .221/.300/.423 line in 2011 — and his almost complete lack of defensive value as a catcher anymore — it’s not like there are many teams who would be willing to sign him.
Perhaps the Sox could use however long he has in spring training to persuade Varitek to pull a Posada and bow out gracefully and/or accept a coaching or front office position with the team.
UPDATE: According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said that the club has not made a formal offer to Varitek.
Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.
Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.
Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.