The headline on ESPN? Varitek to return to Red Sox. This is almost as good as the Yankees winning the World Series a week ago today. Just how bad was Jason Varitek last year? So bad that the Red Sox declined their one year, $5 million option to retain him. So bad that he hit a career low .209, and scorched an 80 OPS+. (80!).
At least he’s strong defensively, right? That is correct, if throwing out only 10 of 118 base runners is strong. That’s less than 9%. That is bad. 25% of base runners thrown out or above is good. Varitek is so bad at catching, which is his job, that if you combined him with another bad catcher you’d still have a bad catcher. Nevermind that he is also a terrible batter, which is his other job. If you were this bad at your two jobs you’d be unemployed, and divorced.
By now you must be wondering how a catcher who can’t hit, throw, or run, gets to keep his job. It turns out that he has a player option for $3 million. No, you’re not confused. Somehow, magically, in fairyla–er, Beantown, contracts are written with both ball club AND player options. This makes sense? No, it doesn’t. But it must make for great negotiations.
Jason Varitek: Well, Theo, you then leave me no choice but to exercise my option to keep me. I’m…sorry.
Added bonus? This quote, from the boy genius himself: “We’re happy to have Jason back and we look forward to a good year from him in 2010.” So happy that they tried to get rid of him, but couldn’t, because whoever green-lit that contract clause is an idiot. I’m sure that by “good year” Theo meant an OPS+ of 85.
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