The lengths of deals trouble clubs because history doesn’t lie. Scott Boras is asking for five years and $65 million for Jason Varitek, and the Red Sox won’t give it to him even though Varitek is the soul of the team. "Guaranteeing a catcher $11 million at the age of 37 (Varitek’s fourth year in this deal) is suicide, probably to the GM," says one National League GM. Boras told the Red Sox he has a five-year offer in hand, but then he told the Phillies and Braves that Kevin Millwood and Greg Maddux had multi-year offers in 2003 and 2002, respectively, and neither did, requiring them to go to arbitration.
This, from the newest Peter Gammons column might show Scott Boras to be negotiating with imaginary GMs, and frankly his game, though effective, is getting boring and predictable. If Varitek has a 5 year deal in hand for anything approaching Boras’ demands, then the Sox are going to have to rely on organizational sentimentality for Tek to re-sign, and us fans are going to have to get used to a tandem of Doug Mirabelli and a PTBNL. Also, Tek should sign the contract RIGHT NOW before the supposed offerer comes to his senses and yanks the deal off the table. But something smells fishy in Beantown, as Boras just a few days ago leaked the 5/50 with a no-trade clause as Tek’s starting point, and now it’s up to 5/65? To me this is pure gamesmanship, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Sox and Tek are way far apart, and nobody else has actually anted up close to the 5 years that Boras claims to have in his front pocket. Time will tell, but in any case it would be prudent for the Sox to start looking for a new backstop (they probably already are), and at those numbers (or even 80% of those numbers) who will blame them?