Tek Support Needed

Last year I compared the Red Sox’ backstop to an oven-browned piece of bread.  It wasn’t received entirely well.  One commenter even used the dreaded "for shame" quip in taking me to task for my concise critique of our contracted catcher.  As it turns out, my observations (of a player who, it must be noted, is one of my favorites) weren’t too far off, and Varitek skidded to a .238 average, .325 OBP, 87Ks in under 400 ABs.  This isn’t an "I told you so", since I take no great pleasure in observing that 2006 was clearly a low point in Varitek’s career. 

Returning to Fort Myers, we heard about what great shape Varitek was in, his health returned, his tank refilled.  But this spring training the Captain has done very little to dispel fears of his waning skills, despite this supposedly rediscovered health.  A .108 batting average.  A .189 slugging percentage.  One (yes, that’s right, ONE) extra base hit, a home run last week.  So following up on last year’s dreadful campaign, a key player of the Sox enters the season with massive question marks.  Say what you will about the unknown performances of Daisuke Matsuzaka and JD Drew in their new league or the unknown healthfulness of Jonathan Papelbon: my own biggest query rests with the captain of the team: will the 2002-5 Jason Varitek ever return, or are we in fact witnessing the steep and irreversible decline of a career, right before our eyes?

100 comments… add one

  • Your fear is my fear SF. I don’t see anything right now that even slightly indicates Tek has a chance to rebound.
    Please prove me wrong Tek, please.

    LocklandSF March 28, 2007, 4:01 pm
  • Yeah, I think he’s done. G’head, Tek, and show me different, but late 2005 on looks to me like a pretty steady trend.

    Devine March 28, 2007, 4:04 pm
  • The biggest thing to me is that in 2004, Tek heated up as the season went on. He raked after the A-Rod fight/deadline deal. In 2005, he tanked, and in 2006, he tanked. Not a good sign.
    I agree wholeheartedly that Varitek is the Sox’ biggest question mark. On the other hand, I’d rather the Big “?” be one of nine hitters instead of one of five starters or one of one closer.

    Paul SF March 28, 2007, 4:11 pm
  • It’ll be interesting to see where Tito hits Tek. To me he’s the #8 hitter – leave Coco at the 9-spot with speed wrapping around the bottom and top. If Tito puts him any higher, at least until he proves effective, I might barf.

    SF March 28, 2007, 4:13 pm
  • Prepare to barf, SF. I think Tek is at least going to start the year batting 6th or 7th.
    I’m not entirely sure Varitek is cooked. I think it’s a tad ridiculous to expect him to produce at his 04-05 levels again, but I don’t think it’s unrealitic for him to be better than last year, since he was hurt for most of 2006. Tough call to make. But I agree that his ST ABs have been dreadfully painful to watch.
    I sure hope he has something left in the tank, otherwise we officially enter Brad Ausmus territory. Ick.

    mouse - SF March 28, 2007, 4:19 pm
  • The problem is all the Sox’ hitters have looked pretty bad this spring. So why is Tek’s .100+ average more alarming than Pedroia’s, Ortiz’s, Crisp’s, etc? Age, of course. But it could be just small sample sizes and bad luck doing those things they do.
    That said, I’m still concerned.

    Paul SF March 28, 2007, 4:29 pm
  • Bill James: “What order you put the players in makes very little difference.”
    The forces here were all over Tito on batting order issues last year. Looks like it’s going to be one of this year’s molehill-into-mountain issues as well.

    YF March 28, 2007, 4:47 pm
  • That’s true, YF, and it’s not. I’ll go back and retrieve one my rants from last season. The context was anger that Youkilis was buried low in the order, hitting just ahead of Alex Cora, while Tek was batting behind Ramirez and ahead of Pena, forming a black hole between the two sluggers.
    I agree with the saberheads that batting order likely makes little difference — maybe a couple runs, maybe a couple losses. The only problem is that we’re in a division against a team where a couple runs decide games, and a couple games decide pennants. …
    Putting Tek so high and Youk so low has cost the Sox in specific ways over the last week, namely by stranding runners, which has been a chronic problem all season. That decision is Francona’s, and it’s costing us games.

    Paul SF March 28, 2007, 5:02 pm
  • This argument sounds resoundingly familiar to the one the Yankees may face. I wrote this to YF some time ago:
    “Jorge Posada has been a treasure. What will they do if he takes a tip off the wrist and is sidelined?”
    Quality catchers are a precious commodity, but perhaps I became just a little bit too-enamored with the concept of the hitting catcher, de-valuing the pitcher-handling and defensive contributions a 2 makes regardless of his bat. Hitting catchers are an exception, made sexy by triumphs by guys like Mauer as of late and guys like Fisk/Bench in times past. It’s arguably the most demanding position outside of the thrower, and it seems like we demand more of it now that we used to.

    attackgerbil March 28, 2007, 5:38 pm
  • geez. you make a thread built for our troll friend jim-yf, and he doesn’t even have the respect to come dump all over it.
    does anyone have some numbers on how many more at bats leadoff and 2 hole hitters see over the course of a year?

    sf rod March 28, 2007, 6:07 pm
  • SF, on the batting order question:
    Pedroia’s #9. The Sox seem determined to ease the pressure on him after his cup of coffee last season. So then the question really becomes, would you rather slot Coco 7th and then Tek 8th, or vice-versa? Later in the season after Pedroia has proven himself, perhaps, but my guess is that if he hits well enough to keep his job through the first two months, the versatility of “who bats 9th” isn’t there. Putting Tek 7th is the best way to go, as far as I’m concerned.
    Completely agreed on the BS last season, but I think
    Lugo-Youk-Papi-Manny-Drew-Lowell-Tek-Coco-Pedroia is truly the best lineup construction we can hope for given the inflexibility there is with some of the spots: Ex. (Shouldn’t OBP monsters Youk and Drew be #1 and #2?, but Lugo will bat leadoff anyway).

    QuoSF March 28, 2007, 6:50 pm
  • “What order you put the players in makes very little difference.”
    Bill James’s point seems to me a huge overstatement bordering on slight retahdation. (not you, YF, just the quote) If Coco and Tek hit one and two last year, would Papi have come anywhere near 137 RBIs? Would Youk have scored any runs if he was batting seventh? Why not just hit Manny lead-off, since he’s the best OBP guy we have? Maybe James was trying to make a point about the spot in the lineup doesn’t effect an individual’s approach or skill-set, or something, but the lineups are structured to maximize run scoring potential, given all the players’ relative strengths. Of course batting order matters.
    Quo, I don’t like the idea of Drew batting 2nd. Yes he’s on OBP machine, but I think the greatest benefit he provides us is extending “the meat” of the order past the 3 and 4 guys. If Youk and Drew hit 1 and 2, who hits fifth, Lowell? Tek? Ugh. Drew gives us our first bonafide #5 guy since Trot’s heyday.
    I like Coco at #9, like SF suggested, with Lowell 6th, Pedroia 7th and Tek 8th, with the thinking that Tek’s got a little more pop than the lighter hitting Pedroia and Crisp. I fear Tito will keep Tek at #6, out of loyalty.
    I do expect some rebound from Tek. I doubt he’ll hit .290 again, but I could see him picking up 25 or points points on his average. Though I agree with the point above, that we’ve been spoiled. Tek’s true value is in how he handles the pitching staff – it’s like having another coach behind the plate. The hitting is just gravy.

    Tyrel SF March 28, 2007, 7:25 pm
  • Crispies could rebound in a big way this year. That would give the Sox a real leadoff hitter, and the ideal Crisp/Youk/Ortiz/Manny/Drew top 5, which could rank just below the best in the game, which is the Yanks’ Damon/Jeter/Abreu/A-Rod/Giambi, of course :).
    Tek is worth worrying about, but don’t count him out completely. I remember Posada’s declining numbers leading up to last year, until he suddenly bounced back in a big way, both defensively and offensively. Tek could do the same if he’s healthy, even if you shouldn’t count on it. Even so, he’ll become your typical bleck offensive catcher number 9 hitter type, which most teams have anyway. As long as his defense sticks, he’ll remain valuable (and maybe soften the blow when Mirabelli bats since the dropoff won’t be as much…I kid, I kid).

    Andrew March 28, 2007, 7:54 pm
  • Actually, Tyrel, I agree with you, for the most part. Drew fits in well in the 5 slot. My overall point was just to say this. From everything I’ve read, some of the spots are completely inflexible.
    1: Lugo
    3: Papi
    4. Manny
    5. Drew
    9. Pedroia
    Within that established framework (I know I’ll get requests as to where I’ve found this information, to those people I say: Read any ST fluff piece about the lineup, and you’ll agree that those slots are set in stone based upon the content) With all the questions, if Tito does bat Tek 7th, it might be about as good as we could hope for.
    Now, later in the season, if Pedroia has proven himself, I might like to see this:
    Lugo-Pedroia-Papi-Manny-Drew-Youkilis-Lowell-Tek-Crisp.
    Wastes Youk’s OBP abilities? Perhaps. But he’s also pretty good as a run producer, at least in my own warped little mind.
    Actually, Andrew, the soften the blow comment about Mirabelli doesn’t need the I kid, disclaimer. Absolutely frickin true.

    QuoSF March 28, 2007, 9:19 pm
  • Okay, so Villone can’t make the team now, right? Right? Please say I’m right. I don’t think I’ll be able to stomach Villone turning a 7-run lead into a save situation.

    Andrew March 28, 2007, 9:52 pm
  • YF is just needling. I seriously doubt he’d be thrilled if the Yankees led off Mientkiewicz, followed with Cairo, and buried Jeter at #8 or #9, and I am guessing his voice would be heard. The batting order is a legitimate topic for debate, and we’re happy to wait and see how the guys play before we start worrying about it too much.

    SF March 28, 2007, 10:00 pm
  • sf, i don’t think varitek’s decline is a fear, it’s reality…some months ago i mentioned that i thought [among] the bigger holes we had with both of our teams was our aging catchers…yeah, jorge had a good year last year, but he’s not getting any younger…with both catchers in their mid-30′s and no [legitimate] heir apparent, that’s a huge problem…batting order does matter, so i agree with you that it merits debate…i’d bat lugo first until crisp proves he can hit…

    dc March 28, 2007, 10:17 pm
  • “I agree wholeheartedly that Varitek is the Sox’ biggest question mark. On the other hand, I’d rather the Big “?” be one of nine hitters instead of one of five starters or one of one closer.” — Paul SF
    What?
    Beckett’s home run total, Wakefield’s inconsistency, the 5 hole, Papelbon’s health, not to mention Crisp’s hitting and basically our entire outfield’s defense.. god, need I go on?
    Varitek’s hitting is absolutely the least of my concerns. If he hits .240 again I’ll be ecstatic, and I fully expect him to do better than that.
    And, yeah, as a pitcher’s mentor, he’s invaluable anyway.

    Kazz March 28, 2007, 11:04 pm
  • Seriously doubt Beckett has nearly as many HR issues this year, Wakefield is far from inconsistent (count on a 4.00-4.60 ERA,) the 5 hole isn’t an issue with Drew, Crisp will be fine, and the outfield defense is improved upon from last year, with Manny only being a problem on the road.
    Paps’ health is a question mark, but I seriously doubt that turns into an issue. I think the whole thing has been overblown a bit.
    We’re going to need Varitek to hit a bit. .300/.390/25HRs, no, but at least .270/.350/15HRs. He’s perfectly capable of that.

    Steve March 29, 2007, 2:11 am
  • I was unclear, I meant 5 hole as in the 5th spot in the rotation. (which i guess isn’t really the 5 hole. but whatever.) As for the rest of it, “Oh, I’m sure it’ll be fine” doesn’t count as an explanation.
    And how dare you say that getting rid of Trot is a defensive improvement! If I could, I’d come here every time Drew lets a ball drop to post video of Trot making that exact play LAST YEAR, and I bet I’d be able to if I wouldn’t have to do it ten times a game.

    Kazz March 29, 2007, 5:20 am
  • and you know, I SERIOUSLY bet I’ll be able to do the same for Lugo/Gonzo, only make that 20 times a game.

    Kazz March 29, 2007, 5:21 am
  • steve, i admire your optimism, but it may be too much to expect your entire wish-list to come true…then again, it is spring…

    dc March 29, 2007, 8:41 am
  • Rate2 (Baseball Prospectus)
    Drew has a career Rate2 of 104 in RF (111 last season)
    Trot has a career Rate2 of 102 in RF (107 last season)
    Among RFs with 2500 or more chances (21 met this criteria)
    Drew was above-average, 5th in the Majors according to Dave Pinto’s PMR.
    Trot was below-average, 16th in the Majors according to Dave Pinot’s PMR.
    2006 Fielding Win Shares
    Drew: 3.1
    Nixon: 2.6
    Traditonal Range (rF)
    Drew: 2.31
    Nixon: 2.20
    This isn’t the best measure, but I think it’s clear. Trot’s been below two 3 seasons in his career. Drew has been below 2 0 times.
    Trot did have less errors last season (in less total chances), and also had 3 more assists. Beyond those two factors (and there are ways to debunk both as measures of defense), there’s no way to see Drew as anything but an upgrade in defense. Whether you want to see it as a slight upgrade or not is immaterial.

    QuoSF March 29, 2007, 8:49 am
  • quo, normally i’d want to pick a fight with you for disrespecting a former sox [lack of loyalty and all], but i just can’t…i’m either mellowing, or tiring, or i just can’t dispute your facts, which i didn’t even need to see to draw the same conclusion that drew is an upgrade over nixon in more than just fielding…the mere fact that drew is likely to actually play more games than trot did the past few years makes him an upgrade…when you factor in his better offense and defense it makes it more true…

    dc March 29, 2007, 9:23 am
  • Triskaidekaphobia March 29, 2007, 9:28 am
  • Kazz, come on man, get some perspective.
    I have as much man love for Trot as the next guy, but I’m sorry, Drew is an upgrade in every way over Trot, it’s not even an argument.
    Also, Gonzo had the hands and the leather, but not a lot of range, Lugo has the range and a much better bat than Gonzo, which isn’t saying much, but it’s the truth.
    Beckett, Schilling and Matsuzaka have all looked SOLID this spring, no reason to expect that to change, they have the potential to be 3 Aces.
    Wakefield will be Wakefield, he gets some run support this year and he wins 15 games.
    The 5th starter can be filled with Julian, Snyder or a few other people until Lester is ready, not worried.

    LocklandSF March 29, 2007, 9:35 am
  • And honestly, dc, my point was to prove to Kazz that yes, Drew is an upgrade rather than a downgrade on RF D. I love Trot, wish him all the success in the world in Cleveland, but the simple fact of the matter is that Drew is a more talented ballplayer. Doesn’t mean that Trot wasn’t a good RF in his heyday (he was), but I think it’s pretty clear that Drew is the better RF now.
    Anyone else think punting Lopez to AAA, putting Tavarez in that slot in the bullpen, and starting Hansack in the #5 slot actually makes the most sense?

    QuoSF March 29, 2007, 9:43 am
  • Trying to argue that Julio Lugo is in any way a defensive upgrade over Alex Gonzalez is futile. Lugo is not a good fielder, that’s just the way it is.

    Andrew March 29, 2007, 9:49 am
  • Andrew, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t saying Lugo was a defensive upgrade, but he will get to more balls, what he does with them once he gets there is another story. I also wouldn’t call him a bad fielder, just not a great one.

    LocklandSF March 29, 2007, 9:55 am
  • Lugo bests A-Gon in both PMR and Rate2, for what it’s worth.

    QuoSF March 29, 2007, 9:58 am
  • Andrew, Lugi is a good fielder, better than Gonzalez. He’s just not a good thrower. Sadly, it’s hard to field without eventually throwing.
    Anyway, those arguing about defense should remember that last season’s disaster was predicated partly on the fact that defense is equal to offense (run prevented=run scored). When the offense sputtered, all the defense in the world wasn’t going to help the Sox win.
    Kazz, those “questions” you threw out all have varying degrees of largeness, and most of them are not really all that concerning. Even if Beckett throws exactly the same way in 2007 as he did in 2006, he would be very likely to allow fewer home runs (his HR/FB was high enough to be statistically flukey). Outfield defense is not as important outfield offense — besides which, Crisp is not much worse than league average and Drew is one of the best in the game in right. Wakefield is not inconsistent, and he wasn’t last year until his rib broke. Papelbon’s health could be a concern, but so could Schilling’s and Beckett’s and Matsuzaka’s and everyone else’s. He’s shown no signs of injury this spring, and that’s what counts. If Tavarez, Snyder and eventually Lester fill the fifth spot, the Red Sox will be getting no worse than league-average performances from that hole, which is actually far better than most teams get out of the fifth spot in the rotation.
    I’d combine Varitek’s and Crisp’s bouncebacks as the two most pressing questions for the Sox entering 2007 — or at least the two questions I have the least amount of confidence in being answered positively.

    Paul SF March 29, 2007, 10:47 am
  • See, my problem with the Myth of Varitek (or MR. Inevitable) isn’t that he’s toast. That’s obvious.
    It’s that he’s ever been thought of as a great player.
    In his career, he’s had exactly three above average (not great – above average – Grade = solid B) offensive seasons (2003-2005).
    And in his career, he’s had exactly one above average (RATE2 = 105 = not great – Grade = C+/B-) defensive seasoon (2004).
    So basically the guy has had exactly one year (2004) where he’s been an above average backstop. Nice job doing so when he needed an extension.
    Now most Sox fans read this and say, nay SHOUT – But he knows how to handle pitchers!
    And I rest my case against the Myth of Jason Varitek.

    Jim - YF March 29, 2007, 11:09 am
  • It’s that he’s ever been thought of as a great player
    Your proclamation isn’t really accurate, and I think that’s why you run into resistance here. I am not sure I’ve ever thought of Varitek as a “great player”, and I am not sure that he’s ever been touted as an all-timer by most Red Sox fans. So I think there’s a misrepresentation on your part of how many of us Sox fans view Varitek in the pantheon of catchers (which is what calling him a “great player” would mean, at least to me). For me, I’ve always enjoyed watching him play. I think he’s a very important part of the team on numerous levels. But that’s very different from a proclamation that Varitek is a “great player”, and I think you do your own case a disservice by mutating some of our SF appreciation of Varitek (and a recognition of his importance to the team) into a supposedly hyperbolic assessment of his skills.

    SF March 29, 2007, 11:15 am
  • Then define him SF.
    Hint: An average catcher with one career year.
    See, that’s the cold hard truth. But how many here would agree with it (one) without taking a long hard swallow (two)?

    Jim - YF March 29, 2007, 11:22 am
  • You know what I agree with Jim, that you’re a troll and always will be, you’re trying to stir a pot that doesn’t exist, you make inflammatory statements for the sole purpose of trying to get a rise out of Red Sox fans, you’re obsessed with trying to make a point about Varitek that nobody cares about besides you for some stupid reason. You’re pathetic. Grow up.

    LocklandSF March 29, 2007, 11:34 am
  • I did define him, Jim. You didn’t really read my comment, so I’ll repeat myself: He’s an important player for the team who I enjoy watching. He did have four really solid years from ’02-’05. Since I do not, like you say many of us do, consider him a “great player”, then what’s the point in classifying him further?
    It seems that you have an almost comical resentment towards Varitek and those who enjoy watching him, I have to say. When I agree that he’s not a great player, that’s not enough for you: we need to start sh*tting on Varitek to placate your resentment. The thing is that we all choose who we enjoy watching, who we root for, and sometimes we see qualities in players that others don’t, or give players the benefit of the doubt when his teammates expound on qualities that are less measurable. You do your best to deflect your resentment or disingenuously rename it as “truthtelling”. But you really just come off as angry, to be honest. It’s like you have this desire to tell us who we should or shouldn’t admire or root for, which is absurd.

    SF March 29, 2007, 11:35 am
  • And Lockland with the ad hominen!
    Still, I don’t see anyone arguing the basic premise. In the past, you tried. Bravo for accepting reality.
    My work here is done.

    Jim - YF March 29, 2007, 11:37 am
  • Sorry, SF, saying he’s not a great player is like saying Rich Gedman wasn’t a great player. (Though Varitek had only more average season).
    The funny thing is not my resentment to Varitek, it’s the people who bought the Myth without thinking about it rationally. All the people that thought Varitek was just a tick below Jorge. Or that Varitek is a solid catcher.
    See, the word solid only applies if you mean “average”. And by that definition, 2002 wasn’t even that for Varitek. The best part is: Your enlightened management will be paying him 10 million this year AND next year while Coco Chanel roams CF. They paid the guy with the Juiced Myth!
    Good times!

    Jim - YF March 29, 2007, 11:48 am
  • I blame sf rod. He called the beast, and the beast awakened.
    Considering catching is a below-average offensive position, the fact that Varitek had three consecutive above-average offensive years — which coincided with the peak of his team’s success — magnifies his contributions, which are real and significant.
    Is Varitek Carlton Fisk, Gary Carter, Mickey Cochrane, etc.? Nope. He’s not great. He’s not going to the Hall of Fame. (Sorry, Jim, but neither is Jorge Posada). But he was (and possibly still is) very good, and very valuable. And I’m not sure what your problem with him is, except that apparently you’re just very, very angry (ironic, really, considering our past conversations).

    Paul SF March 29, 2007, 11:49 am
  • sf rod – Is that a good enough stench for you?

    Jim - YF March 29, 2007, 11:51 am
  • List of things about Jason Varitek that Jim doesn’t like:
    1. Fans who enjoy watching him play – the nerve!!!
    2. Fans who overestimate his ability
    3. His contract
    4. His statistics
    5. The way he ties his cleats: no double knot, which could lead to injury.
    6. That he has a “K” in his last name. Jim hates the letter K!
    7. Icky brown wallpaper in Tek’s guest bathroom: too drab.
    8. Tek uses super-premium unleaded gas when his car only calls for the 91 octane stuff.
    Jim, you need some help. Honestly.

    SF March 29, 2007, 11:54 am
  • i can’t believe we keep having this discussion…i like to wrestle with the sox fans as much as the next yf, sometimes pointlessly, but this debate hasn’t run its course, because it never really existed, except maybe in jim’s mind…i don’t recall any sf’s declaring varitek’s “greatness”, so that point is moot…they’ve merely said he had a few good years as a sox, including his best, which just happened to coincide with the championship year, and they appreciate what his contribution has meant to the team…nothing more than that…the fact that he has developed a reputation for being good with the pitchers is a fact…they all say it…i’m with sf, we tend to find some love for every player we root for…sometimes it’s a stretch, but we do it anyway…if varitek had never played for the sox we wouldn’t be having this discussion…just like i wouldn’t even know [or care] who jorge posada was if he hadn’t been a yankee…

    dc March 29, 2007, 11:58 am
  • dc, you da man!!!

    SF March 29, 2007, 12:02 pm
  • “the peak of his team’s success”
    Ha!
    “magnifies his contributions”
    Sure. Just like Damon or Foulke. But only in the minds of Sox fans.
    Very good = above average. Since Varitek had only eaxctly one season where he was THAT (and he ain’t sniffing it again) that assessment is revisionist history plus fanboy optimism.
    And Posada is well on the road to Copperstown. It’s a long shot, but given that his most similar now is Fisk, and that he’s outlasted Pudge 2.0 and Piazza of this generation, another two or three years even close to last and he’s there.
    Even still I think he’s at minumum a Veteran’s Committee right now. They look back in twenty years, and he stands out as the third best catcher of his generation.
    You know, especially because he has three rings and counting.

    Jim - YF March 29, 2007, 12:02 pm
  • dc -
    You must have missed the thread where MFSF’s were arguing that Varitek was better than or equal to Jorge.
    The nerve and the stupidity!
    Oh wait – you diss the great Jorge Posada? You belong with them.

    Jim - YF March 29, 2007, 12:05 pm
  • Posada might be on the road to Copperstown, Jim, but he is not on the road to Cooperstown.
    Ivan Rodriguez has a career 113 OPS+, 12 Gold Gloves and 15 All-Star appearances. Seven of his 10 comparables are Hall of Famers, including Fisk, Carter, Ted Simmons, Yogi Berra and Johnny Bench. His Jamesian HOF Standards and HOF Monitor numbers are well above the baseline for average and likely Hall of Famers.
    Mike Piazza has a career 145 OPS+ and 14 All-Star apparances. Six of his 10 comps are Hall-of-Famers, including Berra (No. 1), Bench, Carter and Fisk. His HOF numbers are even better than I-Rod’s.
    Jorge Posada has a career 122 OPS+ and zero Gold Gloves and just six All-Star appearances. His No. 1 career comp is Roy Campanella, a Hall of Famer — but the only Hall of Famer on his comp list. For the majority of his career, his No. 1 “through age XX” comp has been Mike Lieberthal, not Fisk. (After age 34, Fisk when on to play 12 more years. Is Posada going to be playing for the Yankees in 2019? Doubtful). Lieberthal is Posada’s No. 2 career comp. Others include Terry Steinback, Mike Stanley, Javy Lopez … and Jason Varitek. His HOF Standards number is 36.2 (average HOF = 50), and his HOF Monitor number is 70 (likely HOF = 100).
    As it stands, Rodriguez and Piazza are Hall of Famerz. Posada and Varitek are not.

    Paul SF March 29, 2007, 12:18 pm
  • “Hall of Famerz…” Nice. Also, should be “went on to play 12 more years.”
    For the record, Varitek has a career 105 OPS+, one Gold Glove award and two All-Star appearances. His No. 1 comp is Mike Macfarlane, and he has no Hall of Famers on his comp list. His HOF Standards number is 31.7, and his HOF Monitors number is 15. So he is not as good as Posada. But likewise Posada is nowhere near Piazza or Rodriguez.

    Paul SF March 29, 2007, 12:22 pm
  • So that must mean Jeter is a lock for the HOF, he has Gold Gloves. Pheww thanks Paul you brought some sunshine my way after all that nonsense about how good or bad Tek is. Jeter HOF Class 2019.
    GG’s are terrible justification for HOF consideration. Does Pudge still get penciled in every year at Catcher, Yes. Does he deserve it, NO. It’s a flawed voting system and the most deserving hardly wins. Isn’t that the same argument Sox fans use when Jeter wins it? His range, bloobity, bloobity.
    Ahywho, Posada may not be a HOF’r, but when it’s all said and done he’s a better catcher then Tek, so spin as you may.

    Triskaidekaphobia March 29, 2007, 12:31 pm
  • There goes Paul again lumping Jorge and Varitek togther. They belong no where in the same room, let alone the same discussion.
    Saying Varitek doesn’t belong in Cooperstown is like saying Gedman doesn’t belong there.
    Jorge was a better hitter than I-Rod and a better defender than Piazza. The only thing holding back his career comps is the number of years played (the Yankees fault, not his). The most similars are helpful but less so for catchers because longevity has never been associated with the position except for the HOF’ers. And those HOF standards don’t take defense into account.
    No, I don’t think Jorge goes into Cooperstown as a vote of the writers. Not now. But three years like last and another ring to remind them? Absolutely. There’s been nothing to suggest he’s “toast”.
    But if the vet comm (or it’s equivalent) looks back in 2020 and tries to find another catcher to elect – that’s Jorge. In the nineties and zeros, he stands out. Not like Pudge and Piazza, but then that’s because they excelled in defense and offense, hwereas Jorge has above average in both for the length of his career (.298 EQA and 103 RATE2, thanks).
    Don’t agree with me though. I have the pleasure of knowing that any way it goes, Jorge will be in the popular discussion when the time rolls around. Varitek won’t be.

    Jim - YF March 29, 2007, 12:35 pm
  • Jeez, give Paul a break. He presented useful numbers. He acknowledges that Tek isn’t as good as Posada. At some point,the idea of “reasonable discussion” just gets chucked out the window by some of you guys.
    Paul could have easily eliminated the presentation of Varitek’s numbers and HOF comps if he wanted the discussion to be of a certain tone, but he didn’t shy away from them, though they are not totally flattering.
    The debates here can get tiring, since it’s a zero-sum game way too often.

    SF March 29, 2007, 12:35 pm
  • Jesus Trisk, don’t go all Jim on us, has anyone here ever said Tek is better than Posada? Numbers don’t lie and Posada has better numbers, has any Sox fan even tried to argue that? If so, I haven’t seen it.
    Also, GGs was just one of the many points Paul was using.

    LocklandSF March 29, 2007, 12:37 pm
  • I have the pleasure of knowing that any way it goes, Jorge will be in the popular discussion when the time rolls around. Varitek won’t be.
    Seriously, Jim, you have a jaded and f*cked up way of following baseball. You take “pleasure” with the idea that Varitek won’t be considered for the HoF? And we SFs get accused of obsessing about our rival?
    I could never contemplate devoting emotional energy to specualating (and foreseeing a day where I revel in the fact) that Paul O’Neill or Bernie Williams might not make the Hall of Fame. How lame.

    SF March 29, 2007, 12:39 pm
  • SF -
    It’s this discussion tough guy. It will come back to you whether you want it to or not.
    And if Trot Nixon was half the player that O’Neil was, then you would be just as invested in that comparison.
    Goes back to the Jeter and Nomar days too. Jeter’s the HOF’er. Nomah isn’t.
    The Yanks have their HOF’ers: Jeter, Mo, and Jorge.
    The Sox have theirs: Pedro and Clemens.
    The rest (Manny, A-Rod, Schilling, Unit) go in with someone else’s cap (though Manny and A-Rod could make it close with decisions in the next year or two).

    Jim - YF March 29, 2007, 12:50 pm
  • “Jesus Trisk, don’t go all Jim on us, has anyone here ever said Tek is better than Posada? Numbers don’t lie and Posada has better numbers, has any Sox fan even tried to argue that? If so, I haven’t seen it.”
    It seems like I am picking on Paul lately, when in all honesty I have a great deal of respect, but it just seems like we are taking Jorge down with the ship. If Tek can’t go, neither can Jorge. Truth be told, even with injuries last season he was the 2nd best all around catcher in the AL. He was very good defensively and his offensive numbers were super. As for Sox fans not arguing that Tek is as good or better, you must not have ears then. I sat in the bleachers at a Sox-Yanks game in Fenway and had to listen to a young lady (wearing a I HEART TEK license plate around her neck) and her boyfriend tell me for 2 1/2 hours how “Wicked Good” Tek is.
    As for Paul O’Neill and BW, who is saying that they should be?

    Triskaidekaphobia March 29, 2007, 12:53 pm
  • jim, i didn’t “diss” jorge…i merely said that i wouldn’t give a rat’s behind about him if he hadn’t worn pinstripes…just like i could care less about i-rod and piazza [who many believe should never have been a catcher in the first place, better suited to be a DH in the AL perhaps]…i’d love to join you on the jorge in the hall bandwagon, but the honesty in me prevents it…unless he has a few more years at the top of his game [and i have my doubts], the only way he’s getting into the hall is if he buys a ticket…as for varitek, what is your problem?…i explained why the sox appreciate him, but i can’t let you twist what they say and put words in their mouths…let me recap for you:
    1. sf’s have not said varitek is great
    2. sf’s have conceded that varitek is not a hall of famer
    3. sf’s have acknowledged that jorge has better career numbers
    what the hell do you want from them?

    dc March 29, 2007, 12:56 pm
  • Jim, did Jason Varitek once refuse you an autograph during a sixth grade outing or something?

    SF March 29, 2007, 12:57 pm
  • Trisk, you’re taking me too literally. I am simply saying that I don’t sit around and ponder my pleasure levels over possible future Yankee HoF rejections, a la Jim.
    Paul was very fair, and I think you guys are jumping on him incorrectly: he cited Posada’s HoF Jamesian numbers factually. And Tek’s as well. Tek isn’t at all close, Posada is closer but still below the standard. It’s not really debatable from that standpoint.
    And I agree with you: the two players aren’t tied to each other by any means.

    SF March 29, 2007, 1:00 pm
  • dc -
    1. You either haven’t read enough around here (Pre-Jim days and especially pre-2006) or haven’t talked to enough SF’s (see Trisk).
    2. Only after 2006. Beforehand, it would have taken alot of arguing, if that.
    3. Again, you either haven’t read enough or haven’t talked to enough SF’s. If they’re knowledgeable enough to admit it, they say stuff like you’ve seen here (Better catcher. Better game caller. Better defensively). Of the stuff we can actually see with numbers, they’re wrong on all accounts.
    See, the Myth Of Varitek is so persistent. That’s what gets me. It’s (almost) impervious to reason. I’m glad to see the tide has turned. At least around here.

    Jim - YF March 29, 2007, 1:07 pm
  • That assumes Jim is at least 10 years old, SF. Iffy.

    Devine March 29, 2007, 1:08 pm
  • Yes!! Jim refers to self in the third person, classifying us as having a “Pre-Jim” era here at YFSF.
    (When can we start the “Post-Jim” era?!)

    SF March 29, 2007, 1:11 pm
  • SF -
    They’re tied together by many, many SF’s. That’s what gets me.
    The Paps comparison to Mo is just beginning, but you see the same pattern. And that will be even more disgusting if his shoulder holds on for a few more seasons.
    What is it with SF’s? It’s not my problem, but why the persistent need to soil all that is pure and beautiful?

    Jim - YF March 29, 2007, 1:13 pm
  • Jim, the point is, why the hell do you care so much, you’re a Yankee fan? Lot’s of fans from both sides don’t know what they are talking about, like you and Posada for example, a lot of Red Sox fans, like the one that Trisk met at the game, just don’t know.
    Again, for example, a lot of Yankee fans really think that Giambi and Sheff were clean, when we all know that they were both on the juice.
    Some times, fans on both sides are just blind to the truth.

    LocklandSF March 29, 2007, 1:17 pm
  • Jim started posting on the topic and Jim got alot of flak from SF’s. Jim, being his persistent self, now loves the fact that those same SF’s have promptly shut the f#$% up.
    Jim work is done here.

    Jim - YF March 29, 2007, 1:18 pm
  • Brad thinks Jim has a complex. Come to think of it, so does everyone on the board he normally posts, err, trolls on.

    Brad March 29, 2007, 1:21 pm
  • Jim cares b/c it’s the flak he got here, from supposedly knowledgeable fans and from offline. The knowledgeable fans have at least bent to reason and facts. The offline fans of course won’t.
    That’s a sign to Jim that the world has hope.
    And Jorge is already in the HOF discussion. When he retires, his case will only be stronger. Again, don’t listen to Jim. Just light a candle in his honor every year when you hear Jorge’s name in that discussion.

    Jim - YF March 29, 2007, 1:24 pm
  • And if Jim remembers correctly, YF’s too gave him flak and said things like “It’s close”.
    That made Jim a very unhappy boy.

    Jim - YF March 29, 2007, 1:30 pm
  • Most true statements, that inherently don’t support our own crooked belief system, tend to make us unhappy.
    You made a case that Jorge was better than Pudge, at which time, I have to consider you either A)retarded, or B) a guy in a basement with thousands of Jorge Posada newspaper clippings taped all over the walls and a voo-doo doll.
    I’ve posted the stats of all three catchers before for you to glance over, and you still refuse to see the numbers in front of you.
    Brad thinks there’s not much we can do for you any longer.
    Also, Brad tends to think that people who refer to themselves in the third person are not wrapped up correctly, so now he’s stopping.

    Brad March 29, 2007, 1:35 pm
  • Brad – better “hitter”:
    Career EQA:
    Jorge – .298
    I-Rod – .283
    Career OPS+
    Jorge – 122
    I-Rod – 113

    Jim - YF March 29, 2007, 1:39 pm
  • Let’s just finish that off:
    Career EQA:
    Piazza – .314
    Jorge – .298
    I-Rod – .283
    Career OPS+
    Piazza – 145
    Jorge – 122
    I-Rod – 113
    Career RATE2
    Piazza – 91
    Jorge – 103
    I-Rod – 111
    Notice anything?
    Jorge = the offensive average of Piazza and Pudge.
    Jorge = the defensive average of Piazza and Pudge.
    I’ll take that, thanks, and for three more years please (though that’s asking for alot).

    Jim - YF March 29, 2007, 1:46 pm
  • oh my god.
    Please post a full set of statistical data; cherrypicking what stats Jorge beats out Pudge in is not only the futile attempt of a man without a acknowledgable argument to be heard, but one which allows zero room for comparibility. To compare players, you have to look at the entire picture. For example, and I’m cherrypicking here for your own pleasure:
    Mariano River last year – 34 Saves
    BJ Ryan last year – 38 Saves
    BJ Ryan is a better closer than Mariano Rivera. The stats prove it, and there’s no denying that given THIS statistical data, BJ Ryan is the better choice in the ninth inning.

    Brad March 29, 2007, 1:47 pm
  • Um, hello? Career stats? Hello? Anyone, home?

    Jim - YF March 29, 2007, 1:51 pm
  • hahah. I, nor anyone in the world, is taking you seriously right now. Pudge is the best backstop, any of us has ever seen. Hands down, no arguent, and no comparison.
    Seriously, let’s not compare what Pudge is doing going into his SEVENTEENTH major league season as a catcher, and look at what he was doing six or seven years ago.
    Jim, I really think you’re alone on this one, and while I know it may hurt your feelings, Jorge is not the catcher Pudge was or is.
    I’m not discriminating agaist Jorge, but really, he’s not better than Varitek to an arguable level, and he’s certainly not a better catcher than Pudge.

    Brad March 29, 2007, 1:52 pm
  • yeah, someone’s home. I’m pointing out your flawed statistical analysis, Jim.
    Holy cow, I’m a Posada fan! But my fanaticism clearly doesn’t go as far as yours.
    Pudge is a lifetime 3/4/5 guy. Over the span of 17 seasons. Still has the best cannon in the game from the box, and was really the groundbreaker when it came to defining the stable water mark for catchers in today’s game.

    Brad March 29, 2007, 1:55 pm
  • Jorge may get some recognition when it comes to the HOF, but in reality, Pudge is going in on ballot number one, with an amazing percentage of the votes.

    Brad March 29, 2007, 1:57 pm
  • And there Brad outs himself as a complete representative of RSN! You hit the mean, boy!
    1. Why confront facts when you can make up your own?
    2. Lumping Varitek and Jorge together. Notice again how all your breatheren have STFU on that point.
    3. Jorge isn’t a better catcher than Pudge. But he is the better “hitter” – hands down. Better judgement. Better power.

    Jim - YF March 29, 2007, 1:58 pm
  • No doubt, Pudge is first ballot.
    Right now, Jorge get in via the Vet Comm IMHO. We’ll see when he retires. For every year like last, his percetage goes up.

    Jim - YF March 29, 2007, 2:01 pm
  • STFU?
    Jim – we’re having an intelligent (for the most part) argument here, so no need to play the internet tough guy, or the guy who makes people “STFU”, because, clearly you don’t. I’m here.
    Please point out to me exactly where Jorge is hands and feet above either in any category? Where is there an absolute advantage to haveing one over the other in the game? At what point in the game is it an absolute given that Jorge is the best option over either of the other two?
    I’m confused about where this decided advantage is? All of them are good, and all of them have advantage over the other two.
    Also, if you’d like to get into a name-calling flame war, you’ve picked the right guy to do so with. If you’d like to keep it legit, I’m game, but stay away from the snide, and disrespectful comments. Otherwise, I’ll have to bring up a few of the smarter Yankee fans we’ve all run into over the years:
    http://www.scsuscholars.com/uploaded_images/3879378_7_1-737084.jpg

    Brad March 29, 2007, 2:06 pm
  • Right now, Jorge get in via the Vet Comm IMHO. We’ll see when he retires. For every year like last, his percetage goes up.
    How about like the one before, when his stats looked a little more like:
    262 .352 .430
    and couldn’t trow anyone out?

    Brad March 29, 2007, 2:09 pm
  • I have no idea what you’re saying.

    Jim - YF March 29, 2007, 2:09 pm
  • “I don’t think Jorge goes into Cooperstown as a vote of the writers. Not now. But three years like last and another ring to remind them?”
    I’d give “another three years like last” at about the same chances of Doug Mientwhatever smacking 20 hrs this season.
    “So that must mean Jeter is a lock for the HOF, he has Gold Gloves.” I’d say Jeter is a lock irregahdless of his defense.

    Tyrel SF March 29, 2007, 2:10 pm
  • Like I said, it isn’t likely IMHO. Still, he’s shown he’s got alot left and could have a job for three more years if he wanted to.
    My question for you: What are the Sox to do with Varitek if he’s stinking up the joint in July?
    Heck, if he puts up another stinker like last year, they should keep him around just because he makes 10 mil?

    Jim - YF March 29, 2007, 2:14 pm
  • me spell good.

    Brad March 29, 2007, 2:16 pm
  • Jim,
    Your point about losing Varitek to injury of lack of production could pretty much apply to every most teams, no?
    Personally, I think Tek will be fine this year, and while it’s a nice year towards his detractors to point to as his first big slip, I don’t think it’s pattern. Maybe I’m wrong, and maybe I’m not. I can’t see into the future, but regardless, I’ll take him for what he’s worth, and if the time comes and he can’t do it, I’ll move on. But your assumption that Tek and Jorge have played careers on two different levels is not only unfounded by significant percentage points in any category whatsoever, but so biased and fanboyish I can’t take it seriously.

    Brad March 29, 2007, 2:20 pm
  • every most teams? hahah. You get the point.

    Brad March 29, 2007, 2:22 pm
  • It’s not about injury – it about a healthy line of .238 .325 .400. Maybe it’s the fork in his back?
    And you’re the only one not taking it seriously. Vartiek has had exactly one above average season (offensively and defensively) in his career. It’s time to wake up and smell that.

    Jim - YF March 29, 2007, 2:26 pm
  • Tyrel,
    Jeter will most likely go into the hall with a speed at which your head will spin. Take that to the bank and deposit it into the “sure thing” account. Gold Glove BS aside, just as Pudge defined the high water mark for backstops, so has Jeter done for his position. If not for the A-Rod, Jeters and Nomars of the late nineties, we all might be happy with, well, lesser shortstops. Somehow though, the comparisons alwasys stop at one place: New York’s shortstop. Granted, this is because the best at that spot no longer plays there, but rather at third, but that’s here nor there. He’s the high water mark at his postion now, and will most likely always be – well until Hanley and Jose Reyes take over that scene in a few years.

    Brad March 29, 2007, 2:27 pm
  • hey, i might have opened the door but you guy’s didn’t need to put out the buffet table.

    sf rod March 29, 2007, 2:29 pm
  • so, you’re telling me that Varitek was healthy all last year, and didn’t play through injuries all year to his knee and back?
    And no, I’m sure that I’m not the only one laughing at your argument.
    How many season has Jorge had that are significantly better than Tek’s? I’m looking, but really, I don’t see it. I’m looking at the numbers, and it appears to me that both are so close to each other it’s rediculous.

    Brad March 29, 2007, 2:31 pm
  • also, when I say significantly I’m talking about greater than a five or ten percent swing in either direction.. not one or two percentage points, which I can chalk up to lineups, park, health, and other circumstances.

    Brad March 29, 2007, 2:35 pm
  • Brad
    I’m in absolute agreement with you on Jeter, sorry if I wasn’t clearer.
    I’d never seen the 5-year projections on baseball prospectus before, they’re actually pretty optimistic abou Tek, compared to what I’m thinking -
    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/pecota/varitja01.php
    15 Hrs, .357 obp, .810 ops. I’d take that any day of the week, twice on sunday.
    Posada’s five year projection -
    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/pecota/posadjo01.php

    Tyrel SF March 29, 2007, 2:36 pm
  • Brad – read this thread. Beginning to end. You’re alone – here at least. Thank God.

    Jim - YF March 29, 2007, 2:48 pm
  • Thank who?
    Jim, my argument is based around the idea that I think Posada and Varitek are essentially the same person behind the plate, not the forcasting (which is stupid) of what Tek’s numbers will look like at the end of this year.
    Clearly we’re on two different pages here. If we are talking about my concerns over the upcoming year with Tek, I’d be lying to say that I’m not. But, do I think he won’t be a servicable backstop and not a hole in the lineup? Yes, absolutely. Is he going to hit .380? No. I’ll worry about it when it happens, not in March.

    Brad March 29, 2007, 2:59 pm
  • Wow.
    I stopped reading about 20 posts ago, but I did want to explain why I used Gold Gloves, which I and others have criticized as being utterly pointless.
    While I detest GGs, they are still used by a lot of HOF voters to determine how good a player was defensively. Believe me, when I-Rod is up for HOF induction, I guarantee you EVERY story will list his ridiculous number of GGs, deserved or not.
    The fact that neither Varitek nor Posada are going to the HOF does include them in the same room, Jim, but it’s a mighty large room that also includes Kelly Stinett and Doug Mirabelli, so I wouldn’t freak out too much about the comparison. Basically, as you just said a couple comments ago, you’re pinning Posada’s HOF chances on three more years like last year, when he’s 34 and last year was itself a bounceback from what looked to be his own mid-30s decline. I think most rational YFs would agree that’s a stretch.

    Paul SF March 29, 2007, 3:02 pm
  • It is, however, worth noting that Posada, since he started putting in full-time duties as catcher, has been the best offensive catcher in baseball over that time span. That’s manipulating numbers though, as 2 years after Posada’s first full season, ‘Pudge’ and Piazza started their decline. However it’s foolish to discount Posada on a possible trip to Cooperstown, as his career has not yet ended. He started catching late, which is why he can probably play into his late 30s, piling up HOF-worthy numbers in the process.

    Andrew March 29, 2007, 3:29 pm
  • I, for one, have been convinced that Varitek is nothing but a liability to the ball club, and should be released from his contract immediately and probably shot for single-handedly keeping us out of the playoffs last year.

    Kazz March 29, 2007, 4:58 pm
  • Varitek 162G career average:
    .269/ .348/ .450
    Posada 162G career avg:
    .270/ .375/ .472
    Conclusion:
    Posada is a slightly better hitter than Varitek
    Varitek career fielding:
    52E, .993F%
    Posada career fielding:
    69E, .992F%
    Conclusion:
    Varitek is a slightly better position player than Posada.
    Pros/Cons:
    Varitek: game calling abilities, captain of team/ appears to be on decline
    Posada: true yankee, easily excited/ lack of game calling abilities (see R. Johnson for more info), lacks discernible chin.
    Conclusions:
    1. Neither player is HOF material.
    2. Jim is an idiot who will most likely beat his “Mr. Inevitable” drum once again.
    Let it go, Jim- life is too short to go around being ignorant.

    SD Soxfan March 29, 2007, 5:41 pm
  • As for Pudge I really gained new respect for him in 2003. He dominated the playoffs and carried that team in the WS, defensively and offensively. He was an offensive minded version of the defensive master, Tony Pena. He changed the way teams played the game. Problem is this, he has not been that same dominant catcher since 2003, YET they keep awarding him GG after GG and people continue to hold him in the same regard.

    Triskaidekaphobia March 29, 2007, 10:42 pm
  • Trisk,
    As as soon as someone can prove they can do what Pudge can do behind the plate with his arm, and his leadership, they’ll start paying attention to someone else.

    Brad March 30, 2007, 12:29 am
  • I’ve heard that Pudge is not so good with the game-calling, though. I think someone on here said they’d heard (how’s that for good sourcing?) he would call for more fastballs than warranted with a runner on first in the hopes of padding his CS numbers. Just a rumor, i guess…

    Paul SF March 30, 2007, 10:30 am
  • I don’t know Brad I just don’t see it. I think 2003 was his last hurrah, but I have already put too much energy into a discussion on a man I can’t stomach.
    As for him calling fastballs on running counts, I think all catchers are guilty of that. I for one can tell you I would call fastball 99% of the time on good running counts, no shame in that. Have to give them a chance. Nothing worse then watching that runner break and your waiting for the curve/slider/changeup to settle in your glove!

    Triskaidekaphobia March 30, 2007, 10:48 am

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