Oh Captain, My Captain…He’s Baaaaaack


After signed with the Detroit Tigers, the options at the catching position shrank dramatically for the Red Sox. The team became comfortable enough with as their starting catcher (they liked him more than any other available option), but the question was who would be his back-up. Today we got our answer when Jon Heyman of SI reported that signed a 1-year deal worth $2 million to return to Fenway in 2011. Although Varitek has lost much of his bat speed (he never had a ton to begin with) and his age is catching (no pun intended) up on him, his leadership and coaching skills are 2nd to none. Having ‘Tek as a late game replacement and a clubhouse leader will do the Sox wonders in 2011 and allows the team to turn their full attention on the other holes in the offense. The tandem of Salty and ‘Tek is not likely to break any offensive or defensive records, but it plugs a hole in the Sox lineup and saves the team money that they can then dump into , , or in a long shot move, .

Throughout his 14-year career, ‘Tek has been a fan favorite in New England. His demeanor and quiet leadership skills can be seen in all of the young pitching stars that have climbed the Fenway mound over the last decade and although they came to the table with skills, ‘Tek brought out the true talent. ‘Tek’s plethora of experience makes him a respectable and important figure in a locker room full of emerging talent. His 3 All-Star appearances, Gold Glove award and Silver Slugger Award speak for themselves, but the most telling tick on his resume is the 4 no-hitter’s he has caught in his career. No other catcher in the history of baseball has caught 4 no-hitters and it isn’t just chance and luck. His ability to call a game has been praised by his teammates time and again and in almost every instance a Red Sox player threw a no-no while he was behind the plate, the pitcher hardly, if at all, waived off one of ‘Tek’s signs. One the of best examples is ‘s near no-hitter he took into the 9th. Basically the 1st time Schilling waived ‘Tek off  in the game was the pitch driven into right field for a base-hit to break up the no-no.

For all the doubters, yes he is old and yes he is a shell of the player he once was, but ‘Tek’s intellect and presence is worth every penny of his new $2 million deal. Without a doubt, ‘Tek will make a fantastic coach some day in the future when he decides to hang up his cleats and for all intensive purposes, this is the 1st step towards that next career mark. He will catch a fair number of innings in 2011, but he will add more value sitting on the bench and in the clubhouse working with the pitching staff. The idea of ‘Tek going to the Los Angeles Dodgers was unsettling, so I am grateful Theo gave him the chance to remain a Red Sox player. He is the Red Sox captain and until he retires, he should remain the Red Sox captain. Now on to bigger and better signings…