Tek Signs with the Sox!!
"It's not often you find a player who embodies everything you want your franchise to be," said Epstein. "When you're lucky enough to have that player, you don't let him get away and you lock him up as long as you can and you make him the rock of your franchise."
That quote was taken from Nick Cafardo's article in the Boston Globe on the Jason Varitek signing. Varitek signed a four year deal worth 40 million dollars yesterday which will keep him in the red and white uniform through 2008. All Red Sox fans have to be extremely excited that Tek is finally signed and under contract with the Boston Red Sox.
The Sox had to deal with Scott Boras while negotiating Varitek's contract. Boras is known for asking for the sky when in negotiations. Boras is the agent who negotiated Alex Rodriguez's 10 year 252 million dollar salary. He is also the agent for Carlos Beltran, who is probably going to make the most money out of any FA available this off-season. Boras initially came out and said a few weeks ago, that he and Jason wanted a five year deal worth 55 million with a no trade clause. Many Red Sox fans balked at the idea of giving Varitek that many years, and that amount of money to Varitek. While Varitek eventually signed for less than that, it is obvious how Boras gets what he wants: start with a high figure and then work from there.
The Red Sox also named Jason Varitek the captain of the team at the press conference yesterday. Varitek is the first Red Sox captain since Jim Rice in 1989, and he is just the third captain since 1923. Varitek deserved the "C" on his uniform and I am glad he got it. Varitek embodies the perseverance, loyalty, toughness, and hard working mentality that everybody within the Red Sox organization share.
Saying all that, I think that the Sox gave in to Boras and his demands way too much. The Red Sox were bidding against themselves with Varitek, as no other team was pursuing him. I do not think any other club would have given Jason more than 3 years at 8 million per year, yet alone a 4 year deal worth 40 million dollars. It is not my money, so I am not too worried about it, but I strongly feel that by 2007 and 08 the Sox will be regretting paying 10 million a year to a catcher who will be 36 and 37 in those seasons.
Many Red Sox players were also excited about the news of Varitek's signing. Curt Schilling had his two cents to say on the subject.
"Christmas came early. I am so friggin' ecstatic about this and so happy for him. Proud that he earned the right to become a free agent and even prouder that he chose to stay where he was needed most. I felt all along that no matter what happened this winter losing 'Tek would cost us more than any player they brought in could make up. He and Doug are as good a tandem as I've ever been around. I'd heard about 'Tek in bits and pieces before coming here but I've never seen anyone put more time and effort into his job both physically and mentally than this guy. I kept getting very put off by the stat heads who argued that this is the age when he will start declining, they have no idea of his makeup, and 'Tek is pretty much worlds apart from other 32 year old catchers I have seen and played with. His value goes so far beyond his offensive numbers that he's worth whatever the number they ended up at IMO. I'm happy for him and for the club, this IMO, goes a long way in putting us on track to try and defend our world championship title."
Matt Clement also mentioned that Boston was an attractive place for him to come play for the next three years, because of the catcher situation in Boston.
"A huge thing for me was the catching situation, and hopefully that's the same as it's been for a while here. It's something that as a pitcher, when I watch games, I watch how the catcher performs and think to myself, "man, I'd love to throw to this guy" and I remember saying that many times about Varitek, both him and Mirabelli last year and that's something that I'm very excited about."
Overall, I am thrilled that Jason will be a Red Sox for the next four years. He is everything that a team wants in a catcher, and he is the backbone of the team. With that being said, I think the Red Sox did overpay for him, and gave him too much money and too many years. I guess when you are filthy rich, as John Henry is, a few million isn't going to make that much of a difference.
Merry Christmas to everyone who reads this blog!!