Will Jason the Captain Go The Way Of Manny The Manny?

Scott The Agent predictably says Jason The Former Mariner Prospect is still an elite player:

"If you think about his physical conditioning, he’s got many more
years to play in this game," Boras said last night. "When he’s out
there, this club is decisively different. You’re really talking about a
guy that is inherently valuable. In this day and time, what is a player
like that worth?

"We’re in the process of finalizing data intake.
We have to look at the marketplace. We have to look at similarly
situated All-Star players, who they are in stature to their team. There
are many comparisons. We’re certainly going to look at how those
players [were] received in the free agent market and use that as that
watermark."

Meanwhile Theo The Boy Wonder has a supposedly tough decision to make, which I (Nick The News Watcher) think is a pretty easy one considering the options and the C on the free agent’s uni. Sign Jason The Blue Collar Player for more than he might deserve. Yes, he’ll be like Joe Wurzelbacher and he won’t quite fit the label his fans have given him. But when you’re a successful money-making franchise, what’s a few more millions of dollars for someone who’s used to the money and has been so good for the team?

Or you can let him walk and let him become Jason The Pirate or The Marlin or The Met or The Yank (you never know!)

16 comments… add one

  • > If you think about his physical conditioning, he’s got many more years to play in this game
    If you don’t think about it, he will develop a double hernia and a goiter. Think! Damn you!
    > When he’s out there, this club is decisively different
    When he’s not, this club is indecisively indifferent.
    > You’re really talking about a guy that is inherently valuable.
    YOU’RE talking, supposedly about a guy that shall inherent the earth.
    > In this day and time, what is a player like that worth?
    Not much, not on this day and at this time. Call us back in a couple months.
    > We’re in the process of finalizing data intake.
    That’s utterly depressing marketing-speak. Maybe show me a power-point so I will hate it more.
    > We have to look at similarly situated All-Star players
    Non-hitting catchers with deteriorating defense who were voted to the ASG by players. Shouldn’t take long to look, no?
    > There are many comparisons
    I thought it was a company of one.
    Look, as much as I hate to say it, I _like_ Tek. But c’mon, Scott, what the hell are you trying to say? Oh wait. You didn’t say a thing.

    attackgerbil October 23, 2008, 8:12 pm
  • An elite player? God lord he’s a master spin doctor! I need Boras to come over and convince my wife that although I seem a little chunky I’m still in my HS shape!

    John - YF October 23, 2008, 8:12 pm
  • Pay him whatever he wants to use his computer-like brain as a coach, but please god don’t let him anywhere near an at bat. Please.

    Jackie (SF) October 23, 2008, 10:52 pm
  • Presumably the organization has made an evaluation of George Kottaras and Dusty Brown. If neither of them can handle major league hitting duties, then a trade needs to be pulled off.
    Varitek is a bad option. I don’t want him back unless the Red Sox exhaust all plausible internal and external options. There’s nothing on the free agent market (Pudge Rodriguez? blech), but there are teams with catching prospects, particularly the Rangers. I’d target Teagarden. In a brief stint of 16 games with the Rangers, he put up this line: .319 /.396 /.809 (6 HR, 5 2B).
    If Tek returns, he should platoon and hit primarily against lefties. But I don’t expect him back.

    Andrew F. (Sox Fan) October 24, 2008, 12:59 am
  • When do we seriously start contemplating if Tek used PEDs? .500 slugging for the first time at 31? Then for two more years until testing kicks in but to never come close again? He never hit for power in the minors.
    I’ve never bought into his myth, probably because I haven’t lived in Beantown since 1989. Any case, it’s time for him to retire. But with the new girlfriend and alimony payments, I think he’ll take the money where ever Boras can get it.

    Dave SF October 24, 2008, 8:07 am
  • Red Sox need to get rid of him…Make sure you go out and get Pudge..

    the mayor October 24, 2008, 9:03 am
  • If they want to get a minor leaguer, or a nice prospect and platoon him for a year under Tek, I’m fine with it.
    But, if no moves are made, and Tek just gets resigned, I have a HUGE problem with it.
    In fact, if it were up to me, Tito should have made him find his own way home from Florida last week. :)

    Brad October 24, 2008, 10:35 am
  • Dave SF – wouldn’t you have those same concerns with any player who showed a spike at an odd time? Posada comes to mind… but I don’t think he used. Would hate to think Tek was a user, but we will probably never know.

    dave sf October 24, 2008, 10:58 am
  • not sure why Dave SF came up as the poster, it was me

    dw (sf) October 24, 2008, 10:59 am
  • Yankees already have one overpaid catcher. We sure as shit need a second one!

    310ToJoba October 24, 2008, 12:00 pm
  • Catchers are notoriously late developers. That he had his peak season at 31 doesn’t strike me as unusual.
    If Boras wants comparisons, here’s some:
    The 10 most similar batters to Jason Varitek through age 36 combined to post the following line in their age 37 and following seasons: .250/.326/.351. Five of the 10 retired after their age 36 season. Two retired after the next season. Only one lasted as many as three seasons after age 36. That was Elston Howard, who posted a 78 OPS+ during those seasons.
    Using that info, B-R predicts Varitek will play one more season and be bad enough to lower his career batting average of .263 by two points, his career OBP of .346 by two points and his career slugging of .439 by nine points.

    Paul SF October 24, 2008, 1:51 pm
  • Tek’s PECOTA projections (from before the 2008 season) –
    2008: .254 / .351 / .420
    2009: .253 / .347 / .423
    2010: .241 / .327 / .395
    2011: .241 / .325 / .392
    (2012-onward, out of baseball)
    Tek was right around his 25th percentile for this year. I’d expect his projections for 2009 to be revised downward significantly.

    Andrew F. (Sox Fan) October 24, 2008, 2:08 pm
  • Forgot to include the source.
    Link:
    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/pecota/varitja01.php

    Andrew F. (Sox Fan) October 24, 2008, 2:09 pm
  • Paul – wow – anyway I guess I could suffer humiliation and gossip behind my back for a few million a year. but those are putrid numbers, and lowing career numbers by points is significant!

    dw (sf) October 24, 2008, 3:19 pm
  • Since 1908, there have been 17 catchers (a total of 23 seasons) who have had a slugging percentage of at least .500 at age 31 or greater while qualifying for the batting title. Of those 17 players, four reached that power level for the first time at that late stage (Posada slugged .527 at age 28):
    Elston Howard – age 32 – 1961
    Terry Steinbach – age 34 – 1996
    Benito Santiago – age 31 – 1996
    Jason Varitek – age 31 – 2003
    That’s it. In the history of baseball, only four catchers have slugged .500 for the first time at age 31 or older.
    Let’s go through them one by one:
    Steinbach no doubt had a career year in 1996. He never approximated that level of production before or after. He did however slug .544 in a full season of AA-ball at age 24.
    Santiago had shown glimpses of power previously – topping .450 slugging in the minors twice, and in his first big league season. But from then on he didn’t show much power. He also found a career year in 1996, and a bit of a carry over from his injury shortened 1995. He would never again
    Howard is an interesting case. He was Yogi Berra’s backup for five seasons until the 1960 season (91 games at catcher, previous high = 67). In that 1961 season, he finally claimed the starting position (111 games) and held it for five more years. Whether there was a connection or not, 1961 was his career year as well, though he had previously slugged .475 in two full seasons (though not as a full-time catcher) and he would hit that level the following two seasons.
    Varitek hit his peak at age 31 and sustained that peak for another two seasons. That late, that high, and that long of a peak is simply unprecedented in baseball history for a catcher. By itself, that might be interesting. But his history and future signal a red light given the times in which he played. He never slugged even .450 in the minors. He did slug .482 at the typical peak age of 27 but that level of power disappeared for three seasons.
    So, how can Varitek re-find that level of power after that much of an absence? Then maintain it for another two seasons in a way that no catcher in the history of the game had done? Then, exactly when testing begins, lose that newfound ability? We might never know the answers to those q’s, but that once in history pattern is damning.

    Dave SF October 24, 2008, 8:15 pm
  • .500 is a bit of an arbitrary number. Varitek’s career high is .512, but he actually produced higher OPS+ the following two seasons, when he slugged .482 and .489, and his career high OPS+ — arguably the stat we’d use when discussing the peak of anyone’s career — came at age 29 (though that was an injury-shortened season).
    At age 27, he slugged .482. At age 29, he slugged .489. At age 31, he slugged .512. At age 32. he slugged .482 again, and at age 33, he slugged .489 again.
    The difference between .489 (2005) and .512 (2003) for Varitek was one more double and three more home runs in nine fewer at bats. So there’s really not much difference there to speak of. Let’s expand that search to .480 and see what happens. So Varitek, one could argue, reached his peak level at age 27, reached it again at 29, and began sustaining it consistently at age 31.
    There are 90 separate seasons in which a catcher slugged .480 or better at age 27 or older. Varitek owns five of them, including three of the 30 oldest. From 1999 (age 27) to 2005 (age 33), Varitek slugged .460, sixth among 15 catchers with at least 700 games played during that span. Eight of those catchers matched Varitek’s age in those seasons. Mike Lieberthal, who ranked just above Varitek, slugged .551 in 1999 and .470 in 2000 and didn’t come close before or since. Charles Johnson, ranking just below Tek, had never slugged higher than .454 before smacking a ,582 percentage in 2000 and never topping .455 after that. So Varitek actually was more consistent (five times over .480, three times over .485, once over .500) than those catchers and arguably reached his peak at roughly the same time.
    In history, Varitek is one of 24 catchers to post a slugging percentage greater than .450 between his age 27 and 33 seasons. Darrin Fletcher posted the same .460 slugging as Varitek and had a career-high SLG of .446 heading into his age 30 season, when he slugged .513. He then slugged .485 at age 32 and .514 at age 33 before failing to slug .400 the next two seasons and retiring.
    Clearly Fletcher had a similar career arc to Varitek — except not as consistent, with a faster rise and an even quicker decline.
    In short, I’m not saying Varitek didn’t use PEDs. I can’t know that one way or the other. But I think his peak line is longer and more consistent than you give him credit for.

    Paul SF October 25, 2008, 6:45 pm

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