Not-Quite Toast?

Don’t look now, but Jason Varitek doesn’t look so bad anymore.

Yes, his overall season line (.226/.316/.375) is awful awful awful, but a look inside the numbers shows something interesting:

  • April: 95 sOPS+
  • May: 148
  • June: 4
  • July: 55
  • August: 114

Varitek had an execrable June. An incredibly bad month, one of the worst in history. It was in a month where he historically has been pretty good (he usually fades in September) I’ve hears a theory that the stomach bug he was reported as having during that month may have sapped his strength. It’s a theory that fits those numbers, but it’s only a theory.

What is a fact is that Varitek since July 21 (arbitrary endpoint alert) is hitting .258/.355/.443. That’s an .801 OPS, good for Top 10 among all MLB catchers with at least 100 plate appearances during that span. This doesn’t change Varitek’s advancing age, his increasingly erratic hitting or the fact that the Red Sox desperately need to find someone yesterday that can begin taking over his duties, but maybe it’s a bit too soon to totally write off the Captain.

10 comments… add one
  • Unless the stomach bug was the creature from Alien, I can’t imagine how it alone would result in an single digit OPS+. That’s absolutely horrifying; I wouldn’t have known an MLB player was capable of that unless he was trying to fail.
    Passable August or no, I just can’t see keeping Tek after this season, as much as it pains me to say. If he’s going to be replacement-level, there are guys who can make $400K doing that. The Sox paid a premium for leadership four years ago, and I think it was worth it then. But how much weight can one player pull if he can’t even hit his own?

    FenSheaParkway September 2, 2008, 11:46 am
  • Nevermind this – LETS GO YANKEES!!!!
    If Varitek can catch, I say sign him. I don’t give two craps whether he can hit or not. They’ve won without him hitting, and yes, it would be nice to have a Posada like bat in the lineup, I’m fine with him just being a backstop.
    Unless of course, a better option is available, which at the time, there isn’t.
    Maybe sign Pudge once he declines arbitration, but how much better with the bat is he right now? Not much.

    Brad September 2, 2008, 12:46 pm
  • Let’s go Ya..? DOES NOT COMPUTE
    It does seem likely right now that whoever is catching for the Sox next year, they aren’t going to be much at the plate. I think the question is how much to you pay an offensive black hole? If the team expects improved production at CF and SS, I can live with it. But if the bottom third of the line up hits as poorly as this year, there isn’t much of a safety net if top 6 drop off at all. The money just might be better spent elsewhere.

    FenSheaParkway September 2, 2008, 1:39 pm
  • “does not compute”
    I know. As soon as I typed it, my brain went into tailspin, and I busted a blood vessel in my eye. I instantly regretted it, but really, it would be nice for the Yankees to go on one of those epic three game winning streaks this week.:)

    Brad September 2, 2008, 2:10 pm
  • The only thing I can root for is the Red Sox to win the next three games and let the chips fall where they may.
    If Varitek ends up with an 80 OPS+, which is where he is now, my question is how do the Sox NOT re-sign him? There are no options for replacement, barring a blockbuster for Saltalamacchia that might weaken the team more than simply letting Varitek’s bat suck up plate appearances four or five games a week.
    Varitek’s OPS is .691. The AL-average catcher is at .715. So he’s right around a 90 OPS+ relative to his position. That’s better than replacement level, and for a low-cost, two-year deal, I think re-signing Varitek is an easy call.

    Paul SF September 2, 2008, 3:12 pm
  • i’ve found myself rooting for the yankees a couple of times this year. you get to feel yf’s season long pain in a tidy encapsulated 3 game package. nothing is worse than rooting for the yanks and having them disappoint you.
    but the truth is, it doesn’t matter what the yankees do unless the sox hold up their end of the deal. lester faces a guy named liz who gave up 8 in 2.1 when they faced him back in july.
    resign tek, sign CC and let him hit in teks spot every fifth day (can a position player be DH-ed for?). you know jason understands the reality of his situation. he’ll take another discount and accept a diminished on-field role.

    sf rod September 2, 2008, 3:54 pm
  • say no to CC!!!!!
    Sign sheets or Burnett. I like that option much, much more.

    Brad September 2, 2008, 4:27 pm
  • Sheets injured his groin yesterday, piling on to the injury list. I’d be much more interested in Burnett or Sabathia than that dude, unless they think they can Six Million Dollar Man-ize Sheets (they seem to have helped Beckett to be A BIT less injury prone, for instance).

    Devine September 2, 2008, 4:35 pm
  • “I think re-signing Varitek is an easy call.”
    Um, no. No it’s not. Not at all.

    Randy September 2, 2008, 6:54 pm
  • I’m very impressed that Paul used the word, “execrable.”

    I'mBillMcNeal September 2, 2008, 10:23 pm

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