Speculate! Speculate!

From Comcast Sports Net (courtesy WEEI) is this odd and interesting piece of news:

In an interview that will air tonight at 6:30pm on Comcast Sports Net New England, Red Sox principal owner John Henry told CSN that he is meeting tonight one-one-one with catcher Jason Varitek.

That would seem to indicate we'll know by the end of the Bush administration whether Varitek is returning for another season. It would also seem to indicate any number of potential scenarios regarding Scott Boras, the Red Sox and previous negotiations:

  1. The Red Sox really are refusing to deal with Boras.
  2. Varitek's a little mad Boras advised him to pass up the Sox' arbitration offer.
  3. Boras just knows this is the best way to get Varitek the deal he wants.
  4. Henry doesn't want Larry Lucchino screwing this one up, too.
  5. Something else entirely that hasn't even crossed my mind.
  6. Combination of any two or more of the above options.

Feel free to post your own rampant unchecked speculation here. Regardless of the reasons, it strikes me as quite unusual.

37 comments… add one

  • Boras arranged this meeting to create the appearance that Varitek is on the verge of signing Henry in order to lure the Yanks into the mad scramble that is the Jason Varitek sweepstakes. What’s going to happen is that Henry is going to arrive at the restaurant where the said meeting is supposed to take place only to find Howie Mandel and a laughing studio audience.
    Henry: But why?
    Mandel: More like how? As in “Howie Do It?”
    Meanwhile Hank Steinbrenner will take a private helicopter to an undisclosed location along the Mass Turnpike where Varitek will be waiting in a crouching position at a gas station. The helicopter will hover low. A hand will peak out of the copter. Varitek will hustle to it, making sure to throw his mask to the ground first. He will take the hand and be carried into the helicopter. The Yanks will sign him for a $6 million 1 year deal.
    John Henry will walk home in the cold. Then he will get on his computer and said out an angry email which game theorists will parse for years to come.

    Nick-YF January 16, 2009, 6:25 pm
  • I truly hope that happens.

    Jackie (SF) January 16, 2009, 6:33 pm
  • You forgot #7:
    Henry and Varitek are both “Real Housewives of Orange County” fanatics and are catching up their past episodes on the Tivo together.

    SF January 16, 2009, 8:56 pm
  • I almost ran a “Tek’s Contract” contest, but realized quite quickly that only 9 people would be able to make a somewhat legitimate guess.

    SF January 16, 2009, 8:58 pm
  • They’re gonna make eyes at each other, then go back to Tek’s place and turn out the lights.

    I'mBillMcNeal January 16, 2009, 9:43 pm
  • Varitek will hustle to it, making sure to throw his mask to the ground first.
    He wouldn’t leave the mask on?

    Rob January 16, 2009, 10:27 pm
  • a wise man once said…..
    “we don’t throw at .270 hitters……or dudes with bleached tips.”

    sf rod January 16, 2009, 11:04 pm
  • So wise a man that he last hit .220 and is now begging for a job.

    Rob January 16, 2009, 11:28 pm
  • > So wise a man that he last hit .220
    Hitting/wisdom: not necessarily connected. Tek is a smart catcher; a great backstop. That’s born out.
    > and is now begging for a job.
    Off-sides.

    attackgerbil January 17, 2009, 1:21 am
  • What next? In 20 years we’re going to be hearing how Varitek was the Einstein of catchers during his last HOF push?
    I made a joke. I’m sorry if any one took that the wrong way.
    Great catcher? That’s very debatable.

    Rob January 17, 2009, 7:55 am
  • He’s called 4 no-hitters and a few very close Pedro ones as well.
    Yes, he’s a great game caller/controller, which can’t be overlooked. Unfortunately, neither can his bat at this point.
    I say no. Let him walk if he’s not willing to accept a very cheap platoon/coaching roll.

    Brad January 17, 2009, 10:40 am
  • Didn’t he call Schillings almost no hitter as well?
    Varitek is one of the greatest catchers ever, simply because of his ability to call a game.

    TJ Sox Fan January 17, 2009, 11:02 am
  • and a few very close Pedro ones as well
    Bob Montgomery or even a rubber chicken could have called a few Pedro near no-hitters.

    SF January 17, 2009, 12:09 pm
  • “Varitek is one of the greatest catchers ever, simply because of his ability to call a game.”
    This is a far over-reaching statement. I respect Varitek’s ability to call a game but its not the only thing that needs to go into the calculations of such a discussion. Offense and defense are also critical to the discussion. Furthermore, while I dont dispute that he is good at calling games, there is essentially no way to compare different catcher’s abilities to do so. My belief about no-hitters is that they are statistical anomalies and arent necessarily that indicative of much. If some other catcher had caught 6 1-hitters would that mean he wasnt as good as calling a game as varitek? I certainly dont think so. Finally, regardless of how he ranks in the all time pantheon of game callers, his arm and bat are certainly not what they once were. If I were a sox fan I dont know that Id be hoping for his return simply based on his ability to call a game. It not clear to me that a catcher’s ability to do so can make up for other shortcomings.

    sam-YF January 17, 2009, 1:00 pm
  • I love Tek. He’s contributed a hell of a lot to the best Red Sox decade since the 1910s.
    But while I respect his ability to call a game, I think it’s a skill that is (in general) overrated. His offensive and defensive skills matter a lot more in terms of his contributions to the overall success of the team than his gamecalling.
    And he has no leverage. None. In this economic environment especially, draft picks are very important to everyone, and nobody’s willing to give up a first round pick for a 37-year-old catcher who hit .220 last year. The Sox know that.
    If he wants to come back in a part-time role where he spends most of his time mentoring the younger catchers, he’s welcome to come back cheap. But I do mean very cheap. I don’t want to see them giving him $8M or something just because of his history with the team – we don’t have to spend the money, and we shouldn’t. Tek has Boras as his agent – he knows how “it’s just business” works.

    Micah-SF January 17, 2009, 2:06 pm
  • fair enough, SF. In part, I agree.

    Brad January 17, 2009, 2:38 pm
  • I simply cannot wait for the RSN campaigning for Varitek’s HOF candidacy. Can anyone with any objectivity whatsoever actually make any kind of claim he belongs there?
    When Varitek retires, either this year or next year, I’ll be asking for the reason why Boston’s pitching staff doesn’t fall off a cliff.

    AndrewYF January 17, 2009, 2:42 pm
  • I simply cannot wait for the RSN campaigning for Varitek’s HOF candidacy. Can anyone with any objectivity whatsoever actually make any kind of claim he belongs there?
    Seriously, this is nothing but antagonism. And that goes for Rob’s comment above. I don’t recall a single instance of a SF at this site (or really even around RSN, to follow through on your irresponsible generalization) proclaiming Tek to be a Hall of Fame catcher. At best he’s been called an all-time Sox catcher, and he has been that, regardless of his skid into weakness. I don’t see why you and Rob have to offer a comment like this, other than to a) pick at the Rice scab that seems to be more of an obsession of non-SFs than of anybody else or b) just to pick a fight. It’s garbage.

    SF January 17, 2009, 4:00 pm
  • a rubber chicken could have called a few Pedro near no-hitters.
    Just think of how many strikeouts Pedro would have had, thanks to all the passed balls! If anything, Varitek cost Pedro when he was behind the plate!
    I have not heard a single person say Jason Varitek deserves enshrinement in the Hall of Fame, Red Sox fan or otherwise. I have heard myself and other Red Sox fans say Jorge Posada deserves enshrinement when he retires. I guess that just isn’t stereotypical or inflammatory enough to actually be brought into the argument, though.

    Paul SF January 17, 2009, 5:16 pm
  • Lots of sensitivities here. Hey, I’m sorry if I offended anyone with jokes that were taken in poor taste. That was not my intention.
    Varitek was a fine catcher on two championship teams. I’ll leave it at that.

    Rob January 17, 2009, 5:18 pm
  • I can see how Jorge is borderline right now. But I’m not convinced yet.

    Rob January 17, 2009, 5:28 pm
  • I was responding to the “Varitek is one of the greatest catchers ever, simply because of his ability to call a game,” which is equal garbage.
    I can also easily see Gammons saying the exact same thing in five years.

    AndrewYF January 17, 2009, 5:39 pm
  • SF January 17, 2009, 10:31 pm
  • Varitek is one of the greatest catchers ever, simply because of his ability to call a game
    This statement is laughable. I figured it would just go unacknowledged rather than call for a rehashing of Rice etc.

    SF January 17, 2009, 10:32 pm
  • Man, Jim was so much fun. Whatever hAppened to Jim? I’m so happy I was not a part of that thread looking back on it!

    Brad January 17, 2009, 10:57 pm
  • Was that a different Brad posting in that thread? Or did I miss some highly-tuned sarcasm?

    AndrewYF January 17, 2009, 11:17 pm
  • Wow, that thread is a lot of fun. I see clearly the root of the sensitivities. Sorry for stepping right into them.

    Rob January 18, 2009, 8:27 am
  • yeah, Andrew. I was just being sarcastic man.
    Sometimes it is funny to go back and see some of the things we wrote, in hindsight. Like the arguments DC and I used to have over the values of Wakefield and Giambi or how so many of us felt Wang’s first huge year was just a stroke of luck.
    Or Pavano v. Clement in the early stages. So funny.

    Brad January 18, 2009, 9:20 am
  • Ahhh, Pavano vs Clement. Those were the days.
    I wouldn’t say that Varitek is one of the greatest all-time, but he’s certainly very good when it comes to calling a game. Unfortunately I don’t think that outweighs his horrid offense at this point, so he’s not worth too much. I wouldn’t mind seeing a 1-2 year contract for 6mil each, but anything more than that is a joke.

    Atheose January 18, 2009, 11:09 am
  • Jim Rice, just as much of a clown as he’s ever been, decides to stir the pot:
    “”But it was interesting to hear Jim Rice, finally elected to the Hall of Fame after a 15-year wait, blame George Steinbrenner’s checkbook for The Curse of the Bambino. When asked about Boston’s failure to win a World Series during his career – 1975 to 1989 – up to the Bambino-busting 2004 season, Rice pointed directly to the Bronx.
    “During that time, Steinbrenner spent more money than the Red Sox,” Rice said. “He had more free agents. So when you get the best free agents, and you get the superstars from other ballclubs, that’s what made you have a better team. The more money you can spend, the better you should get.””
    One word, Baby Rice: Wah.

    AndrewYF January 18, 2009, 12:37 pm
  • Andrew, seriously, did Jim Rice kill your cat?
    A lot of fun going back to read that thread. I’d forgotten how firmly I was sure Posada wasn’t a HOFer. Of course he went on to have that terrific season in 2007, and somewhere in there, I ran a B-R PI list that spat this out:
    Jorge Posada ranks 10th all time among catchers with at least 5,000 plate appearances in OPS+ — ahead of Fisk, Carter and I-Rod. Definitely borderline, but every catcher ahead of him except Gene Tenace is in the Hall of Fame (and I wonder if Tenace, 136 career OPS+ and eight straight seasons of 130 or better but no other seasons with more than 82 games played, isn’t one of the more interesting Hall cases).
    For the record, Varitek ranks 29th of the 30 catchers to post a 100 OPS+ or better with at least 5,000 plate appearances. Tek is currently at 100 even.

    Paul SF January 18, 2009, 10:36 pm
  • seriously, Andrew.
    Was he lying? He’s just stating the facts the rest of the world knows. I don’t see what the huge problem is in his statement. It’s the truth. See: this offseason. I guess if that truth touches a nerve or something – wah.
    Out of curiosity, though – what else has “baby Rice” said that makes you think he’s a “clown”, or stirring the pot, as you say?

    Brad January 18, 2009, 11:36 pm
  • I too think Posada is probably going in. Unless of course he hangs around for another four years at a below average clip, thus lowering all those numbers to the point he is remembered in that way. See: Pudge Rodriguez.

    Brad January 18, 2009, 11:39 pm
  • Sorry guys but I think this was a classless and unnecessary comment from Rice. I was quite surprised to read it considering his generally good reputation. Im not trying to stir the pot but I just didnt see the point of him saying this…sour grapes indeed.

    sam-YF January 19, 2009, 12:05 am
  • I think this was a classless and unnecessary comment from Rice. I was quite surprised to read it considering his generally good reputation. Im not trying to stir the pot but I just didnt see the point of him saying this
    I don’t disagree with a single thing you say, Sam. I’m just trying to figure out how it’s relevant to a discussion about Jason Varitek.

    Paul SF January 19, 2009, 12:48 am
  • “I’m just trying to figure out how it’s relevant to a discussion about Jason Varitek.”
    It wasn’t. It was an off-topic news item. I apologize for the off-topicness and further stirring of the pot.

    AndrewYF January 19, 2009, 1:46 am
  • I’ll leave Rice alone even as it’s galling enough that I had to watch him this weekend announce himself as the “newest Hall of Famer” (in an ad for Red Sox tix) while trying to enjoy MMA on NESN.
    That’s an interesting list of catchers. Weren’t both Scioscia and Steinbach both lauded for their ability to call games? Those don’t seem like bad comps for Varitek. They both had better arms though.

    Rob January 19, 2009, 8:18 am

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