Tag: Jason Varitek

Boston Red Sox' Varitek announces his retirement from baseball during a news conference at the team's spring training complex in Fort Myers

Varitek makes retirement official at emotional presser


Veteran catcher Jason Varitek officially put an end to his playing career on Thursday evening with a farewell press conference at the Red Sox’ spring training complex in Fort Myers, Florida.

Speaking from a podium fittingly placed just in front of home plate at the newly constructed JetBlue Park, Varitek addressed his reasoning behind the decision to call it quits and expressed a deep affection for the Red Sox organization. The 39-year-old backstop was flanked by his wife and three daughters.

“This last week is probably one of the hardest weeks you go through as a player,” Varitek told those gathered while taking intermittent pauses and wiping tears from his eyes. “After months of deliberating what to do, I decided that it’s best for me and my family that I retire — that I retire a Red Sox. This decision wasn’t something I took lightly in any sense of the word, nor did I want to do it more than once. This has probably been the most difficult decision I’ve had to make in my career, but the opportunity to start and finish my major-league career in one place meant more to me, and that’s why I’m standing here today.”

Varitek was a .256/.341/.435 career hitter during his 15-year MLB career. The three-time All-Star and 2005 Gold Glove winner will finish with 1,307 career hits, 193 career home runs and two World Series rings.

The Yankees aren’t feeding the trolls

Boston Red Sox manager Valentine watches pitchers work out at the Red Sox new Major League Baseball spring training facility in Fort Myers

As D.J. noted last night, yesterday Bobby Valentine tried to troll the Yankees, talking smack about the famous flip play from the 2001 ALDS and about the famous Jason Varitek-A-Rod fight.

Today the Yankees were asked about it.  And they weren’t gonna get down on Bobby V’s level.  Here’s Jeter:

“… who cares? I mean, why are we talking about this, really?” Jeter said. “He must be bored over there, huh? I don’t understand.”

And here’s A-Rod:

“I’m not going to win many battles here when it comes to words, especially against Bobby,” Rodriguez said. “But I will tell you this: I’ve got my new press secretary that should be landing in the next couple days – Reggie Jackson – so I’ll let him handle that.”

That’s the way to defuse these little petty controversies.  Just bore them to death.

And really: you’d think Valentine would want to set out to write his own chapter in the Yankees-Red Sox thing rather than try to rehash the old ones.

Bobby Valentine is already trolling Yankees fans

Boston Red Sox manager Valentine watches pitchers work out at the Red Sox new Major League Baseball spring training facility in Fort Myers

If Bobby Valentine’s goal is to play the role of villain in the eyes of Yankees’ fans, he’s already off to a pretty good start.

According to the Associated Press, earlier today the Red Sox were practicing relay throws and Valentine was asked about Derek Jeter’s famous “flip” to home plate in Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS against the A’s. His answer?

“We’ll never practice that,” Valentine said. “And I think (Jeter) was out of position and I think the ball gets (Giambi) out if he doesn’t touch it, personally.”

“That was amazing that he was there,” Valentine said. “Then it was more amazing to say they practiced it. I don’t believe it.”

Of course, unless Valentine is some sort of omnipotent being, he has no way of knowing how the second hop would have affected the path of the ball to home plate. Jeter’s flip at least allowed the ball to get to Jorge Posada on the fly. And as Rob Neyer recalled late this afternoon, former Yankees’ manager Buck Showalter claims that Jeter did indeed practice the flip play.

But Valentine wasn’t done ribbing the Yankees. When asked to comment on what Jason Varitek meant to the Red Sox organization, he brought up the infamous benches-clearing incident between the longtime catcher and Alex Rodriguez on July 24, 2004.

“He is a man’s man,” Valentine said of Varitek. “He was a big hitter when needed. He was a leader of the pitching staff. He was able to beat up Alex. All that stuff is good stuff. He was exactly what he was supposed to be.”

If you’ll recall, Rodriguez was plunked by Bronson Arroyo and jawed with the pitcher on the way to first base. Varitek then jumped in between them and shoved his catcher’s mitt in Rodriguez’s face. A-Rod then attempted to put Varitek in a headlock, but the pair were eventually separated as part of a scrum after benches cleared. Whether Varitek actually “beat up” Rodriguez is up for debate, but I guess it works for a quick sound bite. And it’s certainly a moment which epitomized the intensity of the intense rivalry between the clubs at that particular time.

And so, I’ll give Valentine a four out of 10 for historical accuracy. But his trolling ability is pretty spot on.

Nice scouting there, 1997 version of Dan Duquette


In the wake of Jason Varitek’s retirement announcement announcement (well, that’s what it was), Alex Speier of WEEI has a nice look back at the trade that sent Varitek from Seattle to Boston and set the Red Sox on course for their 2004 and 2007 World Series championships.

This is my favorite part, from Derek Lowe, who was part of that deal:

“I laugh about it now,” Lowe said in Fort Myers earlier this month. “When [former Sox GM Dan Duquette] got us, he thought I was left-handed and he saw Varitek and said, ‘Wow, you’re a lot skinnier than I thought.’

That’s hilarious.  To everyone except Orioles fans, who are entrusting that guy to bring in young talent to the organization. Hopefully young talent that is what their GM expects it be when he acquires it.

Cardinals and Yadier Molina closing in on five-year, $70-75M extension

yadier molina getty

UPDATE: Rosenthal reports that the two sides are closing in on a five-year deal in the $70-75 million range.

Molina would make $14-15 million per season if Rosenthal is correct, which would give him the second-highest AAV (average annual value) for a catcher ever behind Joe Mauer’s current eight-year, $184 million contract ($23 million).

As Rosenthal notes, only six catchers have ever signed long-term deals which averaged more than $10 million per season: Mauer, Mike Piazza, Jason Kendall, Jorge Posada, Ivan Rodriguez and Jason Varitek.

7:28 PM: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Cardinals and Molina are “very close” to agreeing on a five-year extension worth more than $60 million.

5:44 PM: Last week the Cardinals and Yadier Molina were said to be making good progress on a long-term contract extension and now Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that “terms are all but finalized.”

According to Strauss an agreement is expected to be in place by Friday and “both sides are very optimistic.”

Molina is currently slated to be a free agent next offseason, finishing up a five-year, $21.75 million deal that has proven to be a bargain for the Cardinals. Most speculation about his new deal has guessed 4-5 seasons at $10-12 million per year, which would be one of the five largest contracts ever for a catcher.